Venezuelan vice president slams drug sanctions in full-page ad
He published an open letter to U.S. Secretary of Treasury Steven Mnuchin proclaiming his innocence over drug trafficking accusations.
The U.S. Treasury Department on Feb. 13 sanctioned El Aissami through its Office of Foreign Assets Control over allegations he has been involved in the shipment of thousands of pounds of illegal drugs.
El Aissami was sanctioned under the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act.
On Wednesday, El Aissami said the U.S. government lacked evidence to levy those claims and accused "political sectors, lobbyists and stakeholders" of attempting to deceive Mnuchin in an attempt to further deteriorate already fraught the relationship between the United States and Venezuela.
"They have built a false-positive case in order to criminalize - through me - the Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela," El Aissami wrote, adding that the U.S. Treasury Department's "decision constitutes a serious violation against my human rights and seriously damages my dignity and honor."
"I have no assets or accounts in the United States or in any country of the world, and it is both absurd and pathetic that an American administrative body - without presenting any evidence - adopts a measure to freeze goods and assets that I do not own at all," El Aissami wrote in the advertisement. ■