(Reuters) Venezuela's powerful Vice President Tareck El Aissami on Tuesday called his blacklisting by the United States on drug charges an "imperialist aggression" in the first bilateral flare-up under the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump.
"We shall not be distracted by these miserable provocations," he added in a series of tweets. "Truth is invincible and we will see this vile aggression dispelled."
The U.S. Department of Treasury on Monday sanctioned El Aissami and Samark Lopez, whom it identified as his associate, on accusations of masterminding an international network shipping drugs to Mexico and the United States.
Lopez also said the listings appeared politically motivated.
"Mr. Lopez is not a government official and has not engaged in drug trafficking," he said in a statement on his website describing himself as a "legitimate businessman."