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Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro in Caracas, Venezuela, in June. Photo: Gaby Oraa/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A key ally of Venezuela's President Nicolás Maduro was extradited from Cape Verde to the U.S. on Saturday to face money laundering charges in Florida, Bloomberg first reported.

Why it matters: Venezuela's government called off negotiations with opposition officials that were scheduled for Sunday in Mexico in response to the extradition of Alex Saab, a Colombian businessman and financial fixer for Maduro. Security forces placed six U.S. oil executives under house arrest hours later, per AP.

  • If Saab were to cooperate with American officials, it could potentially help them untangle the president's "economic web" and charge other Venezuelan government allies, the New York Times notes.

The big picture: The U.S. Department of Justice indicted Saab in 2019 in connection with a $350 million illegal bribery scheme the DOJ said involved a Venezuelan government housing project. Saab denies the charge.

  • Law enforcement officials detained Saab in Cape Verde in June last year after his plane stopped to refuel in the West African island nation, Reuters reports.

What they're saying: His lawyers have said that as Saab is Venezuela's envoy to Iran, he shouldn't have been arrested, Bloomberg notes. They claim he was extradited without his legal team being informed about it, according to the NYT.

  • Maduro's regime condemned Saab's extradition in a statement calling his arrest a "grave human rights violation." It accused the United Nations and several countries of plotting against the Venezuelan government.

Of note: Freddy Guevara, one of the delegates for the Venezuelan opposition, announced Saturday that he wouldn’t be traveling to Mexico because of health complications.

Editor's note: This article has been updated to include details of the oil executive's detention.

Go deeper

Australia joins U.S. in diplomatic boycott of Beijing Winter Olympics

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison. Photo: Darrian Traynor/Getty Images

Australia is joining the U.S. in a diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic Games in protest of human rights abuses committed by China's government, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Wednesday.

Driving the news: After the Biden administration's announcement that U.S. officials won't attend the Games due to the ongoing genocide of Uighurs and other Muslim minorities in the Xinjiang region of China, Morrison said at a Sydney briefing that Australia would follow suit as "it's the right thing to do."

Progressives to file resolution to strip Boebert's committee seats

Rep. Lauren Boebert walking through the Senate side of the U.S. Capitol earlier this month. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

House progressives are planning to introduce a resolution on Wednesday to strip Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) of her committee assignments, according to a Democratic aide familiar with the matter.

Why it matters: The move, which was first reported by the Washington Post, comes as progressives — anxious to see the right-wing firebrand face retribution for her recent comments — have grown frustrated by Democratic leadership's inaction on the issue.

Roger Stone won't cooperate with Jan. 6 panel

Longtime Trump confidante Roger Stone speaking in front of the Supreme Court on Jan. 5 in Washington, D.C. Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

Longtime Trump confidante Roger Stone won't cooperate with the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riot and will invoke the Fifth Amendment right not to testify, his attorney said Tuesday evening.

Why it matters: The announcement, first reported by ABC News, came hours after former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows said he wouldn't cooperate with the probe.