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

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

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.

Until being appointed vice president, El Aissami was governor of the state of Aragua. Before that he was minister of the interior and justice. Always a very close ally to the late President Hugo Chavez and a militant Chavista, El Aissami’s new job, and the mountain of allegations about his previous activities, significantly change the country’s outlook.

Keep reading for free!

Get instant access to the rest of this article by submitting your email address below. You'll also get access to three articles of your choice each month and our free newsletter:

Or, Subscribe now to get full access.

Already a subscriber? Log in here .

What you’ll get with an All-Access subscription to World Politics Review:

A WPR subscription is like no other resource — it’s like having a personal curator and expert analyst of global affairs news. Subscribe now, and you’ll get:

  • Immediate and instant access to the full searchable library of tens of thousands of articles.
  • Daily articles with original analysis, written by leading topic experts, delivered to you every weekday.
  • Regular in-depth articles with deep dives into important issues and countries.
  • The Daily Review email, with our take on the day’s most important news, the latest WPR analysis, what’s on our radar, and more.
  • The Weekly Review email, with quick summaries of the week’s most important coverage, and what’s to come.
  • Completely ad-free reading.

And all of this is available to you when you subscribe today.