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Jan 30, 2017 0 Comments

With New “Superpowers” Maduro Elevates El Aissami to Second in Command Media Mentions

Nicolás Maduro recently granted the new vice president of Venezuela, Tareck El Aissami, new and broad powers through presidential decrees, which has prompted speculation about possible succession plans.

According to Bloomberg international news, El Aissami has the power both to determine ministerial budgets and to expropriate private companies as he sees fit.

Likewise, El Aissami, of Syrian origin, and recently appointed to his post, is authorized to issue economic orders on matters ranging from taxes to foreign currency to hiring practices to state-owned enterprises.

This information was published in the Official Gazette on January 26 but was not distributed until January 30.

The new powers surpass those that have historically been granted to the vice president of Venezuela and could entail something approaching a new level of power sharing.

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Jan 28, 2017 0 Comments

January 2017 • Issue 2 Global Dispatch

Russia in Our Blind Spot: Using Intelligence Networks in South America to Infiltrate the United States

by Ricardo Neeb

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Russia, like the Soviet Union before it, is a source of expansion and aggression in Crimea, Ukraine, the Baltic states, Syria, and in cyberspace. These are regrettably only the visible signs. In Latin America, after a temporary lapse, Russia has returned to increase its influence and to exploit any real or perceived U.S. weaknesses. This time, taking advantage of U.S. foreign policy focused on the Middle East and, therefore, leaving a blind spot south of the Rio Grande.

This Global Dispatch examines Russia’s use of Latin America as a veritable bridge from which to cultivate intelligence operations and infiltrate the United States. Providing a brief history of Soviet intelligence in Latin America and assessment of current Russian intentions in the region, the Dispatch also examines one major case where Russia’s external intelligence agency used Chile as a staging ground for entry into the United States.

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Jan 12, 2017 0 Comments

New Venezuelan VP’s alleged ties with Hezbollah, radicalism raise concerns Media Mentions

Tareck El Aissami, one of the most powerful men in Venezuela, just acquired more power. Last week the self-proclaimed “radically Chavista” became the country’s second in command after President Nicolas Maduro appointed him as vice president.

The son of a Lebanese mother and a Syrian father, the 42-year-old El Aissami is also one of the most obscure figures in government circles — he is suspected of having ties to the Islamist militant group Hezbollah and is reportedly being investigated by U.S. prosecutors for possible involvement in drug trafficking.

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