Above photo: CODEPINK’s Medea Benjamin (left) and Michelle Ellner (right) wearing t-shirts reading “Free Alex Saab.” CODEPINK/File photo.
Activist and founder of the CODEPINK women’s group, Medea Benjamin, stated that the Venezuelan diplomat Alex Saab, kidnapped by the United States, “has a commitment to himself, to his dignity, to his honor and his major commitment is with the Venezuelan people.”
Benjamin, who had the opportunity to visit the special envoy in the Miami federal prison recently, commented on her impressions during the most recent webinar of Hands Off Venezuela, organized by the Venezuela Solidarity Campaign of the Fire This Time Movement of Canada.
Medea Benjamin highlighted that Saab remains “firm, with his head held high,” and that he has not let himself be bowed down by the offers of the US authorities: “they are with the carrot offering him a big house in Miami, where he can bring his family, be in the arms of their loved ones” to which the Venezuelan diplomat has refused.
She also recounted Saab’s tears when talking about his wife Camilla’s strength to keep the family together in the midst of the “blackmail that is done to his relatives, his sisters, his wife, and his wife’s family.”
Hope in a swap
The activist pointed out that Alex Saab has no hope for US justice due to its political bias, and “he said he hoped for a prisoner exchange, that is our hope and we are working on this.”
The CODEPINK spokesperson noted that Alex Saab “has not been able to achieve a fair hearing either, in Miami the judge (Robert Scola) has shown to be very partial in his ruling that says that he is not a diplomat.”
Benjamin added that the diplomat “does not believe he will get a fair trial with the jury either. Miami is the worst place in the US to face the criminal justice system. Guaidó teaches at a university in Miami, precisely where Alex Saab, who tried to feed [the Venezuelan] people, is behind bars,” she reflected.
No medical care
Alex Saab was seen by a doctor only in June of this year, who told him “that he has high blood pressure and to put his legs up, that is the type of doctor he has had.
“As we all know, he is a cancer survivor and has diabetes, he should receive medication, which is not provided. He has tried to get a private doctor but he has not been able to do so.”
However, despite the torture and human rights violations, Saab has shown his joy at the gradual economic recovery of Venezuela in the midst of the illegal US sanctions: “he was able to know that food production has increased, that inflation has subsided, [that it] is reducing.”
Trophy for the US
Anahí Arizmendi, a well know Venezuelan journalist and spokesperson for the Unamujer Bicentennial Front, highlighted during the webinar the work of Alex Saab at times when Venezuela was subjected to unilateral coercive measures (sanctions). “Alex Saab has also defended the model of social inclusion that has allowed us to confront this criminal war.”
Arizmendi added that, due to his work to bring food, medicine, vaccines and fuel to the Venezuelan people, “Alex Saab is a trophy of the US government that judges him and kidnaps him to pressure and serve as an example for others who want to help the country.”