Six American oil executives jailed in Venezuela more than three years ago on corruption charges were granted house arrest on Friday in a gesture of goodwill toward the Biden administration as it reviews its policy toward the politically turbulent South American country, ABC13 in Houston is reporting.
The partial release of the six employees of Houston-based Citgo was confirmed to The Associated Press by family members of the men, the station reports.
Tomeu Vadell, Jose Luis Zambrano, Alirio Zambrano, Jorge Toledo, Gustavo Cardenas and Jose Pereira were hauled away by masked security agents while at a meeting in Caracas just before Thanksgiving in 2017. They had been lured to Venezuela in order to attend a meeting at the headquarters of Citgo's parent, state-run oil giant PDVSA, ABC13 reports.
The so-called Citgo 6 were granted house arrest once before - in December 2019 - only to be re-jailed two months later on the same day that then-President Donald Trump welcomed opposition leader Juan Guaidó to the White House, ABC13 reports.
In releasing the men, Maduro could be betting he'll receive a better hearing from President Joe Biden, who on the campaign trail called Trump's policy of regime change an "abject failure" that has served only to strengthen the socialist leader, the station reports.
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