Venezuela calls US sanctions against VP El Aissami dangerous

World Today

In this Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2017 photo, Venezuela’s Vice-President Tareck El Aissami, right, is saluted by Boilivarian Army officer upon his arrival for a military parade at Fort Tiuna in Caracas, Venezuela. A bipartisan group of 34 U.S. lawmakers has sent a letter to President Donald Trump urging him to step up pressure on Venezuela’s government by immediately sanctioning officials responsible for corruption and human rights abuses. The letter, partly prompted by an Associated Press investigation on graft in Venezuela’s food imports, also calls for a thorough probe into alleged drug trafficking and support for Middle Eastern terror groups by the country’s vice president. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)

Venezuela’s government condemned U.S. sanctions on the country’s vice president, saying Tuesday that the Trump administration’s designation of Tareck El Aissami as a major drug trafficker represented an unprecedented and “highly dangerous” infringement on the South American nation’s sovereignty.

CGTN’s Juan Carlos Llamas reports from Caracas.

Venezuela calls US sanctions against VP El Aissami dangerous

Venezuela calls US sanctions against VP El Aissami dangerous

In a series of defiant messages posted on social media, El Aissami said the "miserable and defamatory aggression" only deepens his commitment to revolution started by the late Hugo Chavez.
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In a series of defiant messages posted on social media, El Aissami said the “miserable and defamatory aggression” only deepens his commitment to revolution started by the late Hugo Chavez and won’t distract him from his job of rescuing Venezuela’s crashing economy from what he called sabotage by its conservative opponents.

“They’ll never be able to defeat our unbreakable resolution to be free forever,” El Aissami said.

The Trump administration on Monday froze El Aissami’s U.S. assets and banned him from entering the U.S. for his alleged role facilitating cocaine shipments from Venezuela. El Aissami is the highest-ranking Venezuelan official to ever be sanctioned by the U.S. and his designation as a drug kingpin is bound to ratchet up tensions between the two countries, who have not exchanged ambassadors since 2010.

Under the Obama administration, the U.S. was careful not to call for the unpopular Maduro’s removal, as the opposition has been seeking, choosing instead to support a Vatican-sponsored dialogue aimed at avoiding bloodshed.

For now, no additional actions against Venezuela are in the works, said a White House official, speaking on condition of anonymity. It’s also not clear whether Trump personally signed off on the sanctions, although in conversations over the weekend with the presidents of Peru and Colombia he raised concerns about Venezuela’s deteriorating humanitarian situation.