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The September 11 terrorist attacks have focused America's attention on the Middle East, but a potential source of danger exists closer to home in Latin America. For decades, the combination of corrupt government, poor infrastructure and spotty public security in many Latin American countries has made it easy for foreign and domestic terrorists to gain a foothold. As a result, one-third of the terrorist organizations operating worldwide, including one linked to Osama bin Laden, are located or operate in Latin America.
In addition to these terrorist organizations, some governments in the region are active sponsors of terrorist causes:
So far, most of the violence committed by these groups has been directed within the region. But the region's fragile democracies and market economies are hardly able to contain threats against themselves, much less keep them from spilling across their borders.
Source: Stephen Johnson, "U.S. Coalition Against Terrorism Should Include Latin America," Backgrounder No. 1489, October 9, 2001, Heritage Foundation.
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