In Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro suspends negotiations with the opposition

Arrested in June 2020 in Cape Verde, where his private plane was stopping, Colombo-Venezuelan businessman Alex Saab, 49, was extradited on Saturday to the United States. He will be tried there for money laundering. Nicolas Maduro’s government denounced ” pick up ” of his close collaborator and announced, in response, the suspension of the political dialogue initiated two months ago with the opposition.

Mr. Saab is scheduled to appear Monday, October 18 for a first hearing in federal court in Miami. He is accused of having embezzled some 350 million dollars (or about 300 million euros) on foreign accounts.

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“In order to express our deep disagreement with the brutal aggression against the person and the investiture of our delegate Alex Saab, we will not attend the new round of negotiations which was to begin on October 17 in Mexico”, said on Saturday the head of the government delegation Jorge Rodriguez, without specify whether the suspension of dialogue with the opposition was temporary or permanent.

These talks (which are being held under the auspices of the Norwegian government) led the opposition to agree to participate in the local elections on November 21. Mr. Maduro seeks, him, to obtain the lifting of the American sanctions which burden the economy of his country, devastated by an unprecedented recession.

In Mexico City, opponent Gerardo Blyde urged the government on Sunday to return to the negotiating table to try to find solutions to the deep humanitarian crisis in the country. “No individual is more important than the whole people”, Mr Blyde insisted.

Became a diplomat in prison

Critics of the government hope Mr. Saab will reveal the inner workings and secrets of the phenomenal corruption that has ruined the country, as well as the identities of all its actors, in Venezuela and abroad. Some want to believe that these confessions will be right about Nicolas Maduro.

From a Lebanese family, Mr. Saab, 49, is from the Colombian town of Barranquilla. Arrived in Venezuela in the early 2010s and nationalized Venezuelan, he made a fortune by quietly winning important public contracts, notably for the importation of food and the construction of social housing.

This is the information site Armando Info who was the first to look at this shadowy figure. When, in 2017, Alex Saab sued journalist Roberto Deniz for defamation, the entire team atArmando Info takes the path of exile. Is it a coincidence? Three days before Alex Saab’s extradition, the Venezuelan prosecution opened an investigation against Roberto Deniz, who now lives in Bogota.

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