The Venezuelan government walked out of negotiations with the opposition following on the extradition of Colombian businessman Alex Saab from Cape Verde to the United States where he faces trial on money laundering and corruption.
The talks which are being held in Mexico where scheduled to continue on Sunday, but the head of the Venezuelan government Jorge Rodriguez anticipated they would not attend because of the extradition of Saab, whom Venezuela had appointed as part of the negotiations team.
Saab was arrested in June 2020 on request from the US when he called in Cape Verde, an ex Portuguese colony in Africa to refuel his jet. US has accused the Colombian businessman who also has documents from Venezuela and from a British commonwealth island in the Caribbean, of a bribery scheme to launder US dollars and for corruption linked to a network that milked funds from an emergency food program in support of the Venezuelan people.
Venezuela is on the list of failed states and the once oil rich country now has almost 90% of its population suffering extreme poverty.
The Venezuelan government and its dictator Nicolas Maduro said the suspension of negotiations with the opposition led by Juan Guaidó was an expression of deep protest against the brutal aggression against the person and investiture of our delegate, Alex Saab Moran
Venezuela, in a Twitter post by the Ministry of Communications, denounced the extradition as a kidnapping. Saab's lawyers have called US charges as politically motivated.
In effect when the arrest of Saab in Cape Verde, the Maduro administration first argued he had Venezuelan diplomatic status and thus was entitled to safe conduct. When this failed Saab was appointed as part of the negotiating delegation in Mexico, and a team of international team of lawyers was contracted by the Venezuela government.
A US Department of Justice spokesperson confirmed on Saturday the extradition and said Saab's initial court appearance will take place on Monday in Miami at the US District Court for the Southern District of Florida
The Venezuelan chavista government fears that Saab might reveal the financial workings of the Maduro dictatorship, including the sale of oil and precious metals and the corresponding money laundering.