Thanks to statements by the Committee to Stop FBI Repression, it has come to our attention that a Venezuelan diplomat named Alex Saab has been kidnapped without an arrest warrant by the US government in Cabo Verde and is now held without trial or charges in Miami, Florida, first by the administration of Trump and now by the administration of Joe Biden. We as National Students for a Democratic Society oppose this act of aggression against the Venezuelan government, the Bolivarian Revolution, and the Venezuelan people, and we demand that Alex Saab be freed immediately.

He was wrongfully abducted on June 12, 2020 from an airport in Cabo Verde while on a diplomatic mission to Iran for food, medical supplies, and basic necessities. There, he was tortured and held confined in prison until he was eventually extradited to the United States despite no extradition treaty existing between Cabo Verde and the United States. He has committed no crime nor has he been accused of one; again, he was arrested without a warrant. As far as we can tell, his only crime in the eyes of the White House has been his diligent work negotiating treaties between the Russian, Iranian, and Venezuelan governments on behalf of the Venezuelan people, and no more.

The United States has for decades refused to acknowledge the legitimacy of the Venezuelan government, not their elections of Hugo Chavez nor of Nicolas Maduro, nor their right to economic and political sovereignty. Trump made this perfectly clear when he denounced the Venezuelan people’s democratically elected president, Nicolas Maduro, and pronounced the opposition leader, Juan Guaido, as the president instead. So did the multiple coups initiated by the US government across presidents on both sides.The U.S. government attempts to delegitimize Venezuela with blockades and sanctions in order to starve the Venezuelan people, to sabotage the government’s attempts to provide mass housing, groceries, education, and health care to the poor, and to force a regime change that would kill millions. The White House did not ease sanctions, blockades and attempted coups in the face of COVID-19; in fact, it doubled down, seeing the pandemic as an opportunity to weaken the Venezuelan government.

Now that the Venezuelan government has a diplomat who could successfully negotiate better terms and find a solution to the blockade, the US government could not let Maduro’s government succeed; they decided to intervene. If any other country had done the same to the US government, arrested and disappeared a leading diplomat to Russia or Iran, this would be viewed as an act of war. We as National SDS view this the same way.

SDS condemns the imprisonment of Alex Saab, his upcoming trial, and any further acts of aggression against the Venezuelan government. We support the right to economic, political, and social independence exercised by the Venezuelan people. Whether Saab is tried in early January or later, in Miami or some other corner of the US, we will attend and promote all efforts to set Alex Saab free.

Free Alex Saab! End the sanctions! Stop the coups! No more U.S. intervention against Venezuela! Self Determination for the government and people of Venezuela! Viva la Venezuela!