Venezuelan government envoy Alex Saab has been extradited to the United States from Cape Verde, where he had been imprisoned since 2020. The extradition was first reported by local Cape Verde outlets and later confirmed by US officials. The contractor will face trial in Florida where he was charged with money laundering. The Nicolás Maduro government immediately reacted, denouncing the "kidnapping" of Saab by the US government.
Alex Saab is “the key that unlocks the Venezuelan monetary mystery—that is, how a country facing sanctions from the US, the UK and the European Union—is still able to export things like gold and oil…and really the only man who can actually explain how the country [Venezuela] survives today,” according to Forbes. The US would far prefer to just quietly extradite Saab to Miami, use whatever means necessary to extract sensitive information from him, and then warehouse him in the world’s largest prison system. Forbes uses the euphemism “under pressure” by US prison authorities as the means to force Saab to “shed light on Venezuela’s post-sanction economic network.” Saab already reports that his surrogate captors in Cabo Verde, described below, have unsuccessfully employed torture to try to break his will and induce him to betray Venezuela.
We are writing to you to urge Novo Banco to execute the transfer of a modest portion of the now technically unfrozen assets belonging to Bandes, the Venezuelan economic and social development bank, so they may be transferred directly to the Brazil-based Pan-American Health Organisation to pay for vaccines and medicines for infants in Venezuela. Bandes informed us that they submitted this request to Novo Banco on 22nd July and have yet to receive a response. At this point in time there is no legal or extralegal obstacle that would preclude a Portuguese bank from making a transfer of Bandes’ own funds in Brazilian reales directly to a Brazilian bank account in order to pay for humanitarian supplies for children. Nearly 2 billion USD (in various currencies but a large amount in euros) have been withheld by Novo Banco illegally since late 2017.
After receiving a letter from the diplomat Alex Saab, the head of the Venezuelan government delegation in the Mexico Talks, Jorge Rodríguez, expressed outrage at the atrocities committed against this representative of Venezuelan diplomacy. In the letter, Saab denounced his subjection to torture in Cape Verde, including psychologically torment. For example, authorities had deprived him of water for days, wrote Saab, “because according to them they must pass the transparent bottles through the x-ray, and the machine is always damaged.”
HBO Max began streaming a documentary on September 15: A La Calle (“To the Street”). It portrays US-backed opposition leaders in Venezuela as pro-democracy heroes battling a brutal dictatorship—a total reversal of the truth. A Daily Beast article (9/13/21) promoting the film is headlined “Capturing Venezuela’s Descent Into Socialist Hell,” which succinctly conveys the film’s slant, and suggests why it found a big corporate platform like HBO Max, a subsidiary of AT&T‘s WarnerMedia. From the trailer alone, it’s obvious that A La Calle depicts Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo López as a noble democrat. That’s outrageous. López, a former oil industry executive, was one of the perpetrators of a US-backed coup in 2002 that briefly ousted the democratically elected president at the time, Hugo Chávez. A dictatorship under business executive Pedro Carmona killed 60 protesters during the two days it was in power.
Mérida – The Venezuelan government and US-backed opposition held a third round of talks in Mexico City over the weekend amid increasing friction. The weekend negotiations followed “fruitful” encounters in August and early September. Following previous sessions, the two parties signed a Memorandum of Understanding, opposition politician Freddy Guevara was released from prison, a number of hardliners signed up to participate in the upcoming November 21 elections and US $5.1 billion was transferred to the country’s international reserves by the International Monetary Fund. The talks bring together representatives of the Nicolás Maduro government and Juan Guaidó bloc under the banner of the self-styled Unitary Platform. More moderate opposition sectors and leftwing opponents were not invited.
The Group of Friends in Defense of the United Nations Charter held its first ministerial meeting at Venezuela’s UN Mission in New York City on Thursday, September 23 on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly meeting. The 18-country group adopted a declaration which outlines a policy in favor of respecting the UN charter. The statement says, “The UN Charter and its purposes and principles remain timeless, universal, and that all are indispensable, not only to preserve and promote international peace and security, the rule of law, the economic development and social progress, but also human rights and to achieve a more peaceful, prosperous, just and equitable world.” The group’s members currently are Algeria, Angola, Belarus, Bolivia, Cambodia, China, North Korea, Cuba, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Iran, Laos, Nicaragua, Palestine, Russia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and Syria.
After five years without meeting, Heads of State and Government of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) will convene on Saturday for the VI Summit in Mexico City. Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, whose late Friday arrival upstaged all other participants of the Summit, has submitted a proposal to his Mexican counterpart, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, to create a General Secretariat of CELAC and appoint a consensus Secretary General based in Mexico. President Maduro says the new institutional framework is necessary for CELAC in the context of the debate taking place on the Organization of American States (OAS) and CELAC. “It is the old debate between Monroeism (Monroe Doctrine) and Bolivarianism, between Latin America and the Caribbean. Our America and the other America, the imperial America,” he said.
