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☆ The Communist Bus Driver Strikes Again.
Six American oil executives under house arrest in Venezuela were rounded up by police hours after President Donald Trump met Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro’s chief opponent at the White House, according to family members of the men.
Alirio Zambrano said early Thursday that the executives of Houston-based Citgo were abruptly taken from their homes last night by the SEBIN intelligence police. Zambrano, the brother of two of the six detained men, said their current whereabouts are unknown.
“We demand to know they are safe but more importantly their freedom!” Zambrano said on social media, adding that he was very worried about the detainees.
The State Department and Maduro’s government have yet to comment. But the move comes two months after the men were granted house arrest and just hours after Trump welcomed opposition leader Juan Guaidó to the White House in a show of support for his flagging, year-old campaign to oust Maduro.
In Washington on Thursday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi stood alongside Guaidó and called for the release of the American oil executives.
Maduro condemned Trump’s embrace of Guaidó while socialist party boss Diosdado Cabello, who is widely seen as the second most powerful person in Venezuela’s government, vowed to retaliate for the meeting.
“Every time they do something, we’re going to turn harder to the left and see who squeals,” Cabello said Wednesday night in his weekly TV program.
The six men 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.
The group flew out on a corporate jet. They included Tomeu Vadell, vice president of refining; Gustavo Cardenas, head of strategic shareholder relations as well as government and public affairs; Jorge Toledo, vice president of supply and marketing; Alirio Zambrano, vice president and general manager of Citgo’s Corpus Christi refinery; Jose Luis Zambrano, vice president of shared services; and Jose Angel Pereira, the president of Citgo.
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