More than 1,000 days have passed since Tomeu Vadell, José Luis Zambrano, Alirio Zambrano, Jorge Toledo, Gustavo Cardenas and José Pereira — known as the CITGO-6 — were lured to Caracas for business meetings and then detained by masked security agents and thrown into one of Venezuela’s most dangerous prisons. While two of the men have been moved to house arrest and a trial process has begun, both positive developments, the four other men remain in Venezuela’s increasingly dangerous jails where COVID-19 continues to spread and threaten their lives.
The U.S. Government has repeatedly called for the unconditional release of the CITGO-6 and their return to the United States. The families of these six Americans are suffering. It is time for Maduro to put politics aside and let these families be reunited again. No one should doubt the President’s commitment to bringing home all U.S. citizens held hostage or wrongfully detained overseas. Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs Roger Carstens, Special Representative for Venezuela Elliott Abrams, and I will tirelessly pursue our mission to secure the release of the CITGO-6 and we will do our utmost to achieve that goal.