Venezuela and the United States haven't had the best relationship recently. This week, it got worse.
The Treasury Department blacklisted Venezuelan Vice President Tareck El Aissami on Monday, saying he oversaw or "partially owned" narcotics shipments of more than 1,000 kilograms (2,204 pounds) from Venezuela, some of which ended up in Mexico and the U.S.
"On the one hand, it's a drop in the ocean, because it won't change what's happening on the ground," said Dany Bahar, fellow at Brookings. "On the other hand, it would represent a shift to a more realistic approach toward what's happening in Venezuela."
"By sanctioning the vice president, the U.S. government is acknowledging that the Venezuelan government has drug dealers at the highest ranks of government," he said.
Newly minted Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said in a Tuesday news conference the government had frozen "tens of millions of dollars" worth of assets belonging to El Aissami and Samark Jose Lopez Bello, El Aissami's primary frontman.