WASHINGTON, D.C., U.S.A. – Governments throughout Latin America reacted to the death of international terrorist Osama bin Laden, announced by U.S. President Barack Obama May 1 (May 2 in Pakistan).
The Venezuelan government condemned the operation, according to a statement released by the Foreign Ministry May 2.
“That dark character [Osama bin Laden], trained and armed by US intelligence agencies during the 1980s, turned his terrorist practices against the United States in later years, and went on to become the best pretext to unleash the war that is being carried out to this day against the people of Iraq and Afghanistan,” the statement read.
Bin Laden, 54, was the head of terrorist organization al-Qaeda (The Base, in Arabic) and the man behind the Sept.11, 2001 attacks in the United States. Al-Qaeda also was behind terror attacks in Madrid, Istanbul and London.
The Colombian government congratulated the U.S. government on the success of the operation.
“I just spoke with President Obama to congratulate him for the operation against Osama bin Laden,” Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos tweeted on May 2.
“This is an important and powerful strike against global terrorism,” Santos said in a statement. “This shows that, sooner or later, all terrorists fall. In the global fight against terrorism there is only one way: To persevere, to persevere and to persevere.”
Bin Laden was killed on May 1 (May 2 in Pakistan) during a raid in his compound in Abbottabad, a town 61.77 kilometers (38.38 miles) northeast of Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan. A U.S. military team arrived in helicopters at the compound where he was thought to be hiding, according to U.S. officials.
Four others were also reportedly killed including Hamza, one of bin Laden’s sons and senior member of al-Qaeda, and a woman who was fatally shot when she was used as a shield by one of the combatants involved in the gunfight. No Americans were killed during the raid.
“He who kills by the sword, dies by the sword,” said Ecuadoran President Rafael Correa regarding Osama bin Laden’s death. “The September 11 events were unthinkable, unforgivable, no nation in the world deserves something like that. Justice had to be done.”
Mexican President Felipe Calderón congratulated Obama.
Calderón praised Obama for “the operation that led to the death of the leader of terrorist organization al-Qaeda, Osama bin Laden, and for what this means to free the world of the scourge of terrorism.”
Osama bin Laden’s death will spark retaliation by the remnants of al-Qaeda around the world, analyst Camille Tawill told Al Shorfa.
“[Osama] bin Laden’s death will probably not mean the end of violence and terrorism carried out by his organisation,” Tawill said. “It may even lead to an escalation in order to avenge his killing.”
“But his departure would certainly be a great moral setback for al-Qaeda, since this organisation was exclusively associated with his name since its inception in 1988 at the hands of Arabs who participated in the Afghan Jihad. Al-Qaeda did not have a commander during its 23 years of existence other than bin Laden. Therefore, his absence will create a vacuum that will not be easy for any successor to fill,” she said.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said bin Laden’s demise comes at a time of profound change in the Middle East.
“History will record that bin Laden’s death came at a time of great movements toward freedom and democracy, at a time when the people across the Middle East and North Africa are rejecting the extremist narratives and charting a path of peaceful progress based on universal rights and aspirations. There [was] no better rebuke to al-Qaeda and its heinous ideology.”
Obama reaffirmed the United States is not at war with Islam.
“I’ve made clear, just as President Bush did shortly after 9/11, that our war is not against Islam,” the U.S. president said. “Bin Laden was not a Muslim leader; he was a mass murderer of Muslims. Indeed, al-Qaeda has slaughtered scores of Muslims in many countries, including our own. So his demise should be welcomed by all who believe in peace and human dignity. ”
Bin Laden’s body was handled according to Islamic customs.