Venezuela & ALBA News 12.22.2023: Victory for Venezuela – Alex Saab is free; President Maduro’s speech; How the Campaign to Free Alex Saab Succeeded

Roger Harris: How the Campaign to Free Venezuelan Political Prisoner Alex Saab Succeeded The saga of Alex Saab and his ultimate emancipation is similar to the campaign to free the Cuban 5. Like the Free the Cuban 5 campaign, the FreeAlexSaab campaign rested on four legs: the remarkable resoluteness of Alex Saab himself, the mobilization of the entire Venezuelan nation on his behalf, an international movement, and the support and involvement of his family. Alex Saab’s resoluteness was exemplary. Unlike many prisoners, Saab had a get-out-of-jail-free card that he could have played if he had chosen to do so.

President Maduro’s speech welcoming freed Alex Saab to Venezuela “Neither hate, nor fascism, nor revenge, nor violence, nor persecution could win today, nor will it ever be able to win against us. Because we are made of steel. We have been forged in the hard struggle of the centuries. We are made of centuries of struggles…They raised a powerful global movement of solidarity. The global movement of solidarity that arose in all the countries of the world was impressive, including in the United States, because there even in Florida, in Miami, where he was kidnapped, Alex, the solidarity movements reached there. A powerful cry arose, “Free Alex Saab!”…Standing with our own independent model, we will be no one’s sovereign colony. We will never subordinate to anyone. We are proud Bolivarians, dignified rebels.”

Alex Saab: This is a historic moment in which Venezuela imposed dialogue again “This is a historic moment in which Venezuela once again imposed as the only way, the option of dialogue that bears more fruit than hatred,” Saab said. Saab referred to the unilateral coercive measures against the country, which “have served to enrich some useless former political ghosts who fed on the suffering of Venezuela,” which is why, he assured, “reconciliation is inevitable … Venezuela is a great country. It is a country that adopted me as a son, where my sons and daughters are growing up. It is a country that I love infinitely and I am infinitely grateful to it.”

TelSur: Personalities Congratulate Release of Venezuelan Diplomat Saab The voices of joy for Saab’s release included Stella Assange, the wife of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.  Vice President Delcy Rodriguez affirmed that Bolivarian diplomacy had a “decisive triumph” with Saab’s release. Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez stated that the release of Saab is “the result of the tireless efforts of the Venezuelan government that ends with his unjust detention.” After learning about Saab’s release, Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega also emphasized the work done by Saab for the benefit of the Venezuelan people. Iran’s Ambassador to Venezuela, Hojat Soltani: “our comrade Ambassador Alex Saab has returned to the arms of his family and his homeland.” “Finally, after more than three years of kidnapping, Alex Saab is free in Venezuela. It has been 1,286 days of torture and separation from his family, sick and without access to necessary medical treatment,” said Member of the European Parliament Manu Pineda. Spanish journalist Ignacio Ramonet stated Saab’s release was a “great victory for President Nicolas Maduro’s diplomacy.”

Orinoco Tribune: Venezuela Brings Home Alex Saab in Exchange for Releasing Convicted US Mercenaries Alex Saab’s arrival to Venezuela was broadcast live in Venezuela. Venezuela released a total of 21 prisoners linked to the opposition; including eight US citizens. Among the freed US citizens were Luke Alexander Denman and Airan Berry, mercenaries who were serving 20-year sentences for a failed 2020 attempt to overthrow President Maduro. President Maduro noted an agreement for freeing Alex Saab was reached during the last months of President Trump, but the end of his term destroyed the negotiation and the process had to be resumed from scratch once Joe Biden took office.

Ultimas Noticias: National Assembly President Jorge Rodríguez: Crimes against humanity were committed against Alex Saab Three of Alex Saab’s teeth were kicked out and towels were placed in his mouth to cause suffocation; the evidence of such events is being collected and will be brought to public light. “The psychotics of the Venezuelan and American extreme right gloated, as if mistreatment were something praiseworthy for them, they enjoyed every time they referred to our kidnapped diplomat…We had to go all over the world to get the food that the lackey governments of the United States were not selling to us.” He added that in 2020 there was no fuel for a simple reason, “Elliot Abrams told me, on the Island of Bermuda, he said that we are going to pressure you so much that we will make you disappear, you don’t know everything we can do against you…We are going to starve them, we are not going to allow any aircraft to fly over Venezuela, we are not going to allow even a single liter of fuel to arrive.”

Ultimas Noticias: Alex Saab and Camilla Fabri appointed plenipotentiary members of the Mexican dialogue table The coordinator of the Venezuela delegation, Jorge Rodríguez, announced that Alex Saab and Camilla Fabri de Saab are joining as plenipotentiary members of the Mexican dialogue table with the opposition. “I inform that by instruction of the President of the Republic, Nicolás Maduro, Alex Saab joins as a plenipotentiary member of the Mexican dialogue table, and we have made the decision to maintain Camila Fabri de Saab who has had a very outstanding performance, especially at the social tables.”

Peoples Dispatch: A Bolivarian specter haunts the Monroe Doctrine On the 200th anniversary of the Monroe Doctrine, activists and intellectuals gathered in Caracas to “build an alternative to this imperialist mandate.” The Monroe doctrine was a direct response to the formation of a liberated “Gran Colombia” led by Bolivar. They were two models of republic, of continent, of humanity, which have remained opposed in the last 200 years of history. Miranda, since 1788 had promoted the idea of the independence of the Spanish-American colonies as inseparable from the idea of integration. He proposed that with independence, the creation of a unified nation, a single Spanish-American state, to be called Colombia, should be undertaken. James Monroe, by then US ambassador to France and Great Britain, warned his government about Miranda’s plans: “We cannot allow General Miranda to develop a vast nation on the American continent.”

Chávez’s Bolivarian integrationism had an anti-imperialist vision, which permeated his work of building Latin American and Caribbean alliances. When he defined the objectives of the nascent Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) in 2011, he declared that it should be “a protective shield against interference… even a defensive wall against imperial madness”. Defense Minister Padrino López said of Hugo Chávez: “He put Bolivarianism and anti-imperialism at the center of the movement of struggle against imperialism.”

Ultima Noticias: President Maduro to Guyana President Irfaan: You are opening the door to the devil A summary of the discussion between the two leaders when they met to discuss Essequibo.


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Upcoming Delegations to Nicaragua, Cuba, Venezuela

Casa Ben Linder 2024 delegations:

February 10-19: The Bird Brigade: Birding in Solentiname Arquipelago
March 2-10: Sindicatos & Solidaridad: Labor Movements in Nicaragua. Meet with unions and labor activists in all sectors from teachers to motorcycle taxis; Tour new hospitals & maternal wait homes with health care workers unions; Visit unionized street vendors at work; a free trade zone factory & meet with unionized workers; low-income housing projects; a women’s coffee co-op; a women’s police station.
July 9-21: Solidarity in Action: Celebrating 45 Years of Revolution in Nicaragua
November 8-17: Salud & Solidaridad: Hands-On Healthcare in Nicaragua 

April 9-19: Venezuela: Celebrating Popular Sovereignty and Power

April 25- May 4/ or May 8: Celebrating Labor and May Day in Cuba

Cuba April 27 – May 11 Che Guevara Work Brigade

Cuba: Upcoming delegations and trips to Cuba: IFCO/Pastors for Peace 32nd Friendshipment Brigade; Venceremos Brigade; International May Day Brigade

June 14-23 Witness for Peace: Cuba Art and Revolution


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