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Feb 6, 2017 0 Comments

Venezuela’s New Iron-Fisted Boss Facing U.S. Trafficking Probe Media Mentions

When Tareck El Aissami, Venezuela’s new vice president, competed in student elections, his opponents said he brought in armed gangs to bully the competition. Then, they say, when he forgot to register for reelection he phoned the local political boss with a plan to rig the vote.

“I threatened to throw him in jail,” said Florencio Porras, the former governor of Merida state. “Since then, he’s declared me his enemy.” Climbing from student leader in rural Venezuela to the country’s number two power broker in just over a decade, El Aissami has made many enemies like Porras.

Facing economic collapse and anemic public support, President Nicolas Maduro has chosen as his chief deputy one of Venezuela’s most controversial and feared politicians, government critics say. El Aissami, 42, is one of a number of Venezuelans under investigation by U.S. authorities for alleged participation in drug trafficking and money laundering rings as well as for playing a key role in helping Iran and Hezbollah, the Lebanese Islamist group, gain footholds in Latin America. A young star in the socialist party that has ruled here for nearly two decades, El Aissami is viewed by both supporters and critics as cunning and skilled.

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Feb 2, 2017 0 Comments

Détente No Help to Cubans Media Mentions

Two years after President Barack Obama relaxed America’s stance toward the communist regime in Cuba, citizens of the island nation are still waiting for any substantial benefits.

Although Obama managed to widen the crevice for U.S. companies in the Cuban market, Cubans have seen little improvement in their economic freedoms, while their political freedoms remain abysmal.

Obama started to drop restrictions on Cuba in December 2014 and over the next two years opened diplomatic relations and secured limited access to Cuba for U.S. travelers, telecommunication companies, and banks.

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