Venezuela Denounces “Aggression” against Vice-president El Aissami

Venezuelan Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez. Photo:

HAVANA TIMES — The Venezuelan Government denounced on Tuesday the US’ “severe aggression” against the executive vice-president Tareck El Aissami, when he was blacklisted by the Department of the Treasury for alleged drug trafficking activities, reported dpa news.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Delcy Rodriguez, read a statement which fixed the official position with regard to the allegations being made against El Aissami, which she labeled a “false-positive against a respectable and decent Venezuelan man.”

The statement also added that the US Government’s actions “are part of a defamation campaign to attack the Venezuelan State.”

On Monday, the US Department of the Treasury added the Venezuelan vice-president to its so-called “Kingpin” list, which is a blacklist of drug traffickers, accusing him of having facilitated drug shipments from Venezuela.

Rodriguez warned that this was an unprecedented event in bilateral relations and accused the US Embassy in Caracas of trying to subvert the current legal and constitutional government in Venezuela.

“It is trying to give life to a weak and dying extremist opposition here in Venezuela so as to give way to a political coup against democratic institutions. It is trying to violate Venezuela’s sovereignty and democracy with this severe act of aggression and is abusing the vice-president’s right of honor, reputation, dignity and his human rights,” she noted.

She also added that this “is very unfortunate and that it is extremely dangerous that the US bureaucracy, in criminal cooperation with violent and extremist factors of the Venezuelan opposition, is steering the new government in Washington to commit the same historic mistakes the US has made with Venezuela” when former president Barack Obama was in power.

She claimed that accusations against El Aissami “violate international public rights and international institutionality.”

Rodriguez noted that ever since Venezuela ended its cooperation with the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), in 2006, national security forces have been able to seize over 55.5 tons of narcotics, which she said were unprecedented levels.

“El Aissami is renowned for his firm commitment to fight against drug trafficking and the Colombian paramilitary groups,” she said and added that the DEA acts with impunity and is “well-known for its contribution to the manufacture and trafficking of drugs.”

She pointed out the fact that the United Nations (UN) has recognized Venezuela as one of the six countries in the world with the highest drug seizure rates.

“We are one of the very few countries in this continent which enacted a law to immobilize airplanes carrying drugs,” she claimed.

The Ambassador affirmed that Venezuela is a peaceful country, which is in favor of the right to self-determination and respects sovereignty, as well as upholding law and order and international law.

“We would like to say, with the same determination, that we have not tolerated and will not tolerate any act of aggression against Venezuela, against our right to be free or against any of our brothers and sisters who have been born in this country,” she insisted.

The US Department of the Treasury has claimed, among other things, that El Aissami has facilitated drug shipments from Venezuela to the United States and that he has received payments from drug lords. This is why he has been placed on the so-called “Kingpin” list, where drug traffickers and cartels from all over the world are named.

With a reputation for being a radical among Chavista leaders, the 42 year old El Aissami is the former Ministry of Interior and former governor of the Aragua region. He became the Executive Vice President, a position of great power which is considered vital, just last month.

He has become the highest-ranking official in Venezuela to be sanctioned by the United States, in a stormy relationship since 2010, when both Caracas and Washington withdrew their Ambassadors.

Samark Jose Lopez Bello, a Venezuelan businessman who the US Department of the Treasury believe to be El Aissami’s front man, was also added to the list along with 13 companies in his name or under his control but based in the United States, Panama, the United Kingdom and the British Virgin Islands.