Where is Tarek Al Aissami? Venezuela’s all-powerful oil king has been missing for almost a year

Next March will mark one year since the PDVSA-Crypto scandal, the last fraud perpetrated against the nation during the time of Chavismo, which resulted in the assassination of Tarek El Aissami, Vice President of the Economic Sector and Minister of Energy and Petroleum. Nothing is known about former plenipotentiary El Aissami. Or almost nothing. From time to time, opposition politicians and activists on social media wonder about his whereabouts and demand justice while criticizing the surprising official silence on his case. It was never known whether charges were brought against him. There is no news about his legal status. He neither testified nor was seen again. The Attorney General has not mentioned it again. This issue has been forgotten in PSUV. The revolutionary leadership avoids mentioning him personally. It seems that El Aissami has been swallowed by the earth.

A multimillion-dollar corruption scheme involving the transfer of income from Petroleos de Venezuela was dismantled during international sanctions – property losses were estimated at more than $21,000 million – and its members were prosecuted, including those very critical of the management. Officers were also involved. Governments like Pedro Maldonado, Huguenot Roa or Hugo Cabezas, all with important responsibilities since the time of Hugo Chávez. In all, 40 bureaucrats, civilian and military, some of whom were very important and powerful, all of them personally and politically very close to El Aissami, were also disgraced and deposed.

According to close sources, vegetarian El Aissami has lost more than ten kilos of weight during this period. Some well-established journalistic editions have published leaked information from the depths of Chavismo, and report that El Essamy is in a state of semi-residential confinement, one of the bastions built in recent years for the ruling elite. There is a kind of house arrest. In area. Conejo Blanco, in Fuerte Tiuna, the most important military plaza in Caracas. In addition, both before and after his public disappearance, there has been cyclical speculation about the health of El Aissami, a criminal lawyer graduated from the University of Los Andes and the son of Syrian immigrants from revolutionary Ba’athist nationalism.

Versions circulated on social networks about cancer being treatable, treatable and timely detected, affecting their performance at the end of 2022. The political leader himself took it upon himself to deny this while in office. But now he has not been able to deny them either. The silence is complete.

“Based on the investigation into serious acts of corruption at Petroleos de Venezuela, I have decided to tender my resignation as Petroleum Minister with the aim of supporting, accompanying and fully supporting this process,” L said. ” Aisami. In what was to be his last public statement, in March 2023, shortly before a series of arrests of people close to him began, in an investigation ordered by the Miraflores Palace, the presidential residence itself.

It has since been commented that the reasons for El Aissami’s fall may also have been political. Although this is a source of controversy, many knowledgeable Venezuelans consider this version to be true. Maduro himself once spoke in one of his television broadcasts, without naming him, about the existence of a group of people who were secretly working to bring him to power.

“I have never believed it,” says consultant and political analyst Carmen Beatriz Fernández, an academic at the University of Navarra and Simon Bolivar University. “I always feel that El Essami’s problem with Maduro has to do with money, with business. Maduro needs cash to face electoral challenges and El Aissami doesn’t know how to explain it to him, one part was missing, a campaign without money is blasphemy. “I think this is where things are headed.”

When the PDVSA-Crypto affair was revealed, several videos of Maduro’s television programs could be seen on social networks shortly afterwards, in which, impatiently, he called El Aissami in front of the rest of the cabinet, to confront him about the collection. Information can be given in. PDVSA accounts, and cash flow progress of the state oil company.

“The El Aissami case is not easy to analyze, it has few visible elements. There is debate as to whether there is a power struggle, or differences with Maduro because money has been lost. It’s quite a mysterious matter, very opaque. The internal power structure in the Chavista government remains intact for the rest,” comments Luis Salamanca, Doctor of Political Science at the Central University of Venezuela.

Generally speaking, government ministers and representatives avoid talking about the El Aissami case. At times, some of them have had to dodge questions with hints and fallacies. Jesús Faria, a deputy from the United Socialist Party of Venezuela, bluntly declared in an opinion program weeks ago, “I don’t know anything about El Aissami, I don’t know his whereabouts.” “His potential prosecution is a task that rests with the prosecutor’s office and the security agencies,” he said.

“This is a case that shows how far factions of Chavismo can go in their internal conflicts,” says consultant and political analyst Luis Peche Arteaga. “Two people died during the trial of this case, very little has been said about it. A very clear message has been sent to the remaining actors of Chavismo about the strength of Maduro’s leadership. A year ago there was talk of alternative leaders, possible options, all that has ended. A very clear message has been sent here.”

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