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Where are the CITGO 6?

Updated: Feb. 24, 2020 at 7:50 PM CST
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LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) -There’s renewed concern about the safety of the men known as the CITGO 6.

Those holding the men in Venezuela have moved them, leaving family members in the dark about their safety.

The families, like the Vadells, struggle to cope with what’s an increasingly difficult situation.

For several weeks now, family members of the CITGO 6 don’t know the location of their loved ones. The men were captured in November 2017 and held in Venezuela on what relatives say are bogus charges.

They were under house arrest, which was seen as an improvement. But in President Trump’s State of the Union address, he called Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro an illegitimate ruler and a tyrant.

“Maduro’s grip on tyranny will be smashed and broken,” the president said in his remarks.

And he recognized Juan Guaido as the true president.

“Joining us in the gallery is the true and legitimate president of Venezuela, Juan Guaido,” said Trump.

Guaido visited the White House the next day and that same day, the CITGO 6 disappeared. Families believe Maduro’s government caused what’s called a “forced disappearance,” which is when someone is secretly abducted or imprisoned. It happened just as the men were to begin their trial.

Family members of Tomeu Vadell from Lake Charles are worried and pleading for help.

“When this happened, there was no communication on any end about it, like lawyers weren’t informed, families weren’t informed, there was no court order. So, nobody knew what was happening,” said Vadell’s daughter, Cristina.

Dennysse and Tomeu Vadell’s 34th wedding anniversary was February 22. It’s the third they have spent apart.

“We don’t understand why. We keep praying for him to come home. We keep praying for the people that have them there to open their hearts. It’s not right. I feel incomplete, I feel helpless and so frustrated with this and so sad,” said Dennysse.

Despite what seem like deteriorating circumstances, the Vadells believe the situation can still be resolved through faith, hope, prayers and action by concerned citizens.

“People like my dad, like the CITGO 6, are loved, and they are not forgotten. And this is not something that is impossible to resolve. It is something that can be resolved, and it can be resolved now,” said Cristina.

She urges all to continue to keep pressure on those who have influence to bring the men home.

The Vadell family will soon have a “take action” page on the Free Tomeu Vadell web site. They believe their efforts on behalf of Tomeu create more awareness for all the CITGO 6 members held

Members of the Zambrano family formed a CITGO6 COALITION web site with bios on the other five men.

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