Free Alex Saab Campaign in New York and Chicago Puerto Rico People’s Parade, June 11-12, 2022

Oscar Lopez Rivera leading the Chicago Free Alex Saab contingent at Puerto Rico Peoples Parade

New York Puerto Rican Day Parade demand release of Venezuelan diplomat Alex Saab

New York Free Alex Saab contingent

The Free Alex Saab Movement of New York raised its voice against the aggressions of the United States against the diplomat and the people of Venezuela.  The Free Alex Saab Movement of New York participated in the new convocation of the Puerto Rican National Day Parade where the voice was raised against the aggressions of the US towards the diplomat and the people of Venezuela. Puerto Rican Day Parade is one of the largest Latino celebrations in the United States and in this 65th annual parade served as a stage for reflection and debate on the US interference policy on the peoples of America and the world.

Members of the Boricua Independence Front, a coalition of organizations and social and political movements in New York in favor of the independence of Puerto Rico, demanded the immediate release of Saab, in addition to extending a message that promotes the independence and sovereignty of nations. Alex Saab is the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela’s Special Envoy to Iran who was on a mission to supply food, medical supplies and fuel at the time of his illegal detention on the island of Sal in Cape Verde.

The contingent demanded the decolonization of Puerto Rico and an end to the subjugation and exploitation by U.S. forces of the peoples of the island and throughout the Caribbean. The NY-NJ Cuba Sí Coalition, which advocates for stopping the deadly U.S. economic blockade on Cuba, joined the contingent, as all chanted, “Puerto Rico, Cuba, somos una sola!” (“Puerto Rico, Cuba, We are one!”)

Despite attempts by police and corporate sponsors to divide the anti-imperialist contingent, activists waved the Grito de Lares, Cuban, Nicaraguan and Venezuelan flags to cheers from the crowd. Many spectators put their fists up in the air or gave a thumbs-up to show support for Puerto Rican independence and the other anti-imperialist struggles represented.

The Puerto Rican independence movement holds that the struggles for Venezuelan, Cuban and Nicaraguan sovereignty are connected to their own struggle resisting U.S. imperialism. Because of this, the Puerto Rican independence fighter Oscar López Rivera has taken up the cause of Alex Saab, being the honorary chair of the Free Alex Saab US Campaign.

June 12 marked two years since the kidnapping of Venezuelan diplomat Alex Saab, while on a humanitarian mission to Iran to try to alleviate the effects of the U.S. economic warfare and sanctions against Venezuela. 

While traveling to negotiate a deal for Venezuela to receive more fuel, food and medical supplies, Saab — an accredited diplomat protected under the Vienna Convention — was abducted, on orders from the US, in Cape Verde without an arrest warrant or Interpol alert and was taken to the US in October 2021. This is a flagrant violation of Venezuela’s sovereignty much like how the US continues to violate Puerto Rico’s sovereignty to this very day, holding the island captive as a colony.

Cape Verdean authorities had kept him arbitrarily imprisoned for 491 days without due process, in violation of the laws of Cape Verde. During that time, Saab experienced torture. Alex Saab’s abduction is an attack on Venezuela’s sovereignty and a blatant violation of human rights and international law.

Despite attempts by the parade’s corporate sponsors to suppress and divide the independence contingent, the Independentistas stood strong and took the tough stance of standing with countries that the US has demonized for decades, such as Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua. The response to these sentiments from the crowd was surprisingly positive, with many putting their fists up in the air or giving a thumbs up to show support for anti-imperialism and Puerto Rican independence. Overall, the parade was a success, with many people learning about the case of Alex Saab who had not known his name prior.

Desde “Puerto Rican Day Parade” demandan liberación del diplomático venezolano Alex Saab

CPI at the NY Puerto Rican Parade Puerto Rican Day/ Anti-imperialists march to end U.S. crimes

Free Alex Saab Campaign in the Chicago Puerto Rico People’s Parade

Defenders of imprisoned Venezuelan diplomat participated in the Chicago Puerto Rican People’s Parade Saturday June 11. The Free Alex Saab contingent of 30 people included Oscar Lopez Rivera, Honorary Chair of the Free Alex Saab Campaign.  

Our Free Alex Saab contingent was near the front of the parade. We carried our Free Alex Saab banner, which read “Free Alex Saab, Venezuelan diplomat kidnapped and imprisoned by the US Government.”

About 15 of us from the Chicago Free Alex Saab Committee handed out 500 bilingual flyers containing the statement of Oscar Lopez Rivera on the Alex Saab case, in English and Spanish. We could have easily distributed a few thousand more.

Oscar Lopez Rivera, despite being 79 years old, and unjustly imprisoned for 36 years, marched the entire parade route. Besides being a historic figure defending the national rights of Puerto Rico, Oscar is an impressively friendly and humble person.

People from organizations who participated, besides those of us in the Free Alex Saab Committee, include Party for Socialism and Liberation, Chicago Committee Against War and Racism, Chicago Antiwar Coalition, Center for Political Innovation, Emma Lozano’s Lincoln United Methodist Church, and Southsiders for Peace. 

This was the third and most productive outreach event we have organized in Chicago around the political prisoner case of Alex Saab. 

Campaña Free Alex Saab en el Chicago Puerto Rico People’s Parade

Los defensores del diplomático venezolano encarcelado participaron en el Desfile del Pueblo Puertorriqueño de Chicago el sábado 11 de junio. El contingente de Free Alex Saab de 30 personas incluyó a Oscar López Rivera, Presidente Honorario de la Campaña Free Alex Saab.

Nuestro contingente de Free Alex Saab estaba cerca del frente del desfile. Llevábamos nuestra pancarta “Free Alex Saab”, en la que se podía leer “Free Alex Saab, Venezuelan diplomat kidnapped and imprisoned by the US Government”.

Unos 15 miembros del Comité Chicago Free Alex Saab repartimos 500 folletos bilingües con la declaración de Oscar López Rivera sobre el caso de Alex Saab, en inglés y en español. Podríamos haber distribuido fácilmente unos cuantos miles más.

Oscar López Rivera, a pesar de tener 79 años, y estar injustamente encarcelado durante 36 años, marchó durante todo el recorrido del desfile. Además de ser una figura histórica que defiende los derechos nacionales de Puerto Rico, Oscar es una persona impresionantemente amable y humilde.

Entre las organizaciones que participaron, además de los que formamos parte del Comité por la Libertad de Alex Saab, se encuentran el Partido por el Socialismo y la Liberación, el Comité de Chicago contra la Guerra y el Racismo, la Coalición Antiguerra de Chicago, el Centro para la Innovación Política, la Iglesia Metodista Unida Lincoln de Emma Lozano y Southsiders for Peace.

Este fue el tercer y más productivo evento de divulgación que hemos organizado en Chicago en torno al caso del preso político Alex Saab.

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