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Thursday marks fifth Thanksgiving in captivity for ‘CITGO 6′

Published: Nov. 23, 2021 at 7:21 PM CST
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Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - Sunday made four years since the men known as the “CITGO 6″ were taken and jailed in Venezuela, and this Thanksgiving will be the fifth that six executives have been apart from their loved ones.

It’s heartbreaking for the family of Tomeu Vadell that four years have passed since they have been together, but efforts to win his release continue to go on.

Tears flow as Dennysse Vadell reflects that this is the fifth Thanksgiving without her husband Tomeu, still imprisoned in Venezuela.

“You can never lose hope, that’s the last thing you lose,” Dennysse said. “And Tomeu has taught me a lot about that because he’s more strong than I am.”

Yet efforts to win their release continue forward.

The U.S. State Department issued an anniversary statement entitled, “Four years of wrongful detention for the CITGO 6,” and other agencies, including the United Nations and an International Criminal Court, are also involved.

Tomeu’s daughter Cristina says citizens should be able to have confidence their government is looking out for them. She says her father should be home by now.

“Yea, I think there’s been opportunities. I think there continue to be opportunities,” Cristina said. “Our hope is that they will be seized and that a solution can happen. We radically believe that. And we must. It’s our loved one. We want him home. It’s been too long.”

As time goes by, Tomeu Vadell misses family milestones.

“I can’t believe my husband hasn’t been able to hold the baby, our first grandbaby. It’s just so sad and so unjust,” Dennysse said.

Dennysse and Cristina were in Washington D.C. last week, and the family gathered Sunday to observe the somber anniversary and keep hope alive as they await the outcome of an appeal court hearing.

The Vadells say on this Thanksgiving they are grateful for the prayers, love and support of so many, and they ask for people’s continuing advocacy for the release of their loved one.

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