Venezuelan VP Dismisses US Sanctions
The United States is accusing a top Venezuelan official of being a major international drug trafficker.
The Trump administration has announced sanctions against Vice President Tareck El Aissami for his reported involvement in cocaine shipments from Venezuela.
The administration barred Al Aissami from using any money or other assets under his name in the United States. The Associated Press says the government also has banned him from entering the country.
El Aissami is the highest Venezuelan official ever to face U.S. sanctions. The government has classified him as a drug kingpin – someone who directs people in the illegal drug trade.
On Tuesday, El Aissami said the Trump administration's actions only strengthen his support for the revolution started by former Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez.
In messages on social media, El Aissami said U.S. aggression will not stop him from doing his job of rescuing Venezuela's economy from sabotage by its conservative opponents.
Observers are unsure if the sanctions mean a tightening of U.S. policy toward Venezuela or a continuation of policies from the presidency of Barack Obama.
Under Obama, U.S. officials were careful not to demand the removal of Venezuelan President Nicholas Maduro, as the opposition had been seeking. Instead, the U.S. government chose to support discussions aimed at avoiding violence. The Vatican also supported this policy.
Chris Sabatini is with Latin America Goes Global, a website that follows U.S. policy toward Latin America. He said there is increasing dissatisfaction that the discussions have yet to show results.
El Aissami has been the target of U.S. law enforcement investigations for years, starting in his days as interior minister. The investigations began when falsified Venezuelan passports were found in the Middle East. Some were in the possession of suspected Hezbollah members.
A few years ago, Walid Makled, a jailed drug trafficker, told investigators he sent payments to Venezuelan officials through El Aissami's brother. He said in return for the money, officials permitted cocaine shipments through the country's ports and airports.
The U.S. announcement Monday said El Aissami had worked with drug traffickers in Mexico and Colombia to direct cocaine shipments from Venezuela.
Venezuelan businessman Samark Lopez was also sanctioned. Lopez is accused of hiding money earned from the drug trade in a number of companies and real estate in the U.S., Panama, British Virgin Islands and Venezuela.
1.drug trafficker 毒枭
He was finally exposed as a leading drug trafficker.
2.real estate 不动产；房地产
He had a long career in real estate.
3.hiding money 藏匿资金
Becky believed that ray was hiding money.
4.drug trade 毒品贸易
I have never engaged in the drug trade.
1.He said in return for the money, officials permitted cocaine shipments through the country's ports and airports.
in return for 作为...回报
The deal offers an increase in policy value in return for giving up guarantees.
I'll sell at a discount in return for a speedy sale.
2.Instead, the U.S. government chose to support discussions aimed at avoiding violence.
aimed at 针对；目标是...
The government rushed through legislation aimed at Mafia leaders
Teachers have joined a strike aimed at forcing the government to pay overdue salaries and allowances.
特朗普政府宣布对委内瑞拉副总统塔雷克·埃尔·艾萨米（Tareck El Aissami）进行制裁，因其涉嫌参与将可卡因从委内瑞拉输往别国 。
美国政府冻结了艾萨米在美国境内的所有资产 。美联社报道称，艾萨米还被禁止入境美国 。
艾萨米成为迄今被美国当局列入制裁名单的委内瑞拉最高级别官员 。美国政府将其列为毒枭——指导人们进行非法毒品贸易 。
周二，艾萨米称美国政府此举只会让他更加坚定地支持前委内瑞拉总统乌戈·查韦斯（Hugo Chavez）发起的革命运动 。
奥巴马政府时期，虽然反对派竭力要求，但是美国政府很谨慎地并未要求免除委内瑞拉总统尼古拉斯·马杜罗（Nicholas Maduro）的职务 。美国政府反而选择避免暴乱的审议 。委内瑞拉民众也支持这一政策 。
克里斯·萨巴蒂尼（Chris Sabatini）是“拉丁美洲走向全球”网站的工作人员，该网站时刻直关注着美国对拉丁美洲的政策 。他表示，长期讨论没有结果已引发民众的不满 。
自担任内政部长以来，艾萨米一直是美国执法机关调查的目标 。最初是因为中东地区出现伪造的委内瑞拉护照 。其中一些持有假护照的人据说是真主党成员 。
几年前，一名被捕毒贩瓦利德·马克莱德（Walid Makled）向调查人员袒露，借助艾萨米的兄弟向委内瑞拉官员行贿 。他说，因此官员们才允许载有可卡因的船只通过港口和机场 。
同样受到制裁的还有委内瑞拉商人萨马克·洛佩兹（Samark Lopez） 。洛佩斯被指控通过在美国、巴拿马、英国、维尔京群岛及委内瑞拉置办的公司和房地产藏匿从毒品走私中获得的资产 。