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Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro holds up a sword of Venezuelan hero Simon Bolivar during a rally, Caracas, Venezuela, Dec. 17, 2016 (AP photo by Fernando Llano).

With New Vice President, Venezuela’s Crisis Takes a Troubling Turn

Thursday, Jan. 12, 2017

Venezuela’s roiling crisis just became far more complicated for the country’s political opposition and exponentially more unsettling for the United States. On Jan. 4, President Nicolas Maduro reshuffled his Cabinet and named a new vice president, Tareck El Aissami, a man who has reportedly helped forge back-channel links for Caracas to terrorists and drug traffickers.

Until now, Washington has mostly treated Venezuela’s dramatic social and economic disintegration as a matter to be watched from afar: troubling, to be sure, but without very significant repercussions beyond its own borders or neighborhood. But the appointment of El Aissami means that the next U.S. presidential administration, and other countries, will find it more difficult to ignore Venezuela. ...

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