Thursday, May 26

Alex Saab appears before the US justice for the first time


Handcuffed and with the orange outfit that characterizes the prisoners in this country, the front man of Nicolás Maduro has appeared before the Court of the Southern District of Florida electronically

Camila Fabri, Saab's wife, at a demonstration in support of her.
Camila Fabri, Saab’s wife, at a demonstration in support of her.M. GUTIÉRREZEFE
  • Venezuela The US puts Nicolás Maduro in check

Álex Saab, who already wears the orange outfit that characterizes certain prisoners in the United States, appeared on Monday for the first time before the judge of the Southern District Court of Florida. The false diplomat has done it telematically from jail (he is in quarantine), knowing that his life of luxury has changed for a long time, despite the millionaire court of lawyers who defend him, with former Spanish judge Baltasar Garzón to the head.

An express presentation, in which Saab has not intervened but where he has left an image for the history of Chavismo: handcuffed, with his hair that has been grown in Cape Verde, moving his legs nervously and submitted to justice in the United States. , something impossible in Venezuela today.

The hearing will continue in November, but previously the Department of Justice has specified this Monday what was the money laundering scheme that used the front man of Nicolás Maduro and the main international financial operator of Chavismo to enrich himself. The first indictment against Saab was made more than two years ago, accused of seven counts of money laundering and one of conspiracy, after the transfer of 350 million dollars, obtained with bribes, between bank accounts in the United States and Venezuela was discovered.

The Colombian magnate obtained his first benefits with the construction of social housing and, above all, with the corruption around the exchange control imposed by Hugo Chávez: they obtained dollars at ridiculous prices in bolivars, the system that enriched hundreds of revolutionaries and their partners or friends. Eventually, the main embezzlement in the shadow of the Bolivarian revolution and one of the largest in the history of mankind. Both the Parliament and different independent investigations, in addition to the complaints of two vice presidents of the “supreme commander”, estimate that between 350,000 and 500,000 million dollars have been stolen during the 21 years of Chavismo.

The revolution has made it very clear that Saab is a key player. Their reprisals have, for the time being, brought down negotiations with the opposition in Mexico, in addition to returning the directors of the Petróleos de Venezuela subsidiary with a US passport to jail.

Maduro’s express support on Sunday night, something he had avoided so far, confirmed the extent to which the extradition is a drama for the revolution and for its own leader. “They took him to a filthy, unhealthy prison, and they put him in the dark in a hole full of excrement, of rats, like the worst horror movie. And members of the US Government tortured him for long days, beating, they broke three grinding wheels, they put electricity into it for days and days, “he said about Saab’s odyssey in Cape Verde.

So dark does Maduro see the panorama that he put his friend in the hands of God, he even read a verse from Jeremiah, from Old Testament, in which the freedom of the oppressed is demanded from the oppressor “so that my anger does not go out like fire and ignite and there is no one to pay it for the evil of your deeds.”

“They wanted to force him to lie and turn him into a monster,” Maduro dramatized on the verge of tears, who for now hopes that Saab will not confess his crimes and discover the darkest businesses of the revolution. At least that is what the prisoner assured through a letter addressed to his wife, the Italian model Camilla Fabri, who traveled with her children from Moscow to Caracas to participate in a demonstration in favor of her husband that was a new public failure.

“I fully hold the US Government and the extremist opposition responsible for my integrity and my life in the prison that they take me. I will face the trial with total dignity and asserting my diplomatic immunity. I do not intend to lie to favor the US against those who are going through a inhuman blockade (Venezuela) “, the young woman read, through tears, the supposed words of her husband, with the support of a few applause and shouts of” They will not return. “

Precisely the host country of the Saab family denounced the “kidnapping” of the tycoon through a note from the Russian ambassador in Caracas, Sergei Melik-Bagdasarov, who made public his “energetic and resounding protest.”

The Chavista offensive has also caused the temporary suspension of talks in Mexico. There is no date for them to resume, not even the assurance that this will happen, although observers and opponents estimate that Chavismo will return to the table because it still maintains certain interests to be specified.

Norway, the facilitating country, also thinks so, which will continue working with the parties so that the dialogues are resumed “as soon as possible.”

The revolutionary reprisals keep the opposition leaders in Venezuela on alert, especially the circle that surrounds the president in charge, Juan Guaidó. The fear is that the regime will continue with its offensive to make Saab and his circle see that they are not abandoning him at the beginning of his judicial process.

“Mafia retaliations of Maduro, the socialism of the XXI century desperate for the secrets of a Colombian businessman,” he lashed out. Jose Miguel Vivanco, Director for the Americas of Human Rights Watch (HRW).

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