UPDATED:Venezuelan Diplomat, Alex Saab denied access to lawyer and family during detention in Cape Verde – Opposition Says

London, (The Southern African Times) – The leading opposition party in Cape Verde The African Party of Independence of Cape Verde during a parliamentary session challenged the ruling Party on the continued detention of Alex Saab. The opposition party cited prison conditions were not befitting of a Venezuelan Diplomat. Rui Semedo, parliamentary leader of the PAICV, accused the government of neglecting their duty of care for such a diplomat. They further alleged Alex Saab’s treatment to be worse than that of an ordinary criminal instead of one deserving a diplomat. 

Since the arrest of the Venezuelan diplomat in Cape Verde on June 2020 in connection with an Interpol Red Notice concerning money laundering. His family and legal team have had limited access to him as a  consequence of the strict conditions implemented by the Cape Verde government. 

In an interview with this reporter, International Law academic Lloyd Msipa argued: “the continued imprisonment of a diplomat of Alex’s standing within the continent sets a bad legal precedence”. Msipa urged the African Union to step in as it recognises Alex Saab’s diplomatic status and must therefore act to reign in Cape Verde, a country he suspects is acting under political pressure from the United States.

Conversely, some critics within the region argue that this may be Washington’s way to further its mission to replace President Maduro with Guaido as part of its strategy to enhance the US economic interests within the resource-rich Latin- American country. Recent comments by billionaire investor Wilbur Ross, who formerly served as US Commerce Secretary, unveiled Washington’s plan for a post-coup Venezuela. He suggested that the natural resource-rich country is to be transformed into a theme park for wealthy US investors, bursting with profit-making opportunities for US businesses. ’Socialism,’ announced Ross, will be reversed. 

Such comments add to the suspicions that some officials within the region share. Officials at Cape Verde could not be reached to comment on the suspicions at the time of publication. 

In a written interview on January 8, the Venezuelan diplomat says he is “innocent” of the U.S. accusations, calling it “ridiculous” that he is pointed out as a frontman for Nicolás Maduro.

“I can say categorically: yes, I am innocent,” Alex Saab stated.

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