Venezuela frees 7 Americans in prisoner swap
Venezuela and the U.S. conducted a rare prisoner swap Saturday, freeing seven Americans from the South American country in exchange for two relatives of Venezuelan President Nicholas Maduro, the White House said.
Why it matters: This is the largest prisoner swap of President Biden's term so far, the Associated Press reports.
- The exchange secures freedom for seven U.S. citizens whom Venezuela "wrongfully detained," Biden said in a statement on Saturday.
Details: The freed American prisoners include five employees of Citgo — Tomeu Vadell, Jose Luis Zambrano, Alirio Zambrano, Jorge Toledo and Jose Pereira.
- Both Matthew Heath, a former U.S. Marine corporal, and Osman Khan, who was arrested earlier this year, were freed, too, AP reports.
- "These individuals will soon be reunited with their families and back in the arms of their loved ones where they belong," Biden said in the statement.
The other side: Franqui Flores and his cousin Efrain Campo — nephews of Maduro's wife, Cilia Flores — were granted clemency by Biden before being released, according to the AP.
- The pair was arrested in Haiti back in 2015 and jailed in the U.S. on drug convictions.
- "To all the families who are still suffering and separated from their loved ones who are wrongfully detained — know that we remain dedicated to securing their release," Biden said.