Miami, FL – An important hearing takes place on Monday, December 12 in the case of Venezuelan diplomat Alex Saab. With solidarity activists planning to protest outside the Federal Court building in Miami chanting, “Free Alex Saab,” inside a judge will hear arguments from Saab’s defense that should force him to be set free.
Saab’s defense will assert his status as a Special Envoy to the President of Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro. As a special envoy of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, he is immune to prosecution by the U.S. government.
“The U.S. is singling out Alex Saab for punishment because he is key to bypassing the illegal U.S. sanctions placed upon Venezuela,” says Cassia Laham of the Free Alex Saab Committee. “This kidnapping of a diplomat comes after multiple illegal attempts by the United States at coup d’états and regime change against the Venezuelan government.”
All the U.S. maneuvers against Venezuela have failed so far. In 2002, popularly elected President Hugo Chavez reversed the U.S. backed coup. Later that year, Chavez defeated a management lockout of the oil industry by firing 18,000 managers and bosses. The current president of Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro, defeated another U.S. backed coup on April 30, 2019. Then in 2020 Maduro foiled a U.S. mercenary-led invasion force who were captured by people’s militias before they even hit the beach.
“Alex Saab has done nothing wrong. He certainly does not belong in a U.S. jail,” said Tom Burke, with the Committee to Stop FBI Repression. “He’s a special envoy who made trade deals for food, medicine, technology, and other things that benefit the Venezuelan people. It is U.S. sanctions that need to be on trial. U.S. sanctions are illegal, an act of war.”
Alex Saab was illegally imprisoned in the Republic of Cabo Verde at the directive of the United States on June 12, 2020. Then he was illegally renditioned to Miami from Cabo Verde, despite there being no extradition treaty, on October 16, 2021.
Under the Vienna Convention, a credentialed diplomat such as Saab has absolute immunity from arrest, even in a time of war. Saab has also appealed to the US 11th Circuit Court based on his diplomatic status.
Laham says, “It is now over 300 days since Alex Saab was first jailed by the United States. The U.S. is now negotiating for Venezuelan oil and needs to end the sanctions, war, and aggression against Venezuela. They need to respect Venezuela and reestablish normal ties.”
Burke and Laham will join other solidarity activists and rally to “Free Alex Saab!” on Monday, December 12 at 8 a.m., Wilkie D. Ferguson Jr. U.S. Courthouse, 400 N Miami Avenue, Miami, Florida.
There is also a protest to “Free Alex Saab!” in New York City at the United Nations, 46th Street and First Avenue, at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, December 9.
Then a large Milwaukee coalition hosts a Human Rights Day program at 4 p.m., Saturday December 10, at 2319 East Kenwood Boulevard that includes the movie, Alex Saab: A Kidnapped Diplomat.
As well, there will be a Detroit protest demanding “Free Alex Saab!” at the Rosa Parks Federal Building in at 6 p.m., 333 Mount Elliott Street, on Monday, December 12.