Relatives of Americans held captive in Venezuela make emotional plea for help

Relatives of five American citizens imprisoned in Venezuela are speaking out in an emotional effort to bring their loved ones home.

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“We’re pleading for help of President Donald Trump, Mr. Maduro, Mr. Guiadó, down to the jailer holding the keys to their cell,” Carlos Añez, son of Jorge Toledo, told FOX Business’ Trish Regan on Thursday. “Please, if you understand human rights, if you understand grief … you can act.”

The executives – they are Toledo, Gustavo Cardenas, Tomeu Vadell, Alirio Zambrano and José Luis Zambrano, along with Citgo’s former CEO, José Angel Pereira, a U.S. permanent resident --  are being held captive in a Venezuelan jail by embattled President Nicolás Maduro and his socialist regime. The men were on a business trip in the capital of Caracas and have been held since Nov. 21, 2017.

“It’s been a blur for our families ever since,” daughter Jessica Zambrano said. “There’s not a moment that I don’t think about him.”

Cristina Vadell, the daughter of former Citgo’s former vice president of refining, Tomeu Vadell, said she has been able to speak to her dad on several occasions.

“There’s weekly calls from most of the men, but if we are not with our mothers, we might miss it,” she said as she held back tears.

Last week, Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó told Regan that the hostages' release is a major priority. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told FOX Business that the government is focused on gaining freedom for any American who’s wrongfully detained.

“I can assure the American people that we are working diligently to make sure that no American is wrongfully detained by Mr. Maduro,” he said on “Trish Regan Primetime” on Wednesday.

Joao Pereira, whose father was head of Citgo, said the energy company never gave the family an explanation surrounding their imprisonment. “We don’t know why he is still in jail,” he said.


Citgo Petroleum Corporation (or Citgo) is the Houston-based oil company owned by Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) which has been run by the Venezuelan government since the 1980s.