Venezuelan vice president rejects U.S. sanctions, denies ‘drug kingpin’ designation

Venezuela’s vice president defiantly rejected U.S. sanctions identifying him as a major international “drug kingpin” Tuesday, as the White House revealed details about its first major action against the leftist South American government that President Trump vowed to get tough on during his election campaign.

Recently appointed Vice President Tareck El Aissami responded Tuesday with a defiant spray of social media postings, saying the sanctions against him would only deepen his commitment to the anti-imperialist revolution started more than a decade ago in Venezuela by socialist leader Hugo Chavez.

“They’ll never be able to defeat our unbreakable resolution to be free forever,” he wrote, asserting that the Trump administration’s action represented “miserable and defamatory aggression.”

It will not distract him, he said, from his job of rescuing Venezuela’s economy, which he said was crashing because of sabotage by the nation’s conservative enemies.

Newly confirmed Trump administration Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin told a White House briefing Tuesday that the slate of sanctions targeting Mr. El Aissami and his “frontman” Samark Lopez Bello will result in the freezing of “tens of millions of dollars” in assets.