Marco Rubio condemns release of Alex Saab: "It will encourage the tyrants"

"The actions of President Biden are a disgrace," said the Cuban-American senator in a statement.

Marco Rubio condemns release of Alex Saab: "It will encourage the tyrants"

Cuban-American Senator Marco Rubio (Republican for Florida) condemned the recent decision by the Biden administration to release Colombian businessman with Venezuelan nationality Alex Saab, alleged frontman for Nicolás Maduro.

Through a statement, Marco Rubio considered that this will only “encourage tyrants of the world to continue taking Americans as hostages”.

“The actions of President Biden to reward the taking of American hostages first by lifting sanctions on the narco-regime, then releasing Maduro’s nephews and now Alex Saab are a disgrace. Saab is the architect of Maduro’s corruption and money laundering operation, a scheme that has deprived the Venezuelan people of resources. Unfortunately, this exchange only encourages dictators to kidnap more Americans,” reads the document.

Disgraceful decision by President Biden to release Alex Saab.

The administration’s policy of appeasement only emboldens narco-dictator Nicolás Maduro. — Senator Marco Rubio (@SenMarcoRubio) December 20, 2023

Additionally, he pointed out that “an approach of only granting concessions to a narco-dictator, whose only aspiration is to maintain his illegal control in power, is doomed to fail and weakens the foreign policy of the United States.”

The release of Alex Saab, in exchange for Maduro’s freeing a dozen American citizens who remain imprisoned in Venezuela, as well as another 20 Venezuelans linked to the opposition who have been in prison for some time, was made public this Wednesday.

Saab was arrested in Cape Verde in June 2020 and later extradited to Florida, where he would face trial for alleged money laundering related to the Venezuelan regime.

In 2019, the U.S. Department of the Treasury added him to its blacklist, along with partners and relatives, for his alleged involvement in a corruption scheme. In addition, charges for money laundering were filed against him in Colombia that same year, and since 2018 he has been a fugitive from justice in his home country. Investigations have also been conducted into his business dealings in Mexico.

In recent months, the United States has pressed the regime of Nicolás Maduro to end the political crisis in the oil-rich country. As part of those negotiations, Washington temporarily lifted sanctions on oil and other important Venezuelan resources. In response to that measure, Maduro released several political prisoners, including journalist Roland Carreño, Marco Garcés, Eurinel Rincón, and Mariana Barreto.