Former Citgo executive detained in Venezuela suffers from heart attack

Former Citgo executive detained in Venezuela suffers from heart attack
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The former president of oil company Citgo suffered from a mild heart attack while in jail in Venezuela, a lawyer said Tuesday.

Jose Pereira, a U.S. citizen, was detained several years ago along with five other Americans from the oil company.

Pereira’s lawyers told Reuters on Tuesday that their client had a mild heart attack in a prison in Caracas and went to the hospital.

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Maria Alejandra Poleo, one of Pereira’s lawyers, said the former oil executive suffered from "a mild cardiopathy" and was in stable condition. 

"We got a call from our dad today, he has been released from the clinic and returned to El Helicoide (prison), it is not clear what happened, he says he remembers nothing," Pereira's family said on Twitter Tuesday, according to Reuters. 

The six oil executives were detained in 2017 after being accused by the government of signing an unfavorable debt refinancing deal and later spent time under house arrest.

In 2020, Alex Saab, an envoy for Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro, was detained in Cape Verde. Saab has since been extradited to the U.S., officials said earlier this month.

The former oil executives were taken back to jail after Saab's extradition, which Venezuela called a “kidnapping.” Saab is wanted on money laundering charges in the U.S.  

Venezuela also backed out of talks with U.S.-backed opposition in Mexico over the extradition, with Jorge Rodriguez, head of the government’s negotiating team and member of the Socialist party, saying the move was "an expression of our deepest protest against the brutal aggression against the person and the investiture of our delegate Alex Saab Moran."