Venezuela gives US oilmen house arrest

·1-min read

Six American oil executives jailed in Venezuela more than three years ago on corruption charges have been granted house arrest in a gesture of goodwill toward the Biden administration as it reviews its policy towards the politically turbulent South American country.

The partial release of the six employees of Houston-based Citgo was confirmed to the Associated Press on Friday by lawyers and family members of the men.

Tomeu Vadell, Jose Luis Zambrano, Alirio Zambrano, Jorge Toledo, Gustavo Cardenas and Jose Pereira were hauled away by masked security agents while at a meeting in Caracas just before Thanksgiving in 2017.

They had been lured to Venezuela in order to attend a meeting at the headquarters of Citgo's parent, state-run oil giant PDVSA.

The so-called Citgo 6 were granted house arrest once before - in December 2019 - only to be jailed again two months later on the same day that President Donald Trump welcomed opposition leader Juan Guaido to the White House.

In releasing the men, Maduro could be betting he will receive a better hearing from President Joe Biden, who on the campaign trail called Trump's policy of regime change an "abject failure" that has served only to strengthen the socialist leader.