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US Warns of Terror Threat in Colombia

The United States says regionally based terrorist organizations in Colombia and remnants of radical leftist Andean groups are the primary perpetrators of terrorist acts in the Western Hemisphere.

The State Department report on terrorism said pockets of ideological sympathizers in South America and the Caribbean lent financial and moral support to terrorist groups in the Middle East last year.

The report said Colombia's FARC rebels exemplified a trend of growing links involving terrorist activities and drug trafficking.

It also noted that the FARC raises about $60 million annually from drug trafficking and that there is growing evidence of a human trafficking network being employed to facilitate terrorist movement, particularly into Iraq. But the report said Colombia's government continued to expand its role as the regional leader in counterterrorism.

Elsewhere, the report noted that last year, Venezuela was re-certified as "not cooperating" with U.S. antiterrorism efforts and that Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez persisted in criticizing those efforts. It said Mr. Chavez deepened Venezuelan relationships with Iran and Cuba, which are listed as state sponsors of terrorism.

The State Department said Cuba remains opposed to U.S. counterterrorism policy and allows 70 Americans fugitives to live on the island legally, refusing most requests for their return. Cuba is the only communist-led country in the Western Hemisphere.

Some information for this report was provided by Reuters.