Nearly 800 days have passed since six U.S. oil executives known as the “Citgo 6” were arrested in Venezuela without due process — and the Maduro regime shows no signs of releasing them.
Five of the men are dual U.S.-Venezuelan citizens. The sixth is a U.S. lawful permanent resident. All work in the U.S., where Citgo is headquartered and has offices.
In November 2017, the six were called to a meeting in Caracas at PDVSA, the state-run parent company that owns Citgo. Masked security agents took them into custody at the meeting.
The Maduro regime then placed the six “in a Venezuelan military prison in deplorable conditions,” according to the State Department’s Elliott Abrams. They were left in windowless cells and developed “cumulative health problems given their lack of consistent access to food, sunlight and exercise.”
After they were officially charged in January 2018, the Venezuelan authorities — under Maduro’s direction — scheduled and cancelled 18 hearings. In July 2019, Venezuelan authorities agreed to move the case out of the pre-trial phase. However, the first trial hearing, scheduled for December, was also cancelled.
To the families of the Citgo 6: We will stand with you until your families are free and until Venezuela is free. To Nicholas Maduro — let our people go — then go! #VenezuelaLibre pic.twitter.com/FKhvLbR2A3
— Vice President Mike Pence (@VP) April 2, 2019
In December 2019, after the six men had spent more than two years in the military intelligence facility, the Maduro regime moved them to house arrest.
But these six Americans are still in police custody on Venezuelan soil. The U.S. government continues to ask, when will the Citgo 6 be returned home?
“President Trump and I and the American people are going to continue to stand firm, to stand firm for the freedoms of your loved ones,” Vice President Pence told the families of the Citgo 6 in April 2019. “We’re going to stand firm until liberty, freedom and the rule of law [are] restored in Venezuela.”