From Nov 2011
The Free Port of Iquique is a commerical wonder.
But for a short while, the Free Port of Iquique caused a bit of a problem. When the heat was turned up on Hezbollah money laundering operations run by Lebanese Muslims in Paraguay, some moved on to Iquique.
They were not making weapons, but their money laundering was considered a bit of a problem. Iquique’s free port gave them the opportunity to hide and prosper.
Initially, since they were not violent, Chile did not care so much until the USA put pressure on Chile to act.
Feds Call Chile Resort a Terror Hot Spot (Jewish Daily Forward)
By Marc Perelman
Published January 03, 2003,
IQUIQUE, Chile — The Bush administration has designated this windswept resort town and free-trade zone on Chile’s northern Pacific coast as a terrorist hot spot, second in South America only to the notorious tri-border region where Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay meet.
Indeed, American and regional officials say, Iquique — pronounced “ee-KEE-kay” — a booming free-trade zone created 30 years ago in what was once a sleepy fishing village, may be poised to compete with the tri-border area as a center of terrorism financing and support.
The tri-border area, with its 30,000-strong Arab community and reputation for smuggling and money-laundering, has been monitored closely by intelligence agencies during the last decade, especially following the September 11 terrorist attacks. The stepped-up law enforcement has contributed to the exodus of terrorism suspects to Chile.
The surrounding area near Iquique is 15% Arab ethnically – three times the national average of 5% Arab for Chile. However, almost all Chilean Arabs are Christian. The Hezbollah operatives were Muslim.
However, they could blend in easily.
Things seem to have improved, recently, which is nice as Iquique is a world famous tropical resort as well as a commercial boom town.