Sanctions Against Venezuelan Vice-President: Great First Step Against Venezuela’s Rogue Regime

Center for Security PolicyFinally, we are seeing movement and leadership on the part of the U.S government to isolate a Venezuelan leadership that for almost two decades has led, within Latin America, an anti-democratic movement mixed with drug trafficking and alliances with rogue elements.

The Venezuelan Vice-President, Tareck El Aissami has been added to the list of those sanctioned by the U.S government on the grounds of international narcotics trafficking. El Aissami, as well as other associates who served as front men for him, have assets estimated at 3 billion dollars, including property bought in South Florida, a product of money laundry. The U.S Treasury froze all of their assets.

This action is the work of a meticulous investigation carried out by the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), the agency in charge of enforcing U.S. sanctions.

The Treasury Department accuses El Aissami of facilitating the shipment of narcotics from Venezuela and personal oversight of more than 1,000 kilograms of narcotics to Mexico and the U.S. Thus, El Aissami worked with large scale drug traffickers and facilitated their operations. He had relations with Venezuelan drug kingpin Walid Makled, who was captured by Colombia but was extradited to Venezuela where he was protected. Makled is a top cocaine dealer who had information revealed to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) implicating top military Venezuelan officers in drug trafficking and connections with Hezbollah. It is not clear why the Obama Administration refused to extradite him to the U.S. It sounds like Makled was too much of hot potato. This would have inevitably led to a confrontation with Venezuela, a confrontation Obama tried to avoid at all costs. …

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During the last several decades, the United States has invested billions of dollars in trying to help the governments of Latin America and the Caribbean deliver better lives for their citizens. This has meant helping them increase internal security by combating the illicit growing and trafficking in narcotics and the activities of terrorist groups, as well as helping them to shore up their democratic and free market institutions.

Unfortunately, in recent years, continued progress in these areas has been threatened, not least by the elections of radical populist governments in Venezuela, Bolivia, and Ecuador. These governments have instituted retrograde agendas that include the propagation of class warfare, state domination of the economy, assaults on private property, anti-Americanism, support for such international pariahs as Iran, and lackluster support for regional counter-terrorism and counter-narcotics initiatives.

We are a group of concerned policy experts that fear the results of these destructive agendas for individual freedom, prosperity, and the well-being of the peoples of the region. Our goal is to inform American policymakers and American and international public opinion of the dangers of these radical populist regimes to inter-American security.