Photo: Efecto Cocuyo

The Battle For Alex Saab’s Extradition Begins

The Foreign Ministry’s communiqué about the capture of the “businessman” reveals profound irregularities about his nationalization, his job title, diplomatic immunity and responsibilities; The TSJ appointed an unacceptable CNE

  • On Friday, June 12th, Cabo Verde authorities arrested Colombian “businessman” Alex Saab, who’s accused of corruption schemes with Nicolás’s regime by authorities in the U.S. He was detained when his plane stopped for gas. Saab has been accused in several corruption and money laundering cases, and he’s known for being one of Nicolás’s middlemen, which has granted him immense power in Venezuela, enough to sue, harass and force journalists from website Armando Info into exile. The outlet has published several pieces under the title “Behind the CLAP.” Saab has been wanted by Colombian and U.S. authorities for years, he’s been detained before and even managed to escape once. José Landim, Cabo Verde’s attorney general, confirmed the extradition process has started. The U.S. has 18 days to formally request it. On the other hand, Luisa Ortega Díaz, former prosecutor general of Venezuela and now adversary to Maduro’s regime, assured that his detention is a very important event because Saab is in the business of “laundering Maduro’s and his whole family’s money.”
  • On Saturday, June 13th, Nicolás’s regime released a communiqué rejecting Saab’s detention, saying that he’s a Venezuelan citizen and he’s the “government’s agent,” an unknown diplomatic figure which allegedly gives him immunity. The text says that his detention is an “act of aggression and harassment” by the U.S. against the Venezuelan people, only to interrupt the processes that would guarantee the “right to food, health and other basic rights.” Meaning, Saab is like three UN agencies operating simultaneously. The communiqué also condemns that the Interpol warrant was issued extemporaneously and that they have started all procedures so his human rights (!) are respected. 
  • For the first time ever, chavismo admits to having a relationship with Alex Saab. Nobody knows when they made him a citizen, but it’s obvious that he hasn’t lived in Venezuela for five years in a row, as established by law. Also, you have to be Venezuelan by birth in order to be a diplomat (and having immunity). Saab, by the way, also had a diplomatic passport issued by Antigua and Barbuda in 2014. Now, if Saab is indeed a Venezuelan official as the ministry says, then he’s an official, which is why it’s unacceptable that he’s also in business with the state. Saab’s ID number is 21,495,350, not a part of the Electoral Register and neither are ID cards with numbers between 21,495,300 and 21,495,400. What kind of food-related action was Saab doing in Iran? They didn’t explain that either. 
  • Juan Guaidó said that the National Assembly’s Electoral Nomination Committee will continue working, despite the appointment of CNE directors by the Supreme Tribunal of Justice on Friday night, with three of them tied to PSUV. The new president is the same justice who voided the election of opposition deputies from Amazonas, another one is tied to the minority opposition parties interested in negotiating with the regime (Rafael Simón Jiménez) and one of them is from AD. Guaidó said that they won’t recognize any decision by the CNE and that the opposition will move to an offensive strategy to reject and demand, and added that chavismo made a political mistake with that imposition, because nobody is going to recognize this CNE. The actions contemplated to express their rejection include showing the international community that Venezuela needs a higher level of pressure. It’s also necessary to regroup the opposition to mobilize it. Guaidó emphasized that the current National Assembly “will remain in functions until Venezuelans can choose freely.” Guaidó admitted they’ve held meetings with chavismo to study the CNE appointments, but they left the negotiation when they understood how the regime would act. 
  • Nicolás’s Foreign minister, Jorge Arreaza, said on Saturday to the diplomatic corps that the TSJ’s imposition of the CNE board was solved “in accordance to the Constitution,” which mandates legislative elections by the end of 2020, and assured that the road to chavismo’s way of solving problems has been “exploration, meetings and dialogue.” He assured us that “we’re definitely on the way to legislative elections in 2020.” 
  • ANC-imposed attorney general Tarek William Saab said that they requested the detention of five FAES officers for murdering five people in the El Limón sector (an hour away from Caracas, near the Vargas coast), on June 11th, including Wilmer Yánez, Iris Varela’s bodyguard. The people detained are Sandy Bracho, Cleynis Lemus, Juan Rondón, Miguel Arias and Anthony Castellar. They’ll be charged with murder and unlawful use of a weapon. Iris Varela called FAES officers’ actions “abhorrent” after the murder of her bodyguard and four other people. She expects justice. 
  • On Sunday, Nicolás’s Communications minister, Jorge Rodríguez, reported 74 cases of COVID-19, for a total of 2,978. He also reported one death, for a total of 25 confirmed deaths. Dr. Julio Castro explained that there’s no vaccine or effective treatment against COVID-19, so there’s only virustatic strategies like the quarantine, social distancing and barrier methods, strategies that demand time and consistency. If virustatic strategies are suspended earlier than necessary, the virus returns, and even though the consequences are obvious, chavismo has decided to ratify the flexibilization of the measures as we approach 3,000 cases, with the highest daily figures we’ve had. Journalist Florantonia Singer summed it up: “It took 70 days to get to the first 1,000 cases of COVID-19 in Venezuela. It took 13 days to reach 2,000 cases, on June 5th. Today, we have 2,978 cases and 25 deaths.” In the words of Dr. Castro: “You decide if you’re going to protect yourself or not. Right now, the possibility of infection is ten times higher than seven weeks ago.”

 

 

Naky Soto

Naky gets called Naibet at home and at the bank. She coordinates training programs for an NGO. She collects moments and turns them into words. She has more stories than freckles.