Spanish – Bribes, torture simulation, escape attempts. These are just some of the maneuvers of Nicolas Maduro’s frontman, Colombian businessman Alex Saab, to avoid his extradition to the United States. So far, all these tactics have hit a retaining wall within the executive and the justice system of Cape Verde. But everything indicates that it has been another deterrent of greater weight: a powerful warship deployed by Washington off the coast of the African country where Saab is detained.
The US Navy’s USS San Jacinto missile cruiser was sent to Cape Verde in early November to prevent any maneuvers by the Venezuelan regime and Iran to free Alex Saab, the New York Times reported on Tuesday.
President Donald Trump’s administration has been considering using US military power since Saab’s arrest in Cape Verde on June 12. However, it did not have the endorsement of then-Defense Secretary Mark Esper, who believed that this represented a “misuse” of the country’s military forces. But the story changed as soon as Trump fired Esper. The new Secretary of Defense, Christopher Miller, immediately approved the military deployment, the New York Times reports.
According to the information, the US special envoy for Venezuela and Iran, Elliott Abrams, assured that the vessel was sent to Cape Verde to dissuade any attempt by the Venezuelan and Iranian regimes to deploy any operation in support of Saab in Cape Verde.
The defense, led by former Spanish judge Baltazar Garzón, has tried multiple strategies to try to avoid extradition. The Colombian businessman denounced alleged torture by US officials, which was denied by Washington and Cape Verde. The African country’s Prosecutor’s Office indicated that there were indications that Saab was self-mutilating.
Alex Saab also attempted to bribe the African country’s authorities with a letter offering, on behalf of Venezuela, to help Cape Verde more than the United States could do. “What is the use of tarnishing the independence of the country by submitting to the dictates of the United States,” insisted Saab.
The most serious was an alleged escape attempt. The PanAm Post published exclusive information regarding two Cape Verdeans who traveled to Caracas and made a stopover in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, the same place where a Venezuelan plane with a shipment of weapons was headed in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The seizure took place on August 15. Four days later, the meeting between the two Cape Verdeans and the Venezuelan regime took place in Caracas.
Despite the frustrated attempts of escape and bribery, the extradition process continues. Both the Cape Verdean executive and the Court of Appeals handling the case in that country have already approved the extradition.
A key piece against the Chavista regime
Saab has been detained in Cape Verde since June 12 when the plane in which it was traveling stopped to refuel. The United States accuses him of money laundering and corruption in the supply of food at a premium to Nicolás Maduro’s regime.
Nicolás Maduro’s frontman is a key figure in the investigation being carried out by the US justice system against the leadership of the Chavista dictatorship. The New York Times article stresses that if Saab cooperates with the United States, it could help “unravel Maduro’s economic support network” as well as the possibility of “bringing charges against other allies of the Venezuelan regime.”
According to the newspaper, the USS San Jacinto was ordered to return to the port from which it departed, in the state of Virginia, so that the 393 crew members could spend Christmas and New Year with their families. For the moment, it has not been decided if Washington will send another ship after the holidays.