Nicolás Maduro, president of the Venezuelan regime, assured that the United States has kidnapped Alex Saab. Photos: private archive / EFE / Rayner Peña R
The case of Alex Saab reopened a new chapter in the last hours and that could mean, not only a harsh questioning of the United States government, but also a blow to the dialogues that the Venezuelan regime held with its opponents in Mexico to solve the political, social and economic crisis that the government chaired by Nicolás Maduro is going through.
This Saturday, January 1, the leader of the Venezuelan regime assured that Saab, accused of being his front man, was extradited to the United States under “a thousand false elements” and that, therefore, the situation of the Colombian businessman would have to present “great changes ”In view of what he considers to be a kidnapping by the US government.
“Now Alex Saab is kidnapped in a Florida jail (…) accusing him of a thousand false elements. Alex Saab continues to be the representative before the Mexican table, and there would have to be big changes in the matter that has to do with the kidnapping of Alex Saab for us to return to the dialogue in Mexico, we will see what happens in January, February … ” , said in an interview with the Spanish journalist, Ignacio Ramonet
Saab’s hearing, which was initially scheduled for this January 3, was postponed, at least, until January 7, as his defense requested to dismiss the charges for conspiracy for money laundering that he faces in a court in Miami (Florida) . The arguments? That the Barranquilla businessman has diplomatic immunity, which means that he cannot be prosecuted or prosecuted in any way.
Let us remember that Maduro has insisted, on previous occasions, that Saab has “diplomatic credentials”, and that he was carrying out a humanitarian mission on the way to Iran when his plane was stopped in Cape Verde, where it was to refuel, in June 2020, and later extradited last October.
FILE IMAGE. Alex Saab appears in a mugshot file available to Reuters on October 17, 2021. Broward County Sheriff’s Office / Distributed via REUTERS
The declarations of the Venezuelan regime against the US would bring problems to the opposition in Mexico, where Maduro and his caucus had been conducting talks since August and that lasted until November. For the Chavista leader, Saab’s extradition “was a sabotage” by the White House to stall the talks that were being carried out with the ‘Azteca’ nation.
“The dialogues were going very well, we were already getting into great depth about major issues of the reinstitutionalization of Venezuela, the economy, criminal sanctions, the life of the country and once again, when we were already entering into major issues, the Government of the United States is taking an action that they knew would cause the dialogue to break down, ”Maduro pointed out.
And he added that, supposedly, there were agreements with the United States so that this judicial procedure would not occur: “The opposition itself, its coordinator (Gerardo) Blyde, spoke about it in Washington, with the State Department, and they gave guarantees that it would not They were going to take Alex Saab, our diplomat, so that the talks would continue to be fruitful. “
In accordance with the provisions of a memorandum of understanding, signed on August 13, these dialogues would address a broad agenda that will include the definition of electoral guarantees and a timetable for observable elections; the lifting of sanctions applied by Washington; restoration of rights to assets; respect for the constitutional state; political and social coexistence; the renunciation of violence; reparation to victims of violence and protection of the economy and the population.
As in other negotiation processes, such as in 2019, Norway participated as a mediator. For their part, Russia and the Netherlands were assuming the role of companions of the Maduro delegations and the opposition, led by Juan Guaidó.
Venezuela, which has one of the largest oil reserves in the world, has been mired in an economic crisis, which has been exacerbated by several US sanctions. Under the administration of former President Donald Trump, the US government imposed measures to make it difficult for the Maduro regime to develop, sell or transport this mineral oil.
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