From Argentina to Haiti, the rise of radical Islam in the Caribbean and Latin America is alarming U.S. counterterror officials and leaders in the region, who say the JFK bomb plot should be a wakeup call.
All four suspects in the plot had ties to the region. Two were arrested in the Caribbean nation of Trinidad and Tobago, including ex-Guyanese lawmaker Abdul Kadir.
Senior U.S. counterterrorism officials confirmed fears that Islamists in Trinidad and Tobago could turn the nation “into another Mogadishu,” referring to the Somali capital ruled until last year by Islamic fundamentalists with Al Qaeda ties.
“Trinidad and Tobago have been a high concern for us since the late 1980s,” said Michael Scheuer, who created the CIA’s Osama Bin Laden unit in 1996.
Scheuer said the Caribbean is not home to major terror groups aside from Trinidad’s Jamaat al Muslimeen, but a “loose-knit” confederation of extremists have found it easy to move around the tourist-friendly islands.
New York City Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said the Caribbean is a region “of increasing concern to us. It’s an area we should take a closer look at.”
“What happened in New York was very educational,” a former Caribbean leader told the Daily News. Muslim extremists in Trinidad and Tobago pose a “growing danger” to Prime Minister Patrick Manning’s government, he noted.