Tarek William Saab

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Tarek William Saab
CDH - Comissão de Direitos Humanos e Legislação Participativa (17223372538).jpg
Prosecutor General of Venezuela
Assumed office
5 August 2017
Disputed with Luisa Ortega Díaz
Preceded byLuisa Ortega Díaz
President of the Republican Moral Council of Venezuela
Assumed office
Preceded byGabriela Ramírez
In office
22 December 2014 – 5 August 2017
Preceded byGabriela Ramírez
Succeeded byAlfredo Ruiz
Governor of Anzoátegui
In office
Preceded byDavid De Lima (MVR)
Succeeded byAristóbulo Istúriz
Member of the National Assembly
In office
30 July 2000 – 31 October 2004
Member of the National Constituent Assembly
In office
Personal details
Born (1963-09-10) 10 September 1963 (age 57)
El Tigre, Anzoátegui, Venezuela
Political partyFifth Republic Movement (MVR) (before 2007)
United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) (from 2007)
ProfessionPolitician, lawyer, author

Tarek William Saab Halabi (Spanish pronunciation: [taˈɾek wiˈʎjam ˈsa:β], Arabic: طارق وليام صعب حلبي‎; born 10 September 1962) is a Venezuelan politician, lawyer and poet. He is a leader of the Fifth Republic Movement (MVR) party founded by Hugo Chávez, President of Venezuela, who publicly called him "The Revolution's Poet". He was the Governor of Anzoátegui from 2004 to 2012, and a member of the Committee for Justice and Truth since 2013. In December 2014, he was elected "People's Defender", or Ombudsman, by the National Assembly for 2014–2021 term. Saab was appointed as President of the Republican Moral Council of Venezuela by the People's Power in 2015. On 5 August 2017, he was appointed as Prosecutor General of Venezuela by the National Constituent Assembly in substitution of Luisa Ortega Diaz.[1]


Saab was a member of the Constituent Assembly that drafted in 1999 the Constitution of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. In 2000, he was elected a member of the Venezuelan National Assembly.[citation needed]

During the coup d'état of April 2002, Saab was imprisoned by security forces after a crowd of protesters had gathered around Saab's home, threatening him and his family. He was held incommunicado for several hours.[2]

While Saab was head of the foreign policy commission of Venezuela's National Assembly in 2002, he was refused an entry visa to the United States. Reuters reported that Saab told local television he had been denied the visa because a U.S. State Department report "identified him as 'an individual linked to international subversion'". According to Venezuela's El Universal, Saab said he been denied the visa because of alleged ties with international terrorist organizations, which he denied any association with.[3] Saab is of Lebanese Druze ancestry and is an outspoken critic of Israel.[4]

Governor of Anzoátegui[edit]

Anzoátegui State Governor Election, 2004 Results
Source: CNE data
Candidates Votes %
Tarek W. Saab 187209 57%
Antonio Barreto 138120 42%

Saab was elected Governor of Anzoátegui in the 2004 regional elections, and re-elected in 2008.

In 2005 Saab was accused by critics within his own party (MVR) of participating in electoral fraud in the primary elections for 2005 local elections.[5] His predecessor as governor of Anzoátegui, David de Lima, accused Saab of using his position for political persecution,[6][7] after Saab's wife accused De Lima of mismanagement.[8][9]


Saab was elected to the post of ombudsman (Defensor del Pueblo) in 2014 by the parliament, for a term of 7 years, with opposition considering the election unlawful for procedural grounds despite the opinion of the Supreme Court.[10] During the 2014–2017 Venezuelan protests, Saab was criticized for allegedly siding with the government on human rights issues, with The Washington Post stating that he "is viewed as an apologist for the unpopular government of President Nicolás Maduro".[11][12]

Prosecutor General[edit]

Saab was appointed Prosecutor General on 5 August 2017 by the National Constituent Assembly[1] after former Prosecutor General Luisa Ortega Díaz was removed from office by the Bolivarian government for allegedly being part of the "counterrevolution".[13] This occurred months after Saab stated himself that he had "no gut, no encouragement, no willingness to be Attorney General" and that he wanted to be Prosecutor "not yesterday, not today, not tomorrow".[14]


Following the deaths of student protesters during the 2017 Venezuelan protests, Saab's son Yibram Saab placed a video on YouTube explaining how he protested on the day that a 20-year-old protester "was killed through the terrible and inhumane use of tear gas", exclaiming "That could've been me!" He finally pleaded to his father, "Dad, in this moment you have the power to end the injustice that has sunk this country. I ask you as your son and in the name of Venezuela, to whom you serve, that you reflect on the situation and do what you have to do."[11][12][15]


Saab has been sanctioned by several countries and is banned from entering neighboring Colombia. The Colombian government maintains a list of people banned from entering Colombia or subject to expulsion; as of January 2019, the list had 200 people with a "close relationship and support for the Nicolás Maduro regime".[16][17]

In July 2017, thirteen senior officials of the Venezuelan government, including Saab, associated with the 2017 Venezuelan Constituent Assembly elections were sanctioned by the United States for their role in undermining democracy and human rights.[18][19]

Canada sanctioned 40 Venezuelan officials, including Saab, in September 2017.[20][21] The sanctions were for behaviors that undermined democracy after at least 125 people were killed in the 2017 Venezuelan protests and "in response to the government of Venezuela's deepening descent into dictatorship".[20] Canadians were banned from transactions with the 40 individuals, whose Canadian assets were frozen.[20]

