Venezuelan Vice President Calls US Sanctions 'Vile Aggression'
El Aissami, who became vice president on January 4, was allegedly in the pay of Venezuelan drug kingpin Walid Makled Garcia to protect shipments, and coordinated them with Mexico's violent Los Zetas cartel, the US Department of Treasury said.
Samark Lopez Bello, El Aissami's business associate, was also targeted in the Monday action.
The US Department of Treasury said it designated El Aissami for sanctions under the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act.
El Aissami hit back in a series of tweets the next day, in which he described his sanctioning as an "imperialist aggression".
Venezuela's Foreign Ministry, for its part, denounced the move as an "unprecedented act" in US-Venezuelan relations, accusing the Trump administration of violating worldwide law.
Venezuela's Foreign Ministry issued a statement Tuesday denouncing a move by the Trump administration to sanction Venezuelan Vice-President Tarek El Aissami over drug trafficking allegations.
With El Aissami now figuring on the "Kingpin" list, any of his activities which come under United States jurisdiction will be immediately frozen and all USA citizens are banned from doing business with him.
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Senior administration officials declined to say whether President Donald Trump had personally signed off on the sanctions or whether he was involved in the decision.
The humanitarian dimensions of the nation's crisis and its growing regional impact are spurring Venezuela's neighbors, including the United States, to be more active in pressing for a resolution of the country's deep political and economic woes, many regional experts say.
The Venezuelan government did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
"Let's not let these vile provocations distract us".
Maduro is surrounding himself with cronies who have a vested interest in ensuring the political opposition does not take power, and El Aissami is just one of many individuals with such interests. Although, the Venezuelan government still hasn't publicly or officially made this news known.
Including a member of the Venezuelan government on the list of Treasury sanctions does not mean that the Venezuelan government is also being sanctioned, said the Treasury.
Five U.S. companies, as well as a Gulfstream 200 jet registered in the United States, linked to Lopez Bello also are blocked as part of the government action. "Denying a safe haven for illicit assets in the United States and protecting the USA financial system from abuse remain top priorities of the Treasury Department".
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Feb 11 2017