In his new memoir, Sacred Oath, former US Defense Secretary, Mark Esper, who served under President Donald Trump at the time of the arrest of Alex Saab in Cape Verde, effectively admits that the White House was quite aware of the fact that Saab was a diplomat at the time of his capture. As Esper writes, “At Maduro’s direction, Saab was reportedly on special assignment to negotiate a deal with Iran for Venezuela to receive more fuel, food, and medical supplies. Saab was Maduro’s long standing point man when it came to crafting the economic deals and other transactions that were keeping the regime afloat*.*” Esper’s recognition that Alex Saab was “on special assignment” and negotiated economic deals for Venezuela is a tacit recognition of Saab’s diplomatic status.
Venezuelan diplomat Alex Saab’s case took a dramatic turn as his legal defense team denounced the US government’s flagrant failure to respect long-standing diplomatic immunity conventions. Saab’s lawyer, David Rivkin, called the US government’s arguments before the 11th Circuit Court in Miami “utterly dangerous.” “The implication,” he added is that “because you are a disfavored regime, because you're Venezuela under Maduro…we're going to treat you as somehow you lost the Westphalian entitlement to sovereignty.” And with that, Rivkin pretty much summed up the US imperial view of the world. At issue at the April 6 hearing was Saab’s claim to diplomatic immunity under the Vienna Convention on Diplomat Relations.
This Wednesday, April 6, Venezuela’s National Assembly (AN) unanimously approved a draft agreement to demand acknowledgement of the diplomatic status of Alex Saab, who has been illegally imprisoned in the United States since October 2021. The AN statement establishes that Alex Saab has been serving as a diplomatic agent since 2018, as a special envoy for Venezuela in Russia and Iran, and since 2020 as ambassador plenipotentiary to the African Union. In addition, he was appointed in 2021 as permanent representative of the national government’s delegation for the Mexico Talks held with the opposition.
In a world where the US believes it makes the rules and the rest of humanity must follow its orders – what President Biden euphemistically calls the “rules-based order” – Washington has now even appropriated the prerogative to tell other countries who they may appoint as their ambassadors. As a consequence, Venezuelan diplomat Alex Saab is fighting for his freedom before the 11th District Circuit Court in Miami. US economic war against Venezuela Alex Saab was appointed a special envoy with diplomatic credentials by the Venezuelan government on April 9, 2018. The businessman had worked on the government’s food assistance (CLAP) and public housing programs. More importantly, he was assisting the government in trying to circumvent sanctions imposed on Venezuela by the US; sanctions intended to punish the people so that they would be motivated to overthrow their democratically elected government.
Unlike Ukraine, Venezuela successfully resisted the violent US-led coup attempt in 2014, and in other years, by right wing forces and the hybrid war being waged against it. Venezuela is recovering despite the ongoing economic blockade. Now, because the United States needs oil, the Biden administration has started talking to the Maduro government and there is hope that relations between the two countries may resume. For an update on this situation, as well as the future of Venezuela's US-based oil company CITGO, the status of Venezuela's gold in the Bank of London, the demise of Juan Guaido, and the kidnapping of Venezuelan diplomat, Alex Saab, Clearing the FOG speaks with Leonardo Flores, the Latin American campaign director for CODEPINK.
We reiterate our condemnation expressed on October 18, 2021 by this Network against the crime of the kidnapping perpetrated by the United States against the person of the Venezuelan diplomat Alex Saab on Saturday, October 16, 2021 in the Territory of Cape Verde, with the complicity of the authorities of that country. We note that this crime is a new application of the illegal doctrine according to which the authorities of the United States would have the authority to act outside the borders of their homeland, anywhere on earth, and consequently to detain, assault and even assassinate at their discretion any human being, a fact that was perpetrated and publicly confessed with the physical annihilation of Iranian General Soleimani.
Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro, on Monday, March 7, announced the reactivation of the dialogue and negotiation process with the platform of far-right opposition sectors in favor of the economic recovery and stability of the country. Additionally, the president reported that on March 5, he held a meeting with a delegation from the government of his counterpart from the United States, Joe Biden. Maduro made the announcements during a meeting with his vice presidents, ministers, and military high command at the Miraflores Palace. In a further show a potential shift in the relations between the two countries, two prisoners of American nationality in Venezuela were released on March 8.
“It’s not a crime to fulfill a diplomatic mission. It’s not a crime to evade sanctions that are harming an entire country. It can’t be illegal to help a people.” Camilla Fabri Saab made these impassioned remarks when explaining the situation behind the illegal arrest and extradition - the kidnapping, in essence - of her husband, Venezuelan diplomat Alex Saab. Alex Saab is virtually unknown in the United States, where he is currently languishing in a Miami prison, but he has been vital to Venezuela’s ability to survive the brutal economic war being waged by the U.S. He is a political prisoner whose case has parallels to that of Julian Assange. Both have been subjected to extraterritorial reach by U.S. authorities, as neither are U.S. citizens, and their alleged crimes took place outside of the country.
