Venezuela defends detention of US citizens

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro said his government would continue to enforce its laws as it rejected the claim of the US State Department to press for “the immediate and unconditional release” of “wrongfully-detained” US citizens in Venezuela. 

“It is unfortunate that the authorities of the United States insist on their claim to confer an unacceptable immunity or letter of marque to their nationals, in absolute disregard for the sovereignty and self-determination of peoples,” Maduro said

However, Maduro also said that Venezuela’s “spaces and channels” remain open for the United States to find common ground on bilateral relationship issues. 

Maduro’s statement marked the two-year confinement of former US Marine corporal Matthew Heath, accused of being a terrorist and spying for former US President Donald Trump in 2022. 

According to reports, Venezuelan authorities detained at least ten men, including five oil executives and three veterans.  

In March, Maduro’s government freed two Americans after a surprise visit of senior White House and State Department officials to Venezuela’s capital, Caracas, in June.  

In July, the State Department warned Americans to avoid traveling to Venezuela because of the considerable risk of being detained wrongfully and threatened by illegal armed groups along the borders. 

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