Relatives of Citgo convicts want to swap for Alex Saab

Relatives of six former Citgo company executives are appealing for a prisoner swap between Venezuela and the United States.

“The solution to get innocent Americans home from [Venezuela] appears to be a combination of policy decisions & prisoner trades. We are ready to speak out about these options – all tools on the table need to be used to bring them home”, begins a thread on the CITGO6 COALITION Twitter account.

The thread goes on to call for the Biden administration to use “policy options” such as “sanctions relief to individuals” and “sanction relief associated with oil” in order to get convicted individuals back to the United States.

Relatives of the detainees propose the exchange of Venezuelan diplomat Alex Saab who, despite his diplomatic status and immunity, is awaiting trial in the U.S. They also named individuals, who they refer to as nephews of Cilia Flores, for a possible exchange.

They claim that their family members convicted in Venezuela are being used as “pawns” and criticize the U.S. government’s “unwillingness” to make efforts to secure their release.

This latest pronouncement adds to recent criticism of the State Department and against James Story, the Bogotá-based U.S. representative for Venezuela.

“Story has been more of a problem to bring my brother home than Maduro,” said Mark Denman, brother of Luke Denman, a mercenary captured during the failed Operation Gideon — a 2020 plot which aimed to overthrow and assassinate of President Nicolas Maduro and several government leaders.

While State Department spokesperson Ned Price has made numerous vague references to discussions with Caracas over detained U.S. citizens, it’s clear that Washington’s main priority is negotiating with the Bolivarian government for oil amid the energy crisis.

By Kawsachun News

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