Venezuela released at least two jailed US citizens on Tuesday following a weekend trip by US diplomats to the country, according to a report.
The apparent gesture of goodwill from oil-rich Venezuela – came the same day President Biden announced a ban on Russian energy imports following Moscow’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine.
Meetings between the high-level US delegation in Caracas focused not only on US prisoners in Venezuela, but also on the potential easing of US oil sanctions against the OPEC member amid an expected supply shortfall. in the fallout from the Russian conflict.
US officials told The New York Times, which first reported the news, that the two men’s release had nothing to do with a potential deal to revive oil sales between Venezuela and the United States. .
Oil sales between the two countries have been halted under the Trump administration.
In addition to Venezuela, Biden has also tried to woo other oil-producing autocracies, including Iran and Saudi Arabia.
Those released Tuesday in Venezuela are Gustavo Cárdenas and Jorge Alberto Fernández, The Times reported.
Cárdenas, who works as an executive for the US division of the Venezuelan national oil company, was arrested in 2017, the newspaper reported, citing two sources including a US official.
Fernández is a Cuban-American who was arrested in February 2021. He was charged with terrorism for bringing a drone into the country, his attorney told The Times.
At least eight US citizens are still imprisoned in Venezuela.
With post wires
New York Post