Daughter Of An American Freed In Venezuela Lashes Out At Rubio

Daughter Of An American Freed In Venezuela Lashes Out At Rubio

7 Americans detained in Venezuela return to their country 5:13

(WABNEWS) — A relative of two Americans freed over the weekend in a prisoner swap with Venezuela lashed out Monday at Republican Sen. Marco Rubio for his criticism of the operation, calling his comments “unpatriotic and unhelpful” and questioning his support for the seven unjustly detained US citizens.

“I find those comments extremely unhelpful and uninformed. I am disappointed that a leader of our country is perpetuating this myth that bringing our people home puts Americans at risk,” he told WABNEWS’s Alex Marquardt on “New Day.” Alexandra Forseth, daughter of Alirio Zambrano and niece of José Luis Zambrano, two of the seven freed Americans.

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Marquardt said he would tell Rubio, “You have done absolutely nothing for me or my family or most of these men, and either family can tell you that.” “And they even released a voter from your state, and I would ask you, what have you done for your family? How have you supported them?”

“Your comments strike me as unpatriotic and unhelpful,” Forseth said.

Alexandra Forseth harshly criticized Rubio.

This Sunday, Rubio questioned the decision to exchange the seven unjustly detained Americans for two Venezuelans imprisoned in the United States for conspiring to introduce cocaine into the country, both nephews of the Venezuelan first lady, Cilia Flores. The Florida senator warned that the swap “endangers Americans around the world.”

“I wanted those people released just as much as the rest, but every time this is done, now, others know, ‘I can capture Americans, I can hold them until I need something as a bargaining chip,'” said Rubio, the top Republican in the Senate Intelligence Committee and a member of the Foreign Relations Committee, to WABNEWS’s Dana Bash on “State of the Union.”

“I think seven innocent American hostages in exchange for two convicted drug traffickers, who happen to be the nephews of (Venezuelan President Nicolas) Maduro, is a huge win for Maduro and unfortunately puts Americans all over the world now in danger.” Rubio said.

Americans detained in Venezuela

The Zambrano brothers, along with Jorge Toledo, Tomeu Vadell and José Pereira, are five of six US oil executives known as the “CITGO 6” detained in Venezuela more than four years ago. Two Americans detained there, including one of the CITGO 6, were released in March following a visit by two high-ranking US government officials to Caracas. The other Americans released on Saturday are Marine veteran Matthew Heath, who was arrested in September 2020, and Osman Khan, who had been detained since January 2022. The seven people were classified by the US government as wrongfully detained.

In August, Alirio Zambrano issued a handwritten petition to President Joe Biden asking him to act decisively to free him and his wrongfully detained colleagues. At the time he wrote to Biden: “I am afraid I will never see my family again.”

“I don’t know how much longer we can wait, but I know people who have died here, and I fear the same fate could befall any of us at any time,” he wrote in the letter, dated Aug. 28.

Her daughter told “New Day” that learning of her relatives’ return was the “greatest relief and euphoric feeling I could describe.”

“It’s been quite a trial and tribulation, but I’m so thankful that we were finally able to bring them home,” Forseth said.

WABNEWS’s Betsy Klein, Arlette Saenz and Jennifer Hansler contributed to this report.

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