Alex Saab is a Venezuelan diplomat the US government has illegally seized and imprisoned for what the US considers “violation” of the illegal US economic warfare on Venezuela. He was in fact assisting Venezuela in legally working around the US blockade on his country by finding the means to import food, medicine, and materials for the Venezuelan oil industry. The US is seeking to coerce Alex Saab into disclosing the methods Venezuela uses to circumvent the US-Canadian-European sanctions with the goal of further tightening the economic blockade and suffering on the Venezuelan people. These sanctions are illegal according to the United Nations. His seizure by the US violates long-standing international law for one country to arrest and imprison a diplomat of another country.
The trial against the Venezuelan diplomat, Alex Saab, in the Court of the US Southern District of Florida, was suspended due to the ongoing appeal for his diplomatic status. The appeal was filed in April of 2021, reported FuserNews. The current complaint in regards to the recognition of his diplomatic status, which would confer immunity for Ambassador Saab, has been fought in the Court of Appeals of the Eleventh Circuit of Atlanta, Georgia, since April 1, 2021 when the defense team requested that the court “annul the order conferring the status of fugitive.”
On Wednesday, November 24, MintPress News Editor in Chief Mnar Adley sat down to speak with Camila Saab, the wife of imprisoned Venezuelan diplomat Alex Saab. Saab was on a diplomatic mission to Iran in June 2020, where he was tasked with securing deals for food, medicine and personal protective equipment. His plane stopped off in Cabo Verde — a group of islands off the west coast of Africa — for a routine refueling. He would never finish his journey, as, on orders from the United States government, local authorities stormed the vehicle, forcing him off the plane — an event that would begin his 18-month detention. “I never imagined that Cabo Verde was going to kidnap a diplomat,” said the Italian-born former model and mother of two.
Venezuela goes to the polls again on N21ovember in ‘mega elections.’ The dialogue that began in late summer between the Venezuelan government and sections of the hard right-wing opposition had been going well, with some definite outcomes. These include the decision by some right-wing opposition parties that have boycotted elections for years to take part in the elections. But the US’s illegal extradition from Cape Verde of Venezuelan diplomat Alex Saab, who was en-route to Iran to broker a trade deal to bring fuel, food and medicines to Venezuela, has threatened to sabotage both the talks, as the US did before in 2018 and 2019, and the elections. The regional and municipal elections being contested on 21 November are for the posts of state governors, mayors, regional legislators and local councilors, totaling 3,082 elected positions.
On Monday, November 1, the US Department of Justice dismissed seven charges of money laundering against Venezuelan diplomat Alex Saab, leaving only one charge of conspiracy to commit that crime. The motion was presented by the prosecutor Kurt Lunkenheimer, the day a hearing was scheduled in which the eight charges were to be read to Saab, a procedure that was postponed to next November 15, reported EFE news agency. The request was issued because the prosecution could not find sufficient evidence to prove the accusations, as Saab’s defense team had argued. The decision aligns with the fact that the Swiss Prosecutor’s Office dismissed its own investigation early this year for lack of evidence to support Washington’s fabricated case.
Members of the Bolivarian Circle in Miami and Trokia Kollective chant “free Alex Saab” outside Miami’s Clyde Atkins Courthouse on Monday, Nov 1st - the day originally scheduled for Venezuelan Diplomat Alex Saab’s arraignment. Despite the disappointing delay of his arraignment to November 15th, his supporters are energized as they stand witness outside Ambassador Saab’s prison, the Miami Federal Detention Center (FDC). They are resolute in their commitment to Diplomat Saab for breaking through the crippling illegal U.S. unilateral economic sanctions imposed on the people of Venezuela. Reportedly, the arraignment was postponed at the request of one of his lawyers, Henry Bell, since Diplomat Saab is “quarantined” from meeting with them in person.
Alex Saab is a Special Envoy of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and also its Deputy Permanent Representative to the African Union. He was arrested and detained in the Republic of Cape Verde (“Cape Verde”) on June 12, 2020, following a request from the United States of America and remained in arbitrary detention until October 16, 2021, when he was illegally removed by the United States to Miami. This operation carried out by the United States against a Venezuelan diplomat is marked by a series of violations of international law attributable directly or indirectly to the United States. Although the arbitrary arrest and detention of Alex Saab took place in Cape Verde, there is no doubt that the situation was the result of an operation sponsored by the United States, which violated international law, either directly or by proxy, through the authorities of Cape Verde.