The International #FreeAlexSaab Solidarity Committee emergency delegation is on its way to Cape Verde to meet with kidnapped Venezuelan ambassador, Alex Saab, who has been held in isolation in the African island nation for the past year. The US is trying to extradite the Venezuelan ambassador for the “crime” of securing food for the hungry in “violation” of the illegal US sanctions.

Leading the humanitarian delegation is Cape Verdean religious leader Bishop Felipe Teixeira, joined by Cape Verdean politician Pericles Tavares along with human rights activists Sara Flounders of International Action Center and Roger Harris of Task Force on the Americas.

The delegation to Cape Verde will evaluate the flagrant violation of diplomatic immunity and discuss the humanitarian purpose of Saab’s work of providing desperately needed food, medicine, and essential supplies to US-sanctioned Venezuela. This is the first international delegation to examine the harsh conditions Alex Saab has endured.

International solidarity campaign

The solidarity campaign has launched an international signing petition calling on US President Joseph Biden, Cape Verdean Prime Minister Ulisses Correia e Silva, and President Jorge Carlos Fonsesca to release Alex Saab and put a stop on the illegal extradition process.

Among the thousands of signers of the petition are former UN special rapporteur on human rights Alfred de Zayas, peace activist Medea Benjamin, intellectual Noam Chomsky, senior peace organizer Al Marde, historian and journalist Vijay Prashad, journalist Max Blumenthal, Joe Lombardo of United National Antiwar Coalition, Jesús Rodríguez-Espinoza of Orinoco Tribune, Paul Liem of the Korean Policy Institute, and Ajamu Baraka of the Black Alliance for Peace, and renowned attorneys in the US, Canada, and Venezuela including José Pertierra, John Philpot, and Ken Stone.

The Boston School Bus Drivers Union, USW Local 8751, with many members who originally were immigrants from Cape Verde, passed a unanimous resolution in support of Saab. William Camacaro of the Bolivarian Circle helped connect activist campaigners internationally. Thousands in Venezuela and around the world are lining up to sign the petition calling for Saab’s release.

Alex Saab case in brief

Alex Saab is being held in isolation in Cape Verde and is in a life-threatening situation. He is battling cancer, which has gone untreated during the year that he has been under arrest in the African country. He has been denied care by his oncologist. Alex Saab must be immediately released on humanitarian grounds.

Alex Saab is a lawfully appointed ambassador from Venezuela to the African Union. Arresting and holding a ambassador for any reason is a violation of international law and an insult to the African Union. He was kidnapped, held and tortured under orders from the Trump administration.

We call on President Biden to drop the demand for Alex Saab’s extradition to the US, a violation of international and Cape Verdean law due to the fact that there is no extradition agreement signed between the two countries. We call on the prime minister and the president of Cape Verde to release Saab immediately for him to return to Venezuela and receive medical treatment.

The Sanctions Kill campaign has documented the impact of the extreme sanctions on Venezuela to the US sanctions strangling 38 other countries, one-third of the world’s population. Fifteen of the sanctioned countries are in Africa. Stansfield Smith in The Grayzone article by Stansfield Smith linked Alex Saab’s extradition case for “violating” the illegal US sanctions to similar cases of North Korean Mun Chol Myong and Chinese Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou.