Alex Saab is about to be extradited to the U.S. His “crime”: violating illegal US sanctions by helping feed the Venezuelan people. Tell the DOJ to free Alex Saab!
Can you believe that a Venezuelan diplomat is being held in an African prison, and will be extradited to the United States, for violating illegal U.S. sanctions by helping to feed the Venezuelan people? It’s true. Cape Verde’s Constitutional Court just authorized the extradition of Venezuelan diplomat Alex Saab to the United States. Saab is a political prisoner being punished for helping Venezuela resist the illegal U.S. sanctions that have killed 100,000 people.
He was arrested in Cape Verde when his plane stopped to refuel after a humanitarian mission to Iran, where he signed trade deals for fuel and medicine on behalf of the Venezuelan government. Remember those Iranian tankers that arrived in Venezuela over the past year? Saab helped make that happen. He also worked with the Venezuelan government on housing and food imports. The embezzlement charges against Saab date back to the Trump administration and were part of the maximum pressure campaign to overthrow the Venezuelan government. So why is President Biden continuing this treacherous path?
There are all sorts of illegalities related to Saab’s arrest. First of all, he’s a diplomat, meaning that he has immunity and neither Cape Verde nor the U.S. have the right to prosecute him. Secondly, he was arrested without a warrant. Following a request from the U.S., the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol) put out a red notice, the equivalent of a warrant, but it was issued the day AFTER he was arrested. The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) said his detention was arbitrary and called for stopping his extradition and for his immediate release. The African Bar Association issued a similar ruling. The United Nations Human Rights Committee called on Cape Verde to refrain from extraditing Alex Saab.
Saab is one of the architects of Venezuela’s plans to overcome U.S. sanctions. That’s the reason there’s so much interest in him. The twisted logic is that if Saab is taken down, he’ll give up the network that Venezuela uses to purchase food, medicine, fuel and spare parts. In March, Switzerland closed a 3-year-long money laundering probe into Saab due to a lack of evidence. A commission from Venezuela’s National Assembly, when it was controlled by opposition leader Juan Guaidó, investigated him and cleared him.
Earlier this week, we delivered a letter to the Embassy of Cape Verde urging their authorities to stop Saab’s extradition. Here’s Leonardo giving a quick summary of who Alex Saab is. That same evening, Teri hosted an episode of WTF is Going on in Latin America about Alex Saab. Check it out to learn more about the case, lawfare and sanctions.
In radical solidarity,
Leonardo, Michelle Medea and Teri