News6 Investigates


6 Investigates: Conditions worsen for jailed “Citgo 6”

Posted at 11:54 AM, May 30, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-05 11:22:54-04

Cramped, unsanitary conditions are now the norm for the 6 Citgo executives now in their 19th month of captivity at the hands of Venezuelan President Nicholas Maduro.

Maduro claims the men stole from Citgo, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Venezuela’s state-owned oil company. He had them arrested during what the men believed was a routine trip to the capital city of Caracas, around Thanksgiving, 2017. That KRIS 6 News exclusive is available, here.

And yet, the government has not yet presented its case, fifteen preliminary hearings have been cancelled and the men remain cut off from their families.

One of the men, Alirio Zambrano, is a Citgo-Corpus Christi employee. His daughter, Alexandra Forseth, tells KRIS-6 News that her father and the other men now share overcrowded spaces with political protesters, themselves jailed amid rising political unrest.

“In a place where there might be enough room for about 20 or 30 people, there is like, 70 or 80,” she says. “So there are people sleeping in the hallway in the basement, a lot of the people in there right now, are folks associated with some of the protests in the past couple of weeks.”

And as tensions grow, fears for the men’s safety do too. The men’s weekly phone calls home have been suspended since February, leaving family members to depend on Venezuelan attorneys for updates from inside the jail. Forseth say the men are finally receiving more food, but, only through a complex network of couriers. Travel is also restricted from the U.S. into the country, making communication even more difficult.

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