Top US hostage negotiator returns from Venezuela empty-handed

Photo: Reuters 

 

The Biden administration’s top hostage negotiator has returned from Venezuela without securing the release of any of the roughly eight Americans who are currently being detained by the Maduro regime.

By Washington Examiner –  Mike Brest

Jun 30, 2022

Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs?Roger Carstens and Ambassador Jimmy Story left Caracas on Thursday after traveling to the South American country to have “discussions about the welfare and safety of wrongfully detained U.S. nationals in Venezuela and to press for their release,” a State Department spokesperson told the Washington Examiner.

The spokesperson said Carstens met with the wrongfully detained Americans and was able to “assess their well-being” though did not specify which of the eight Americans he saw. They are five of the six American oil executives known as the “CITGO 6,” with Matthew Heath, Luke Denman, and Airan Berry also currently detained.

Carstens “was also able to discuss with senior Maduro regime officials the importance of ensuring that they receive appropriate care where needed,” the spokesperson added.

Heath’s family said earlier this month that he unsuccessfully attempted to end his life.

“[He] was rushed to a military hospital after attempting suicide and is now fighting for his life,” his aunt, Trudy Rutherford, said in a statement last week. “Early this morning we received word through private channels – not from our government – that Matthew was rushed to a military hospital after attempting suicide and is now fighting for his life.”

She said on Thursday, following Carstens return, “We believe that Matthew’s physical and mental health both continue to be at risk and are fearful he may attempt suicide again.”

One member of the CITGO 6 and another American were released from Venezuelan detainment in March.

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