LatinNews Daily - 10 October 2022

US welcomes release from Venezuela of US nationals

Venezuela: On 1 October US Secretary of State Antony Blinken issued a statement welcoming the release from Venezuela of six US citizens - Jorge Toledo, Tomeu Vadell, José Luis Zambrano, Alirio Zambrano, Matthew Heath, and Osman Khan - as well as US legal permanent resident Jose Pereira. According to a US State Department press release “after extraordinary efforts and perseverance across the State Department and wider US government for many months, these wrongfully detained Americans and legal permanent resident are free and will soon be reunited with their loved ones.” Blinken expressed gratitude to Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs Roger Carstens and the rest of the “[US] State Department team for their tireless efforts to achieve this outcome”. Toledo, Vadell, Pereira, and the Zambrano brothers all held executive-level positions at Citgo, the US subsidiary of Venezuela’s state oil company Pdvsa, and had been held since 2017 on corruption charges. Their release marks the end of the detention of the so-called ‘Citgo 6’, following the release in March of another Citgo director, Gustavo Adolfo Cárdenas. The prisoners were released in exchange for two imprisoned relatives of Venezuela’s First Lady Cilia Flores.

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