US oil executives arrested in Venezuela after Guaidó visit to White House
Six U.S. oil executives previously under house arrest in Venezuela were detained by police Wednesday night following self-declared interim President Juan Guaidó’s visit to the White House.
The Associated Press reported that families of Houston-based Citgo executives detained by Venezuelan police said their current whereabouts were unknown.
“We demand to know they are safe but more importantly their freedom!” the brother of two of the six men detained by Venezuelan police said in a social media post.
The ruling government of Nicolás Maduro has yet to comment on the arrests, according to the AP, which come shortly after Guaidó was a guest at President Trump’s State of the Union address on Tuesday and met with Trump at the White House.
The Trump administration has publicly supported Guaidó since shortly after the Venezuelan politician and former National Assembly leader declared himself the country’s interim leader, though he has failed to win support from the country’s military forces.
“The U.S. government fully supports the Venezuelan people in their quest for freedom and democracy. Democracy cannot be defeated,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said last year of Guaidó’s efforts to oust Maduro.
Vice President Pence also spoke with Guaidó by phone in January, at the time saying he was the country’s only legitimate ruler.