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New Orleans rallies for Venezuela: “Free Alex Saab! End the killer sanctions now!”

By staff

Protesters gather at Armstrong Park before taking the streets.

New Orleans, LA – On March 11, protesters took to the streets to demand the release of Venezuelan diplomat and political prisoner Alex Saab. The march began at Armstrong Park, where activist Simon Miscenich of the Freedom Road Socialist Organization spoke on the details of Alex Saab’s kidnapping and impending trial.

The U.S. ordered Saab’s illegal imprisonment in Cabo Verde in June 2020. He was on his way to Iran, where he would negotiate access to food, medicine and other vital goods, which U.S. trade sanctions bar Venezuelans from accessing. Saab was extradited to the U.S. in October 2021, and he still awaits trial in Miami, Florida to face false charges of “money laundering” – a charge the U.S. frequently asserts against political foes. March 9, 2023 marked 1000 days since Saab’s unjust imprisonment.

After hearing details of Saab’s case, activists took to the street and marched several blocks. They held a lane of traffic and chanted alongside cars, “One, two three, four! We won’t pay for sanction war!” and “Free, free Alex Saab!”

Finally, the group gathered in front of a monument of Simon Bolivar on Canal Street, which was gifted to New Orleans by Venezuela in 1957. Antonia Mar, another member of FRSO, connected the kidnapping of Alex Saab and the strangling sanctions on Venezuela to a long history of U.S. imperialism in Latin America. The U.S. has historically attempted to bend the continent to its own will for economic gain, but Mar stated, “The Venezuelan government refuses to be subservient to U.S. hegemony, refuses to be victimized by the U.S.’s attempts to gain control over the country.”

The march concluded with several chants calling to “Free Alex Saab!” and “End the killer sanctions now!”

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