For nearly a year, Colombian businessman and Venezuelan Special Envoy Alex Saab has been imprisoned on the island nation of Cabo Verde, 400 miles off the northwestern coast of Africa in the Atlantic Ocean.
Saab is now awaiting extradition to the USA on alleged money laundering charges. While the allegations against him are hotly disputed, what is not in doubt is that the US is behind his persecution.
It is also clear that it is interested in him not because of any alleged crimes, but because he may hold the key to Venezuela’s ability to navigate the US’ deadly unilateral sanctions. In the meantime, the tiny nation of Cabo Verde is the pawn in the American imperial game.
Saab was detained June 12  when the private plane he was traveling on from Venezuela to Iran made a fuel stop on the Cape Verdean island of Sal.
What the media does not mention is that Saab’s plane was forced to land in Cabo Verde because two other nearby nations in mainland Africa, apparently under pressure from the US regime, had refused to let him land as planned.
Curiously, the USA has no extradition treaty with Cabo Verde. Moreover, while the Cabo Verde authorities have claimed that Saab was detained pursuant to a valid Interpol notice.
But a regional court in Nigeria found that the detention took place before the Interpol notice was issued, raising huge concerns about the validity of his detention and imprisonment.
On June 8, 2021, the UN Human Rights Committee also issued a decision for preliminary measures, demanding that the extradition be suspended and that Saab, who is suffering from cancer, be given the necessary medical attention, which he is currently being denied.
When arrested in Cabo Verde, Alex Saab, President Nicolas Maduro’s envoy to the African Union, was on his way to Iran to negotiate the exchange of Venezuelan gold for much-needed gasoline supplies.
Due to US sanctions, the oil-rich nation of Venezuela is unable to obtain the necessary chemicals and supplies to refine its oil into the gasoline needed to generate electricity and transport goods across the country.
In addition to gasoline, Saab was also attempting to negotiate the purchase of food, medicines, and other critical supplies that have also been made scarce due to US sanctions.
The hardening of sanctions faced by the country since 2015 undermines, the state’s capacity to maintain infrastructure and implement social projects.
Today, Venezuela faces a lack of necessary machinery, spare parts, electricity, water, fuel, gas, food, and medicine.
Venezuelan assets frozen in United States, United Kingdom and Portuguese banks amount to US$6 billion. The purchase of goods and payments by public companies is reportedly blocked or frozen.
It appears to be Saab’s very adeptness in helping Venezuela get around these sanctions – sanctions that Douhan notes are illegal under international law in order to obtain crucial humanitarian supplies that is the real reason for the US’ interest in having him detained and extradited.
While US officials claim they are doing this in response to “threats” by Venezuela to take all measures to protect Saab’s human rights, the presence of the gun ship appears calculated as much to coerce Cabo Verde as it is to prevent some rescue attempt by Venezuela or its ally Iran.
And, so, while Saab remains in indefinite lockup with untreated cancer at the insistence of the US regime, Cabo Verde itself is suffering its own bullying at the hands of the USA.
The months-long detention of Mr. Saab has stripped Mr. Maduro of an important ally and a major financial fixer at a time when fewer countries are willing or able to come to Venezuela’s aid.
If Mr. Saab cooperates with American officials, he could help untangle Mr. Maduro’s economic web of support and assist the authorities in bringing charges against other allies of the Venezuelan government.
The US’ actions in this regard are nothing but the last gasps of an empire in distress and impending collapse of the global hegemony.
RT. com / ABC Flash-Point Extortion News 2021.