The Peace Dividend

Listen to Today's Edition
Voiced by Amazon Polly

Venezuela freed seven US citizens imprisoned in the country over the weekend, a move that underscores recent efforts by the Biden administration to mend ties with the oil-rich South American nation, CBS News reported.

The release was part of a prisoner swap that saw two nephews of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro’s wife who had been sentenced to jail in the US on drug trafficking charges, being released.

The released Americans also included five oil executives of Houston-based Citgo, who were lured to Venezuela in 2017 to attend a meeting at the headquarters of the company’s parent, state-run oil giant Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A. They were then detained by masked police and later sentenced to between eight to 13 years in prison on charges of embezzlement.

Saturday’s swap is considered the largest trade of detained citizens ever carried out by the Biden administration. It also underscores a rare gesture of goodwill by Maduro’s government as he seeks rapprochement with the US.

Maduro’s government said it “welcomes the outcome of these talks and hopes for the preservation of peace and harmony with all the nations of our region and the world.”

The release follows months of back-channel diplomacy and comes amid a global energy-price crisis exacerbated by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

In March, Venezuela released two US citizens following a meeting between Maduro and senior US officials. The meeting came just days after Moscow’s invasion. Analysts described it as an effort by Washington to sway Venezuela – a Russian ally – away from the Kremlin.

Not already a subscriber?

If you would like to receive DailyChatter directly to your inbox each morning, subscribe below with a free two-week trial.

Subscribe today

Support journalism that’s independent, non-partisan, and fair.

If you are a student or faculty with a valid school email, you can sign up for a FREE student subscription or faculty subscription.

Questions? Write to us at hello@dailychatter.com.

Copy link