Maduro appoints jailed ally, with pending extradition to US, to political talks with the opposition in Mexico
Venezuela has announced that it will incorporate the government delegation in negotiations with the political opposition in Mexico, Alex Saab, a close ally jailed in Cape Verde, Africa who is to be extradited to the United States on corruption and money laundering charges.
Alex Nain Saab Moran, Colombian born but with diplomatic documentation from Venezuela and the Caribbean island of Antigua and Barbuda is considered by the United States for holding closely kept secrets as to how the corruption skimming scheme in Venezuela works and equally significant how the funds are processed overseas, and where.
The decision to incorporate Saab to dictator Nicolas Maduro’s delegation signals the fear of what the Colombian with Venezuelan diplomatic status could confess about the extent of corruption in Venezuela if he is finally flown to the United States. Besides, it could also bog the current political talks in Mexico, probably with the hopes of reaching some agreement on the final fate of Saab.
Saab was arrested in June 2020 when he landed with his private jet in Cape Verde en route to Iran for refuelling. The US immediately requested his arrest and extradition. After a long process, the Cape Verde supreme court and appeals court finally agreed in early September that Saab could be extradited to the US.
Maduro’s government has protested his arrest as illegal, claiming Saab was a diplomatic envoy in a humanitarian mission and therefore possesses immunity from prosecution while on an official mission. Nevertheless, Caracas contracted top international lawyers with an international reputation to defend their ally, but it seems to no avail.
We’re not going to get distracted from our central agenda, the opposition delegation led by Juan Guadió said in a statement. “We Venezuelans need an integral accord that restores democracy and the opportunity to emerge from this immense social, economic and political crisis.”
The political talks took off a month ago in Mexico to reach some understandings. Talks are sponsored by Norway, with a supporting role from Russia and Netherlands. The Venezuelan opposition with US support has agreed as a reconciliation signal, to participate in regional elections later this year. Opposition on several occasions has refused to participate in elections as a form of protest.
Finally, the fact that Saab has diplomatic documents from the Venezuelan regime is no surprise, but what is disturbing is that a Commonwealth member extended him Antigua and Barbuda status with a special Economic Envoy preeminence.