By now it is obvious that the mainstream media does not cover any good news whatsoever about Venezuela. Even non-political issues are always accompanied by a poisoned cliché sentence or two about “dictator”, “authoritarian regime”, “collapsed economy” “humanitarian crisis”, etc. etc. So, the game-changing news that there are peace talks being held in México City between the Venezuelan government and opposition parties is ignored. México is acting as host and facilitator with the kingdoms of Norway and Netherlands, and the Russian Federation as mediators. This seminal event has been scarcely reported by the North American media or commented on by politicians. Not a peep. Perhaps it is because neither the USA nor Canada have been permitted to be part of these negotiations, although certainly the USA has tried, and failed, to worm itself in.
Mexico City, Mexico - Michelle Bachelet, United Nations (UN) High Commissioner for Human Rights, called on Monday for sectoral sanctions against Venezuela to be lifted. “I reiterate my call for sectoral sanctions to be lifted,” the former Chilean president said, recalling the negative impact of the measures on the Caribbean nation’s economy. The High Commissioner’s call came during the opening of the 48th session of the Human Rights Council where she presented her report on the human rights situation in Venezuela. Bachelet also expressed her support for the ongoing dialogue between the government and the US-backed opposition being held in Mexico. Venezuela welcomed Bachelet’s appeal for unilateral coercive measures to be lifted but took exception to what Venezuela’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Héctor Constant Rosales, called the “politicization” of the High Commissioner’s report.
Femi Falana, SAN, who heads up Alex Saab’s ECOWAS Defence commented “Contrary to some of the statements which have been made in the media, the legal process is far from over and His Excellency Alex Saab will not be going to the United States any time soon. The decision of the Constitutional Court on 7 September is leaves many legal ambiguities and my colleague Dr Jose Manuel Pinto Monteiro will be seeking clarification from the Court by way of an urgent submission this afternoon.” Dr Rutsel S.J. Martha, Interpol’s former Head of Legal Affairs, highlighted the fact that no arrest warrant issued at the time of Alex Saab’s arrest on 12 June 2020, which despite the attempt by the Constitutional Court to brush this aside as an inconvenience, cannot be ignored as it is an absolute must, as required by Cape Verde’s obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).
Praia - Cape Verde's highest court ruled on Tuesday that Alex Saab, a Colombian businessman who is wanted by U.S. authorities on charges of laundering money on behalf of Venezuela's government, should be extradited to the United States. Saab, who is close to Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, was detained in Cape Verde in June 2020 when his plane stopped there to refuel. He faces extradition to the United States, which accuses him of violating U.S. sanctions. Saab's lawyers have called the U.S. charges "politically motivated." A West African regional court ruled in March that Saab's detention was illegal because an Interpol red notice requesting his arrest was only issued the day after he was detained.
There are high hopes surrounding the upcoming round of negotiations between the Venezuelan government and the extreme right-wing of the opposition. The sides are set to meet on September 3 in Mexico after having signed a memorandum of understanding in August. That document established a 7-point agenda with a broad scope that encompasses elections, political rights and the economy, among others. It calls for lifting the sanctions and ending violent coup attempts. These talks have the potential to end years of political and economic instability caused in large part by U.S. intervention. Despite the intense pressure imposed by the Trump administration, the Maduro government enters the talks in its strongest position in years. The governing PSUV party swept legislative elections in 2020.
On August 14, Haiti was devastated by a magnitude 7.2 earthquake originating from the southern Tiburon Peninsula, 150 kilometres from the capital, Port-au-Prince. World leaders issued statements of solidarity, international charities began encouraging donations, and the United Nations started organizing emergency aid funds to assist the country. Articles on this ongoing tragedy often emphasis two prior catastrophes which have compounded the quake’s impact on the Haitian people: the COVID-19 pandemic and political instability following the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse. In such analyses, it is taken for granted that Global North countries and the United Nations should lead the international response to the disaster.
Venezuelan diplomat Alex Saab remains defiant after over 14 months under US-ordered arrest in the African archipelago country of Cabo Verde. A special envoy of the Venezuelan government, he is fighting extradition to the US for the “crime” of trying to procure humanitarian supplies of food, fuel, and medicine from Iran in violation of illegal US sanctions. To date, Saab’s legal appeals for freedom have been either denied, rejected, or ignored as his extradition to the US is becoming increasingly imminent. Saab continues to fight this flagrant attempt of extra-territorial judicial overreach by the US. In response to Saab’s recent appeal to the US 11th Circuit Court, the US filed on August 24 an application for an extension to reply on October 7. This legal delaying tactic is likely a US ploy to allow Saab’s pending extradition without recognizing his diplomatic immunity.