Apr 27, 2019

U.S. citizen released from Venezuela after 5-year detainment

A U.S. citizen detained in Venezuela since 2014 on attempted murder and weapons trafficking charges was released and flown back to the U.S. this week, NBC reports.

Details: A U.S. State Department official speaking on the condition of anonymity told NBC that a Venezuelan judge granted Todd Leininger parole in May 2018 and his release was court-ordered in November. In a 2014 Reuters interview, Barbara Leininger said her son previously admitted to shooting a man in self-defense during what he described as an "altercation" and that he has "some psychological issues," as reported by NBC.

The big picture: The U.S.- Venezuela relationship is currently strained by escalating U.S. sanctions and suffering of the Venezuelan people as a political stalemate unfolds between Nicolás Maduro's regime and National Assembly President Juan Guaidó. The U.S. withdrew all diplomatic staff from Venezuela after recognizing Guaidó as the country's interim president 3 months ago. President Trump has suggested the U.S. might be ready to back Guaidó with force.

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