Six directors of the oil company Citgo have been imprisoned in Venezuela for more than four years. They are United States citizens accused of corruption and that despite the attempts of their defense, They remain behind bars of the Bolivarian Intelligence Service (Sebin). On Tuesday night it was learned of the release of one of them.
(Also read: End to oil sanctions?: the possible agreement between the US and Venezuela).
Who are the liberated?
This is Gustavo Cárdenas, former manager of the oil company. This release comes after the meeting on Saturday March 5 in Caracas between representatives of the White House and the government of Nicolás Maduro. A special envoy for hostage affairs attended that meeting.
The release information was confirmed by the Venezuelan Penal Forum.
(Also read: Maduro returns to the international scene due to the war in Ukraine).
The directors of Citgo had been sentenced to eight years in prison accused of the crime of corruption, only the former president of the company, José Ángel Pereira, had received the sentence of 13 years.
Gustavo Cárdenas served as vice president of strategic relations. Venezuelan by birth, he studied Political Science at the Universidad de Los Andes in the state of Mérida, Venezuela, and then began working at Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA).
In 2005, he started at Citgo in the position of manager of international relations and later became general manager of Communications, relations and corporate social responsibility.
He was in the company for 24 years and his last position was president of the Board of the Simón Bolívar Foundation, which is an institution that is in charge of social aid endorsed by Citgo.
Although he is Venezuelan, he was naturalized American. He resided in the city of Houston, Texas.
#8Mar 8:40PM We are informed that in effect, until now, one of the CITGO executives, Gustavo Cárdenas, has been released from prison. Until this hour he would be the only one.
— Gonzalo Himiob S. (@HimiobSantome) March 9, 2022
These would be the first tangible agreements of that meeting confirmed by both governments. At the meeting, which took place at the Miraflores Palace in Caracas, they discussed energy issues as indicated by the Joe Biden administrationwhich has been criticized for this approach that would seek to import Venezuelan oil in order to isolate Russia and cut ties with the Caribbean country.
José Alberto Fernández is a Cuban-American citizen who was arrested in the state of Táchira for flying over a drone. He was accused of terrorism by the Venezuelan government.
At the time of operating the drone in the city of San Antonio del Táchira, was intercepted by local authorities in what is known as the Alcabala de Peracal.
The citizen born in Havana said that he only took photographs and that he was on vacation, that he was not using the device for acts of terrorism.
There are still five Citgo executives in prison. In addition to other Americans detained by the so-called Operation Gideon in which they were arrested when they tried to enter Venezuela by sea, before an alleged plan to attack the Government.
The president of the United States, Joe Biden, celebrated on Wednesday the release of two US citizens who were “unjustly” detained in Venezuela, after his government entered into negotiations with Caracas.
In a statement issued at midnight, Biden celebrated the “return home” of Gustavo Adolfo Cárdenas and Jorge Fernández, who “will be able to hug their families once again.” “These men are fathers who lost precious time with their children and everyone they love, and their families have suffered every day of their absence,” the president said.
Tour between Washington and Caracas
The releases come after Maduro received a delegation from Biden over the weekend, who on Tuesday banned imports of oil and derivatives from Russia into the United States amid sanctions for his invasion of Ukraine.
The meeting was a turning point in relations between Washington and Caracas, broken in 2019 after the White House ignored Maduro’s re-election as president a year earlier, calling it “fraudulent.”
The Chavista president said that the weekend meeting was “respectful, cordial and diplomatic” without going into detail about the issues addressed. “We did it in the presidential office,” he said in a television address Monday.
“There were the two beautiful flags, united as the flags of the United States and Venezuela should be, we had almost two hours talking.”
The spokeswoman for the Biden government, Jen Psaki, explained for her part that “the purpose of the trip that the administration officials made was to discuss a variety of issues that certainly include energy, energy security.”
ANA RODRIGUEZ BRAZON
With information from VOA
For his part, the President of the United States celebrated the release of the two US citizens detained in Venezuela: “They will be able to hug their families once again“.
“These men are fathers who lost precious time with their children and everyone they love, and their families have suffered every day of their absence.“, assured the president.
US Delegation in Venezuela: energy and oil were discussed
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#freed #Americans #Venezuela
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