In the febrile world of Venezuelan politics, awash with rumours of plots, betrayals and imminent military uprisings, attorney-general Tarek William Saab is one of the great survivors.
As a young lawyer, he defended the then military officer Hugo Chávez after a failed coup attempt, then lobbied for his release from jail. And in the years after Chávez legitimately became president — February 2 1999 — Mr Saab was again close at hand.
“I went on 25 or 30 international trips with Hugo Chávez,” he recalled in an interview with the Financial Times in his offices in central Caracas. “I met Saddam Hussein, Colonel Gaddafi, the royal families of Saudi Arabia, of Norway, of Spain.”