CITGO6 now confined more than 1000 days in Venezuela

Updated: Aug. 18, 2020 at 7:14 PM CDT
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LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) -The members of the group known as the CITGO6 have now been confined in Venezuela for 1000 days.

For family members, it's been 1000 days since they felt any normalcy to their lives, and 1000 days since they saw their loved ones just before Thanksgiving 2017.

Birthdays have passed, births have passed and it’s been a horrific ordeal for the men known as the CITGO6, who have been held in Venezuela since Thanksgiving 2017.

CITGO is owned by the state-run oil company in Venezuela, PDVSA (Petroleos de Venezuela.)

Family members say the men were basically ambushed in 2017 when they were summoned to Venezuela under the guise of a business meeting.

The men taken are Gustavo Cardenas, Jose Pereira, Jorge Toledo, Tomeu Vadell, Alirio Zambrano and Jose Luis Zambrano.

Vadell and Alirio Zambrano have close ties to our area, after working many years at the CITGO refinery south of Sulphur. The men are on trial right now on corruption charges which family members have always said are bogus.

Alexandra Zambrano Forseth’s uncle, Jose Luis and her father, Alirio, are two of the CITGO6.

"To me, this entire case is a farce and to me not really based on any facts or evidence and I still think these men are being used as human chess pieces in a very global international issue between two countries," she said.

Forseth says being separated from each other has been a terrible ordeal for her family and the others.

"I mean this has been devastating for all of us and needless to say for the men. This has got to end soon."

Forseth encourages friends, family and concerned citizens to visit their coalition web site to stay aware and sign a petition to bring them home.

“I’m really hoping that we’re able to reach the hearts of various leaders involved and make sure the right focus is on their freedom and not really on any sort of proceeding that they think need to take place etcetera,” she said.

Forseth says their human rights have been severely violated and that especially with the global pandemic-- it’s time to bring them home.

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