The European Union sanctioned seven Venezuela officials, including Saab, on 18 January 2018, singling them out as being responsible for deteriorating democracy in the country.[22] The sanctioned individuals were prohibited from entering the nations of the European Union, and their assets were frozen.[23]

In March 2018, Panama sanctioned 55 public officials, including Saab,[24] and Switzerland implemented sanctions, freezing the assets of seven ministers and high officials, including Saab, due to human rights violations and deteriorating rule of law and democracy.[25]

On 20 April 2018, the Mexican Senate froze the assets of officials of the Maduro administration, including Saab, and prohibited them from entering Mexico.[26]


Saab has written numerous publications, including Los ríos de la Ira (1987), El Hacha de los Santos (1992), Príncipe de Lluvia y Duelo (1992), Al Fatah (México, 1994), Angel Caído Angel (1998), Cielo a Media Asta (2003), Cuando Pasen las Carretas (2003), Poemas selectos (Colombia, 2005), Los niños del infortunio (Cuba, 2006. China, 2007), Memorias de Gulan Rubani (Caracas, 2007). Un paisaje boreal (Valencia, 2008. Caracas, 2009).[27]


  1. ^ a b https://www.reuters.com/article/us-venezuela-politics-idUSKBN1AL0BG?il=0
  2. ^ Tarek Saab detained by security forces, state.gov; accessed 8 July 2015.
  3. ^ Nacional y Política, eluniversal.com; accessed 8 July 2015.
  4. ^ Padgett, Tim (2009-01-18). "Latin America Looks for a Fresh Start with Obama". Time. ISSN 0040-781X. Retrieved 2019-05-03.
  5. ^ El Universal, "Chávez' MVR members report electoral fraud", eluniversal.com; 19 April 2005.
  6. ^ Daily News, eluniversal.com, 10 October 2005.
  7. ^ Daily News, eluniversal.com. 11 October 2005.
  8. ^ El Tiempo - El Periódico del Pueblo Oriental, eltiempo.com.ve; accessed 7 July 2015.
  9. ^ TSJ Regiones - Decisión Archived 2012-02-24 at the Wayback Machine, vargas.tsj.gov.ve, February 2005.
  10. ^ Venezuelan Parliament Renews Public Powers, Opposition Issue Reversal Warning, venezuelanalysis.com; accessed 7 July 2015.
  11. ^ a b "Venezuela crisis: Son criticises rights ombudsman father in video". BBC News. 27 April 2017. Retrieved 27 April 2017.
  12. ^ a b Miroff, Nick (27 April 2017). "Analysis | A top Venezuelan official's son makes video plea for his dad to 'end the injustice'". The Washington Post. Retrieved 27 April 2017.
  13. ^ "Diosdado asegura que Fiscal General fue removida por ser un apéndice de la "contrarrevolución"". La Patilla (in Spanish). 7 August 2017. Retrieved 7 August 2017.
  14. ^ "El día en que Tarek William Saab dijo que jamás sería fiscal general (Video)". La Patilla (in Spanish). 7 August 2017. Retrieved 7 August 2017.
  15. ^ "Venezuela crisis: Son of top Chavista official publically [sic] urges him to help stop bloodshed". Fox News. 27 April 2017. Retrieved 27 April 2017.
  16. ^ "Maduro encabeza lista de 200 venezolanos que no pueden entrar al país" [Maduro tops list of 200 Venezuelans who can not enter the country]. El Tiempo (in Spanish). 30 January 2019. Retrieved 13 April 2019.
  17. ^ "Primera parte de lista de colaboradores de Maduro que no pueden ingresar a Colombia" [First part of list of Maduro collaborators who can not enter Colombia] (in Spanish). RCN Radio. 31 January 2019. Retrieved 13 April 2019.
  18. ^ Lane, Sylvan and Rafael Bernal (26 July 2017). "Treasury sanctions target Venezuela president's allies". The Hill. Retrieved 3 April 2019.
  19. ^ "Treasury Sanctions 13 Current and Former Senior Officials of the Government of Venezuela" (Press release). U.S. Department of the Treasury. 26 July 2017. Retrieved 3 April 2019.
  20. ^ a b c "Canada imposes sanctions on key Venezuelan officials". CBC Canada. Thomson Reuters. 22 September 2017. Retrieved 3 April 2019.
  21. ^ Zilio, Michelle (22 September 2017). "Canada sanctions 40 Venezuelans with links to political, economic crisis". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 3 April 2019. Also at Punto de Corte and El Nacional
  22. ^ "Quiénes son los 7 funcionarios de Venezuela sancionados por la Unión Europea y de qué se les acusa". BBC Mundo (in Spanish). 22 January 2018. Retrieved 3 April 2019.
  23. ^ "EU imposes sanctions on 7 senior Venezuelan officials". Associated Press. 22 January 2018. Retrieved 2 April 2019.
  24. ^ "Los 55 funcionarios sancionados por Panamá por 'blanqueo de capitales'". El Nacional (in Spanish). 30 March 2018. Retrieved 3 April 2019. Also at Panama Economic and Finance Ministry
  25. ^ "Swiss impose sanctions on seven senior Venezuelan officials". Reuters. 28 March 2018. Retrieved 3 April 2019. Also at Diario Las Americas
  26. ^ "México rechaza elecciones en Venezuela y sanciona a siete funcionarios". Sumarium group (in Spanish). Retrieved 21 April 2018. Also at VPITV
  27. ^ Tarek William Saab profile, analitica.com; accessed 7 July 2015.

External links[edit]