Venezuelan Vice President Calls US Sanctions ‘Vile Aggression’

Venezuela’s Vice President Tareck El Aissami has hit back against his U.S. sanctioning for allegedly aiding drug traffickers and funding terrorist groups, calling the move a “miserable provocation” from Washington.

El Aissami took to Twitter to attack the sanctions on Tuesday, appealing to his supporters “that these miserable provocations do not distract us, our main task is to accompany Nicolas Maduro in the economic recovery.”

“Let us focus on the priorities of the revolutionary government: recovery and economic growth, and guarantee PEACE and social happiness,” El Aissami continued.

The vice president said that he took the “miserable and vile aggression as an acknowledgment of (his) status as an anti-imperialist revolutionary.”

Speaking to media Tuesday, Venezuelan Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez also slammed the sanctions, calling them an attack on the vice president’s “rights, honor and reputation” that is both “lamentable and highly dangerous.”

“We have not and will not tolerate any aggression on our soil against our ability to be free,” she added.

On Monday, the U.S. Treasury Department put El Aissami on the narcotics-related “Kingpin List,” making him the highest-ranking Venezuelan official to be sanctioned by the U.S.

According to the Treasury Department, El Aissami “supervised or had partial ownership” of drug shipments from Venezuela of more than one ton on multiple occasions, including shipments headed for Mexico and the U.S.

Since late President Hugo Chavez came to power in 1998, the U.S. has taken an aggressive approach to Venezuela and its anti-imperialist approach.

Former President Barack Obama ordered a national emergency against Venezuela in 2015, citing human rights concerns, media restrictions and crackdowns on political dissent. Obama also ordered sanctions against seven Venezuelan officials, including travel and assets bans.

A bipartisan group of 34 U.S. lawmakers urged President Donald Trump to apply new sanctions against Venezuela, claiming that the country supports corruption and human rights abuses. The lawmakers are pushing for an investigation into the Bolivarian government’s alleged ties to terrorism and wish to boost funding for Venezuelan right-wing opposition groups.

“The Venezuelan government is run by corrupt, incompetent and criminal thugs who have inflicted misery on their own people and routinely used violence to crush dissent,” said U.S. Republican Senator from Florida, Marco Rubio, according to the Miami Herald.

Henry Ramos Allup, deputy to the National Assembly for the anti-government coalition, MUD, said he was certain that the Venezuelan government would accuse the U.S. Treasury Department of creating evidence against El Aissami.

El Aissami has consistently denied all allegations and has cited a U.S. media smear campaign, adding that he would hand himself over if anyone had any proof of wrongdoing. “The truth is invincible and we will see how this infamous aggression will fade,” El Aissami tweeted Tuesday.

 

This article originally appeared on TeleSUR English at http://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/Venezuelan-Vice-President-Calls-US-Sanctions-Vile-Aggression-20170214-0015.html