Photo: Reuters

Saab: the First Hearing of a Long Trial

Colombian citizen Álex Saab had his first hearing before an American court. The judge denied him bail and set November 1st as the date for the next hearing. The charges against him are: seven counts of money laundering and one for conspiracy to commit that crime.

  • On Monday, Colombian citizen Álex Saab had his first hearing before an American court. Federal judge John O’Sullivan presided. Saab was informed of his rights and the charges against him. The judge denied him bail and set November 1st as the date for the next hearing. Saab didn’t stop shaking his legs while he heard the charges against him: seven counts of money laundering and one for conspiracy to commit that crime. Saab’s lawyer, Henry Bell, insisted he had “diplomatic immunity.” Saab and Álvaro Pulido Vargas were charged in July 2019. The charges say that starting November 2011, Saab and Pulido conspired to launder the income from a bribe system from bank accounts in Venezuela to the U.S. Because of that scheme, they obtained a contract with the regime in 2011 to build houses. They later took advantage of currency controls and presented fake and fraudulent import documents for goods and materials that were never transported to Venezuela and bribed officials to approve these documents. 
  • Russia expressed its concern for the regime suspending its participation in the Mexico talks because of Saab’s extradition and highlighted that there’s no alternative to the negotiation: “It’s the only way to sustainably solve the existing contradictions,” said the Russian foreign minister in a communique. 

The U.S. State Department criticized the regime for interrupting the negotiation and putting Saab’s case over the “well-being of millions of Venezuelans,” said spokesperson Ned Price. 

  • The Spanish foreign minister, José Manuel Albares, said he was “disappointed” for the suspension of the dialogue, the “only way” to solve the situation in the country. He assured that Spain will always be in favor of dialogue. 
  • The National Academy of Medicine demanded the epidemic bulletins of the last five years be published and recover their much-needed regularity, to increase surveillance and avoid the reappearance of diseases like yellow fever. 
  • 430,000 new doses of Sputnik V arrived yesterday. Director of Médicos Unidos Jaime Lorenzo said that over 900,000 people await their second dose. 
  • To avoid more cases of yellow fever, Venezuela must achieve a 95% vaccination rate in at-risk areas like Monagas, Bolívar, Sucre, Delta Amacuro and Anzoátegui, said Dr. José Félix Oletta. 
  • The regime went back to their pro-punishment narrative after the launch of the digital bolivar and is using SUNDDE to control prices, there have been 3,000 “inspection processes” to “verify” the prices of 27 products established in April 2020. 
  • The director of the Cámara de Empresas de Transporte Extraurbano, Fernando Mora, assured that drivers aren’t using the digital bolivar, so the ticket is paid with old banknotes, making transactions harder. Mora demanded answers on the gas shortage too. 
  • Conviasa inaugurated its first office in Russia. Maduro’s ambassador Carlos Faría said this is “very important” for commercial transactions between both nations. 
  • According to Ok Diario, Hugo ‘El Pollo’ Carvajal is still giving information to the Spanish Audiencia Nacional, to delay his extradition to the U.S. This time, he gave the authorities a document explaining how political party Podemos received Venezuelan financing. 
  • Leopoldo López said he’ll sue former ambassador Humberto Calderón Berti in Spain, where they both live. López said the accusations against him are fake. 
  • Alianza del Lápiz leaders went to the public ministry to press charges against MUD for the attack in El Junquito on Saturday: candidate Enrique Sierra allegedly led the group who attacked. His sister Alicia Sierra said that they beat her during the event but candidate Adriana Aguilera said Alianza del Lápiz attacked them first.
  • The families of nine American political prisoners sent a letter to President Biden complaining about his inaction to improve the situation. 
  • The CEV’s Comisión de Justicia y Paz asked for a humanitarian measure for FundaRedes activists, who were arbitrarily detained over three months ago and currently have COVID-19. 
  • The most recent report by Centro de Justicia y Paz registered at least 33 cases of persecution and criminalization by the regime. 

Chilean justice reported three people who were allegedly involved in the attack against Venezuelan migrants in Iquique were detained. 

  • Foreign minister, Félix Plasencia, said that they’re polishing a new agreement with Iran for strategic cooperation for 20 years. 
  • The chief of the EU electoral observation mission, Isabel Santos, announced that she’ll arrive in Venezuela on October 28th. She said she’ll lead a team of 46 EU observers who will work in all parts of the country.

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.