In a televised cabinet meeting, Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro, Sunday (17/10), reacted to the extradition of businessman and close ally of the Alex Saab government to America. Saab, a Colombian businessman, is accused of money laundering for the Maduro regime. Prosecutors believe he could be the most significant witness to corruption in Venezuela.
Maduro’s government suspended negotiations with opposition members in Mexico yesterday in protest after the Saab was taken on a plane bound for America from Cape Verde. Saab’s extradition comes after Maduro and his allies, including Russia, tried to prevent it for 16 months. Russia regards Saab as a Venezuelan diplomat.
“The American government knows that the kidnapping of Alex Saab, a member of the dialogue commission in Mexico, is a deadly stab at dialogue and negotiations in Mexico. The American government knows it but does it anyway. They know it, they don’t want dialogue, they don’t want peace for Venezuela, they don’t want democracy and progress for Venezuela.”
Saab is expected to have its first court hearing on Monday in Miami, according to US Department of Justice spokeswoman Nicole Navas Oxman. He expressed his gratitude and admiration for the Cape Verdean government for their professionalism and “diligence in this delicate case.”
Saab, 49, was arrested in the African archipelago 16 months ago when he stopped on his way to Iran for what was later described by Nicolás Maduro’s government as a diplomatic humanitarian mission that gave him immunity.
Saab quickly became the banner of the revolutionary struggle in which the Venezuelan government confirmed after his arrest that the businessman had previously been appointed as a representative of the African Union. The truth and relevance of his appointment has been questioned by American prosecutors.[ka/ab]