Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has appointed former Vice President Tareck El Aissami Minister of Oil. This is accused by the United States of drug trafficking. According to an official announcement today (local time), Asdrubal Jose Chavez, a cousin of Maduro’s predecessor Hugo Chavez, who died in 2013, is the new president of the state oil company PDVSA.
El Aissami is on the list of the most wanted drug traffickers by the US Immigration and Customs Agency ICE. The US authorities attribute it to „an important role“ in the international drug trade. He is accused of having shipped more than 1,000 kilograms of drugs by plane or in ships, some of which were destined for the United States.
Venezuela is in a serious political and economic crisis. Maduro was elected for a second term in controversial elections in 2018. Parliament President Juan Guaido declared himself interim president in early 2019 and was recognized by numerous western countries.