Venezuelan VP Tareck El Aissami Is Bad News

Venezuelan American Leadership Council President, Martin Rodil, wrote an article for Forbes detailing how Venezuela's Vice President, Tareck El Aissami, is bad news for the Venezuelan people. Tareck El Aissami is a corrupt leader and has connections to terrorism and the drug trade.

By: Martin Rodil

At the end of February, the Trump Administration took the brave move to sanction Venezuela’s Vice President Tareck El Aissami. Just who is Tareck El-Aissami?

The newly appointed vice president of Lebanese-Syrian origins has been a controversial figure for years. Linked to a major cocaine-trafficking outlet and to the Jihadi Shia terror organization, Hezbollah, he has been under the careful eye of the DEA, FBI and other intelligence agencies, which were just waiting for him to slip up. President Nicolas Maduro should have known he was playing with fire when he promoted the key player in Iran and Hezbollah’s Venezuelan activities, just as Donald Trump was putting Iran “on notice.”

El Aissami was born into controversy. His father Zaidan El Amin El Aissami (Carlos Zaidan), is a radical and ardent supporter of Islamic jihad with strong ties to Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri, an Iraqi military commander and leader of the “Iraqi Resistance.” These are the same Shia units who are responsible for the deaths of scores of American servicemen. His father and his associates are unsurprisingly known to despise the United States.

Clearly though, for the young El Aissami, terrorism wasn’t enough. The young protégé developed close ties to Cartel de los Soles (a cocaine-trafficking outfit alleged to be run by Venezuelan military officials). He is linked to the notorious Walid Makled, who was detained in Colombia and extradited to Venezuela (over the U.S.). Makled was infamously charged by a Manhattan prosecutor for drug trafficking to the U.S. and investigated for shipping 5 tons of cocaine in a plane that departed Caracas but was stopped in Mexico in 2006. Makled later confessed that he had paid El Aissami to facilitate the shipments through Venezuela.

El Aissami is also very close to Samark Lopez, a billionaire crook who also made it onto the designation list in recent weeks. Even Maduro’s own nephews—Francisco Flores de Freitas and Efrain Antonio Campo Flores—are rumored to have admitted that the 800 kg of cocaine in their possession belonged to El Aissami’s network.

As head of Venezuela’s passport agency, El Aissami took his corruption to a truly transnational scale. CNN reported in February that he issued Venezuelan passports and identity documents between 2008-2012 to hundreds of Islamist extremists (mainly Iranian revolutionary guards and Hezbollah operatives). One such individual who received documentation was Suleiman Ghani Abdul Waked, known as a close associate of Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah. This is a clear national security threat to the U.S., as these terrorists, with their shiny new South American passports, could easily be traveling in and out of the country.

In fact, for years, Venezuela has slowly become a haven for Islamic extremism in the continent, with the regime providing financial and logistical support to a host of terrorist groups. Hezbollah now operates a multimillion-dollar drug-trafficking business in Venezuela with the collaboration of FARC and Mexican cartels. It has also built one of the world’s most sophisticated networks to transfer funds and money launder from Latin America to the Middle East, with the ongoing facilitation of Venezuela.

In addition to all of this, Hezbollah has now become one of the most prominent exporters of illicit narcotics in the world, with its hub being in South America. Some experts even believe that its operations in Venezuela have turned it into the largest money-laundering organization in the world.

Hezbollah, with the official support and recognition of the Venezuelan regime, has established itself in the South American country as the go-to organization for the large Lebanese diaspora. Experts now believe they have a number of training camps across Venezuela, all of course with the government’s permission.

So just who is Tareck El Aissami? Drug trafficker. Terrorist. Money launderer. And in general, very bad news. So while al Qaeda and ISIS are—on the whole—all the way over in the Middle East, we have Hezbollah and Iran pushing jihad and drugs right here in the Americas. This simply must be stopped. We salute February’s sanctions and call on the new administration, with the cooperation of the Organization of American States, to pursue all of those involved. Tareck El Aissami is just the tip of a very dangerous iceberg.

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