CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Even though it's not her father, the release of one of the so-called CITGO 6 is great news to Vanessa Zambrano.
She's the youngest daughter of Alirio Zambrano, who Venezuelan forces arrested along with five other CITGO executives in November of 2017 on — what are almost certainly false — charges of stealing from that oil company.
Then came the news on Tuesday that one of the men, Gustavo Cardenas, was getting released and sent home to the United States — leaving Zambrano and the four others still imprisoned.
“I wouldn’t want to say that we’re disappointed that they weren’t all released," Vanessa said. "I think that it’s a positive sign."
She says another positive is that it was Cardenas who got to go home.
"We’re glad that Gustavo went first," Vanessa said. "Because his — he has a son with a severe health condition."
Cardenas was photographed hugging his son at his home in Houston Wednesday.
What his release means for the other five CITGO 6 members isn't clear, but Vanessa is trying to be optimistic.
"We’re waiting with bated breath to see what might happen in the coming days, because this is a huge development," she said. "And the pattern of things that happen in this case can be unpredictable. So we’re just waiting and hoping for the best."
Vanessa is confident that she will get to have a reunion with her father some day just like the Cardenas family did this week.
“My dad hasn’t been in front of me for four years," she said. "I think him just being in the same room as me is going to be extremely surreal."