Venezuela’s oil czar has announced his resignation as officials investigate alleged corruption among public officials
By Independent – Regina Garcia Cano
Mar 20, 2023
Venezuela’s oil czar announced his resignation Monday as officials investigate alleged corruption among public officials in the state oil industry and other parts of the government.
Tareck El Aissami announced his resignation on Twitter and pledged to help the investigation into any allegations involving Petroleos de Venezuela SA, commonly known as PDVSA, while also offering support to President Nicolás Maduro’s anti-corruption campaign.
Venezuela’s Anti-Corruption Police last week announced an investigation into unnamed public officials in the oil industry, the justice system and in some municipalities, though they did not cite PDVSA. The attorney general said Sunday that some officials had been arrested, but did not give details.
El Aissami could not immediately be reached Monday.
Corruption has long been rampant in Venezuela, which sits atop the world’s largest petroleum reserves. But officials are rarely held accountable — a major irritant to citizens, the majority of whom live on $1.90 a day, the international benchmark of extreme poverty.
The U.S. government designated El Aissami, a powerful Maduro ally, a narcotics kingpin in 2017 in connection with activities in his previous positions as interior minister and governor. The Treasury Department alleged “he oversaw or partially owned narcotics shipments of over 1,000 kilograms from Venezuela on multiple occasions, including those with the final destinations of Mexico and the United States.”
Under the government of the late President Hugo Chávez, El Aissami headed the Ministry of Internal Affairs. He was appointed minister of oil on April 2020.
Read More: Independent – Venezuela’s oil czar resigns amid corruption investigations