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US Treasury Froze US$3 Billion in Assets of Venezuela’s Vicepresident for Drug Traficking

By: PanAm Post Staff - Mar 27, 2017, 12:54 pm
tareck el aissami
El Aissami was included on the US Treasury’s list of alleged drug traffickers. (Panorama)

EspañolThe United States Treasury Department has frozen nearly US $3 billion of Venezuela Vice-President Tareck El Aissami’s assets.

A month after El Aissami was labeled an active drug trafficker by the US, Organization of American States Secretary General Luis Almagro revealed the value of the assets confiscated from the Vice President.

On March 21, Almagro presented a report on Venezuela to the OAS detailing why a Democratic Charter on President Nicolás Maduro’s administration is vital to reviving the country’s democracy. In that address, he revealed that the amount of money confiscated from Vice President El Aissami was equivalent to half the cost of the country’s 2012 food imports.

“Meanwhile, tens of millions of people in Venezuela are hungry,” he said, “because the government is unable to import enough food to meet the needs of the country.”

Last February, El Aissami was included on the US Treasury’s list of alleged drug traffickers. It also included Samark Lopez Bello, accused of being the main frontman for the El Aissami.

El Aissami organized and directed planes that took off from a Venezuelan airbase, according to US officials, in addition to controlling drug routes..

El Aissami is also linked to drug shipments to Los Zetas, a Mexican drug cartel, as well as Colombian drug lord Daniel Barrera and Venezuelan drug trafficker Hermagoras Gonzalez Polanco.

“We have frozen assets, tens of millions of dollars in assets that will have a very large impact on El Aissami,”  US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said.

The US Office of Foreign Assets banned US citizens from making transactions with both people. However, El Aissami claimed the US Treasury is lying.

“I have neither a visa nor a bank account in the United States,” he said.

El Aissami said the US government is trying to denigrate the country’s morale and undermine the revolution by associating them with cartel leaders and drug traffickers. He also said the drug trafficking case involving two nephews of Maduro’s wife is no different.

“They have kidnapped two relatives unjustly,” he said, “with a false positive created by the DEA.”

According to the Center for a Free Society, El Aissami has used his political status to establish intelligence and financial channels with terrorists in the Middle East, particularly in Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Iran.

“Over the years, Tarek El Aissami has developed a sophisticated, multi-tiered financial network that functions as a criminal-terrorist pipeline to bring Islamic militants to Venezuela and neighboring countries, as well as to send illicit funds from Latin America to the Middle East,” the report said.

A Crucial Week for Democracy in Venezuela Begins

By: Pedro García Otero - Mar 27, 2017, 11:47 am
Almagro-2-1

EspañolVenezuela's future is at stake this week as the Organization of American States plans to meet with officials from President Nicolás Maduro's administration, and time is running out for them to impose a fair and open election. The OAS has openly discussed imposing the Democratic Charter on the country, which could result in international intervention for a country suffering massive scarcity and starvation. OAS  Secreatary Luis Almagro's second report about the topic claimed outright that there is no democracy in Venezuela. Elections have not been respected, the letter said, all processes even leading up to something that might resemble a fair election have been blocked, as was the December 6 referendum to recall Maduro. Meanwhile, the courts have supported this dismantling of democracy. In the rare circumstance that a court ruled in favor of a potential politic prisoner, authorities ignored it and arrested them anyway. googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('div-gpt-ad-1459522593195-0'); });   Necessary votes On Friday March 24, 14 countries announced they were officially requesting that Venezuela carry out fair and free elections. However, many of these 14 countries, including Mexico (who began the initiative), have stated they do not wish to exclude Venezuela from the OAS, as Almagro's report outlines. Twenty-four votes are required to suspend Venezuela, which will be difficult to obtain, as it would require the approval of several Caribbean nations, most of which have a trade deal with Venezuela through the Petrocaribe agreement. Many nations would rather try to lead Venezuela back on the path toward democracy, using the Democratic Charter as a means for opening up the dialogue process to more voices. The Fallacies of  Chavismo While Almagro's arguments are blunt and direct, Maduro's response is typical of communist dictatorships. He frequently makes use of ad hominem fallacies, as well as resorting to arguments of treason while utilizing the so-called straw-man fallacy: Almagro's original argument is distorted and then that distorted argument is refuted. Read More: Colombia: Vargas Lleras Offers Simon Gaviria Vice Presidential Slot Read More: Venezuela Blames Climate Change after its Troops Invade Colombia All these fallacies will be front and center this week when Venezuelan Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez meets with the OAS. Maduro reportedly plans to argue that a permanent council on Venezuela cannot exist without authorization from Venezuela itself, and that Almagro's ideas are "unlawful and unbalanced" for their focus on forced international intervention. Forget the fact that Maduro himself, as chancellor, requested the application of the Democratic Charter against Honduras in 2009 and again against Paraguay in 2012 — and even more than that; he wanted military intervention in Paraguay. But this is all just another example of what Venezuelans have to hear daily from the mouth of the president: lies and half truths, rude speech and insubstantial arguments. https://twitter.com/LuisFlorido/status/842801452871548928 What's next Regardless of whether the Democratic Charter comes to fruition, it is clear that the larger countries of the region have grown tired of Maduro. He wants a "Nicaraguan democracy" — one in which he represents the only political party. And it doesn't help that Venezuelans only know how to fight this non-democratic government with democratic weapons. Maduro has mentioned on several occasions that he wants Venezuela to "transcend bourgeois democracy, and become a true popular democracy, a direct democracy." This comment deserves no further explanation: "Popular democracies" are communist governments, and communist governments do not work. Preventing this vision from coming true lies in the hands of OAS member nations. The fact that one of the most important countries on the continent fell into a permanent communist dictatorship is a danger to all of them.

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