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Patterns of Global Terrorism:
Western Hemisphere Overview

Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism
Department of State Publications
 Office of the Secretary of State
US State Department

April 30, 2003

"The purposes of this convention are to prevent, punish, and eliminate terrorism."

The Inter-American Convention Against Terrorism opened for signature in Barbados in June 2002 and signed by 34 member states of the Organization of American States

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When compared to other regions of the world, the Western Hemisphere generally does not attract attention as a “hot zone” in the war on terror. Terrorism in the region was not born on 11 September 2001, however; Latin American countries have struggled with domestic sources of terrorism for decades. International terrorist groups, moreover, have not hesitated to make Latin America a battleground to advance their causes elsewhere. The bombings of the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires in 1992 and the Argentine-Jewish Cultural Center in 1994 are two well-known examples. More recent international terrorist attacks in Bali, Indonesia, and Mombasa, Kenya, in 2002 demonstrate that no region of the world—and no type of target—is beyond the reach or strategic interest of international terrorist organizations.

Recognizing this threat and the impact of terrorism on their economic and social development, the vast majority of countries across the Americas and the Caribbean have given strong support to the international Coalition against terrorism. In June, at the OAS General Assembly in Barbados, member states adopted and opened for signature the Inter-American Convention Against Terrorism—a direct response to the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States and the first international treaty against terrorism adopted since the attacks. The Convention, a binding legal instrument which is consistent with, and builds upon, previous UN conventions and protocols relating to terrorism and UN Security Council Resolution 1373, will improve regional cooperation in the fight against terrorism through exchanges of information, experience and training, technical cooperation, and mutual legal assistance. The Convention will enter into force when six states have deposited their instruments of ratification. All OAS member states but one have signed (Dominica is the exception); Canada became the first state to ratify in late 2002. President Bush transmitted the Convention to the Senate for its advice and consent to ratification in November.

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May 05, 2003

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