A recent decision by the United Stated to sanction Vice President Tareck El Aissami makes him the highest-ranking official to be accused of drug-trafficking under President Nicolas Maduro’s Government.
Sanctions were announced on February 13 by the Treasury Department. The allegations state that the El Aissami had control over the planes that left a Venezuelan air base, which allowed for the transport of narcotics. Accusations also state ta El Aissami also had control over the drug routes that ran through the ports in Venezuela.
The Treasury Department states the investigation spans back over a large time period, and it is believed that during his previous roles as Governor of Aragua and Interior Minister of Justice, El Aissami oversaw shipments of narcotics.
Venezuelan businessman, Samark José López Bell was also included within the sanctions, and is alleged to have provided material assistance, financial support as well as services that helped towards the drug-trafficking. Bella stated via his website that there was “no factual evidence or legal justification” for him being included on the sanctions list.
President Manduro has not yet responded to the latest US sanctions, but did retweet comments made El Aissami, in which the allegations were called ‘miserable provocations.’ Although the sanctions show that the US mean business, it could also lead to a shaky relationship with the US moving forward.
Those travelling within the vicinity should consider the use of Security Services in Venezuela.