March, 30 2017 (Panampost)
Venezuela Vicepresident denies ownership of frozen funds but not the amount seized by US authorities from Maduro regime due to drug trafficking.
Venezuela’s Vicepresident Tareck El Aissami admitted the accusation recently made by Organization of American States (OAS) Secretary General about funds frozen by the United States Treasury Department. During a speech, El Aissami threatened to sue Almagro but he did not deny that the United States had seized USD $3 billion from the Venezuelan government.
El Aissami denied that the USD $3 billion belonged to him, as has been claimed, but he did not deny that that sum was in fact seized by US authorities. Almagro made the claim as he presented a report about Venezuela before the OAS assembly on March 21 as he argued in favor of applying the Democratic Charter against the Venezuelan regime. During his speech, Almagro revealed that the amount confiscated from El Aissami is the equivalent “of half the costs of Venezuela’s food imports in 2012.”
El Aissami responded in characteristic fashion by insulting Almagro in Caracas before a massive audience. According to El Aissami, Almagro “accused me of having $3 billion frozen, but (he accused) not (only) me, but rather the government, the Revolution, the people. He sends forth his accusations into the world and many people believe him.”
El Aissami later stated that he would sue Almagro for slander before international courts.
According to the US Treasury Department, El Aissami was in charge of operations in which airplanes filled with drugs took off from a Venezuelan air base while he also controlled drug exports by sea from Venezuelan ports.
El Aissami has also been linked with Los Zetas, a violent Mexican drug cartel. Furthermore, Venezuela’s vicepresident has been accused of providing protection for Colombian drug lord Daniel Barrera and for Venezuelan drug boss Hermágoras González Polanco, who was mentioned in the legal case against President Nicolás Maduro’s nephews for cocaine trafficking.
Steve Mnuchin, Secretary of the Treasury, stated in February that the United States seized “tens of millions of dollars” from El Aissami and his associates due to drug trafficking.