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Daughter of local Citgo 6 hostage attends Cruz's speech

Gabriella Zambrano Hill and her daughter
Posted at 5:46 PM, Dec 19, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-19 18:46:50-05

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz is demanding that Venezuela release the six Citgo workers, including a Corpus Christi man, who are under house arrest there.

He made that call during a speech before the full senate yesterday, and today we're getting reaction from that local man's family.

In an exclusive interview, you'll hear from Gabriela Zambrano Hill, who had one day's notice to drop everything and get to Washington to hear that speech in person.

She's the daughter of Alirio Zambrano.

He left his Corpus Christi home just before Thanksgiving two years ago to board a plane to Venezuela for a meeting with Citgo's parent company.

During the meeting, masked men arrested Zambrano and five other Citgo workers, the so-called Citgo six.

For more than two years they lived in terrible conditions in the basement of a prison.

But earlier this month, they received some good news.

The Citgo six were moved from prison to house arrest.

In his speech, Cruz said that's progress, but it's not enough.

Zambrano Hill agreed with him in our interview today as she held her infant daughter, the granddaughter that Zambrano has never met.

"Senator Cruz basically made that point very clear on our behalf and said, 'hey, they're on house arrest. That's great, but these men need to come home,” Gabriella Zambrano Hill said.

Cruz did not mince words in his declaration to the Venezuelan government.

“Every effort must be made to bring them back to the United States, to their families, to their children, to their homes,” Cruz said.

Venezuelan officials accuse the men of corruption, charges that are almost certainly false.

Cruz indicated that Venezuela is holding the men hostage in hopes of getting diplomatic concessions from our country.