Connecticut Post (Sunday)

Venezuela halts talks after Maduro ally extradited to U.S.


MIAMI — Venezuela’s government said Saturday it would halt negotiatio­ns with the country’s opposition in retaliatio­n for the extraditio­n the U.S. of a close ally of President Nicolas Maduro wanted on money laundering charges.

Jorge Rodriguez, who has been heading the government’s delegation in talks that started in August, said his team wouldn’t travel to Mexico City for the next scheduled round of talks, although he stopped short of saying the government was abandoning the talks altogether.

The announceme­nt came hours after businessma­n Alex Saab was put on a U.S.bound plane in Cape Verde after failing in a 16-month fight to prevent his extraditio­n to the U.S. to face money laundering charges in Miami. Saab was arrested in the African archipelag­o while making a stop on the way to Iran for what Maduro’s government later described as a diplomatic humanitari­an mission.

Rodriguez, standing in front of a giant sign reading “Free Alex Saab,” called his arrest an illegal “aggression” by the U.S., which has been pushing for years for Maduro’s removal.

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