Dr Olavo Correia, Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Cape Verde has confirmed that the country is currently experiencing its biggest economic, financial and budgetary crisis since independence in 1975. He added, “since Cape Verde’s independence, the country has never been faced with an economic, social, financial and budgetary situation of the magnitude we are facing today.”
Despite this, Prime Minister Ulisses Correia has continued to look unconcerned and focus more on ensuring Venezuelan Diplomat Alex Saab, who faces extradition to the Uinted States, remains in illegal detention in Cape Verde.
Although, the finance minister wanted to attributed the financial crisis to COVD-19 pandemic, opposition figures insist the economy downturn has been made worse by as Prime Minister has been too busy playing geopolitics to focus on domestic matters.
The sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, suggested that in pandering to the politically motivated United States pursuit of Venezuelan diplomat Alex Saab, the Prime Minister and the Minister of the Interior, have systematically destroyed the good name of Cape Verde.
Cape Verde arrested Saab who is also Venezuela’s Deputy Ambassador to the African Union on 12 June 2020 based on a request from the United States. On 15 March 2021, the ECOWAS Court of Justice, in a unanimous decision delivered by Judge Rapporteur Justice Januaria Costa (a senior Cape Verde jurist and the country’s former Minster of Justice) ruled that Saab’s arrest and detention were illegal due to numerous violations of Cape Verde Law, that he should be freed immediately and the extradition process be terminated.
The past few months have seen the actions of Ulisses Correia and his Interior Minister resulting in Cape Verde defying three binding decisions of the ECOWAS Court and earn heavy criticism from leaders of the other 14 Members States at last month’s ECOWAS summit held in Ghana. More recently, Cape Verde has been ordered to halt Saab’s extradition by the United Nations Human Rights Committee, Geneva, while it investigates allegations of torture and denial to specialist health care which Saab, as a cancer patient, has been refused for over a year.
In the absence of economic leadership and with a Prime Minister intent on focussing doing the bidding of the United States, it is no surprise that Cape Verde’s economy contracted by 14.8 percent in 2020.
Why then is Ulisses Correia betting the welfare of the people of Cape Verde on a horse that he can never master?