Venezuela & ALBA News 12.23.2022: Senates Vote to Tighten Venezuela Blockade; Alex Saab Hearing Ends, Cuba and Nicaragua Statements

Legal Hearing of Political Prisoner Diplomat Alex Saab
COHA (Dan Kovalik): Saab Oral Argument Focuses on Legitimacy of Maduro Government It appears that Judge Scola is focusing in on the implications of the U.S. refusal, as of 2019, to recognize Nicolás Maduro as the President of Venezuela for Alex Saab’s diplomatic status, and whether this therefore invalidates the diplomatic status of Alex Saab. His defense argued: let’s assume that another country did in fact refuse to recognize Joe Biden as President of the United States, would this mean that all U.S. diplomatic staff would lose their diplomatic status and immunity? Surely, the answer would have to be “no” lest total chaos in international relations ensue. At the heart of this case is the question of whether the U.S. can simply decide on its own to recognize or not recognize the duly-elected officials of other countries and the diplomats duly appointed by those countries’ institutions, even while dealing with those institutions and diplomats when it suits its interests. Such conduct meets the very definition of lawlessness.

Stansfield Smith: Day 3: Closing Arguments in Legal Hearing Concerning US Political Prisoner Alex Saab’s Diplomatic Status (here for Day 1, Day 2) The Saab defense clearly made the case that Saab is a Venezuela diplomat. The prosecution summed up for the judge four possible avenues by which he could find Saab has no diplomatic immunity:1) Members of the “Maduro regime” have no protections in the US because the US declares Juan Guaido to be president of Venezuela; 2) The Vienna Convention on diplomatic immunity does not apply to Alex Saab because it applies to permanent diplomats, which Saab is not; 3) The judge could follow Active State Doctrine, which says that a nation is sovereign within its own borders, and its domestic actions may not be questioned in the courts of another nation. Cabo Verde initially arrested Saab and its courts did not recognize his diplomatic immunity, so the judge can follow that precedent; 4) The court can rule that since the US has not signed the UN Special Missions Convention (for Special Envoys), it has no legitimacy in US courts. How will the judge decide? Possibly it is mere coincidence that on Friday, December 16, just before the judge in the Saab case is to render a decision, the US Senate – unanimously – approved the “Bolivar Act”.


Orinoco Tribune: Venezuela Fiercely Rejects US Senate’s Unanimous Passing of BOLIVAR Act “The regulations prohibit federal agencies from doing business with anyone who supports the oppressive Maduro regime,” reported the official website of Scott, who was one of the primary promoters of the law. On Saturday, via a statement, the Venezuelan government spoke out fiercely in response, condemning this new aggression by the United States and indicating that the proposal seeks to make the policy of illegal sanctions against the Venezuelan people irreversible: “This abusive measure demonstrates, once again, the cruelty of ultra-conservative sectors and coup leaders in US politics that repeat their attempt to overthrow the Venezuelan government and sabotage any possible route to dialogue and constructive relations between the two countries.”

Orinoco Tribune: Final Blow for Guaidó: Venezuelan Far-Right Opposition Eliminates ‘Interim Government’ Wednesday, December 21, a press conference of Justice First (Primero Justicia, or PJ), Democratic Action (Acción Democrática, or AD) and A New Era (Un Nuevo Tiempo, or UNT) parties, all belonging to the far right opposition bloc,  proposed the elimination of everything related to the so-called Juan Guaido “interim government” in 2023.

Ultima Noticias: Venezuela’s Great Housing Mission Reaches 4.3-Million-Home Milestone “The figure that we are achieving is enormous, so much so that the international media are going to publish it. You have to see the path traveled and the path to be followed. We have done it with criminal sanctions,” Maduro said, noting that such an achievement was worthy of a world record.


Granma: Cuban President Díaz-Canel Bermúdez Speech at the National Assembly of People’s Power: 2023 will be a year of struggle and hopes I have always recognized that, of all the blocs that exist in the world, ALBA was the regional integration bloc that most quickly showed concrete results of benefits for its peoples. Transnational corporations have not ceased to plunder the region’s resources and increase their profit margins, while energy and food prices have risen. While the region is returning to the paths of social justice and integration, the United States is reactivating the Monroe Doctrine, which is about to celebrate 200 years since its proclamation. Its postulates, which have served to justify invasions, coups d’état and economic pressures on countries during various periods, now seek to limit sovereignty and, as usual, impose dominion over our destinies.We reiterate once again our most resolute support for President Nicolás Maduro Moros and the civil-military union he leads. The perseverance, dignity and courage of the Venezuelan people in the face of the continuous attacks against them will go down in history as another example that it is possible to overcome challenges and obstacles

Friends of Socialist China: Miguel Diaz-Canel: “President Xi Jinping is my role model” Mentioning that he is an enthusiastic reader of Xi’s speeches and writings – which he considers to be a reference point in the development of socialist theory and practice – he also notes the character traits that contribute to Xi’s leadership style. He describes Xi as “a profound thinker… austere, modest, but also demanding”. Xi Jinping “has the virtue of always thinking about the wellbeing of his people.”


Hood Communist: I Witnessed the Truth about Nicaragua An excellent report on the accomplishments of the Sandinista revolution and the role the people are playing in building a new society.

TortillaconSal: Nicaragua’s message in the 3rd Teheran Dialogue Forum A statement of the FSLN government of its political analysis of the present world situation.


Thursdays: WTF is Going on in Latin America & The Caribbean with Teri Mattson (or watch here or here)
January 28:  Latin America Conference, London


Travel to Cuba with Witness for Peace
March 2-12: Venezuela: 10 years commemorating Chávez’s Legacy
March 11-19: Nicaragua Coffee and Cooperatives Brigade


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