Venezuelan Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez said in a Wednesday press conference that recent accusations against Vice President Tareck El Aissami contrast with the fact that Venezuela is among the top six countries with the highest confiscation of narcotic drugs in the world.
Rodriguez said the U.S. government is plotting against her country following the sanctions imposed against El Aissami over his alleged involvement in drug trafficking. Venezuela is in fact, free of illicit crops in the national territory, something that has been recognized by the United Nations, the foreign minister added.
“Since we ended our relations with the DEA in 2005, we have achieved an annual average of 55.7 confiscated tons of drugs … This has been possible thanks to the work of Vice President El Aissami, who is a prominent criminologist expert, renowned for his outstanding leadership as minister of the interior and justice during the presidency of Commander Hugo Chavez,” Rodriguez said.
WATCH: Maduro Demands Apology from the U.S. Govt After Sanctions
A total of 102 drug traffickers were arrested and extradited to the U.S. and Colombia during the term of El Aissami as minister of the interior and justice from 2008 to 2012. His work was also recognized by the governments of Bogota and Washington.
"The lies, the campaigns of psychological propaganda have consequences for the people, for the countries," the top diplomat said before a group of journalists at the Foreign Affairs Ministry headquarters in Caracas.
El Aissami has long denied any criminal ties. He has been the target of a U.S. law enforcement investigation over allegations of links with the Lebanese Hezbollah resistance movement.
Minister Rodriguez also denied the information provided by CNN which accuses El Aissami of giving 173 Venezuelan passports and IDs to individuals from the Middle East with terrorism ties.
These allegations are based on the testimony of Misael Lopez, former legal adviser to the Venezuelan Embassy in Iraq, who was sacked and accused of sexually harassing a female worker from that same diplomatic seat.
“All that CNN is saying is a lie. Misael Lopez, their ‘star witness,’ sexually harassed a worker from our embassy in Iraq ... We have begun a legal process against this delinquent ... This man, usurping the identity of the Venezuelan ambassador in Iraq, tried to withdraw funds from the embassy," Rodriguez said.
The diplomat added that by attacking the vice president the right-wing opposition intends to attack the government of President Nicolas Maduro. In addition, she said Lopez has a personal relationship with the lawyer of imprisoned opposition Leader Leopoldo Lopez, who is serving a sentence over his involvement in the killing of 43 victims during the 2014 opposition-led violent protests.