The daughter of an American released from Venezuela says Marco Rubio’s criticism of the detainee exchange is “unpatriotic and useless”

The daughter of an American released from Venezuela says Marco Rubio's criticism of the detainee exchange is "unpatriotic and useless"
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the relative of two Americans freed this weekend in prisoner swap with Venezuela tore the Republican senator. Marco Rubio on Monday for his criticism of the exchange, criticizing his comments as “unpatriotic and unhelpful” and questioning his support for the seven wrongfully detained US citizens.

“I think those comments were extremely unhelpful and misinformed. He is… I am disappointed that a leader in our country perpetuates this myth that bringing our people home actually puts Americans at risk,” Alexandra Forseth, daughter of Alirio Zambrano and niece of José Luis Zambrano, two of the seven released. Americans, she told CNN’s Alex Marquardt on “New Day.”

“And, you know, what I would ask the Senator. Rubio is that you have supported bringing them home, you have done absolutely nothing for me or my family or most of these men, and any of the families can tell you that,” he continued. “And he even had a constituent from his state get released, and I was asking, what did you do for his family? How have you been supporting them?”

“I think his comments are unpatriotic and unhelpful,” Forseth said.

On Sunday, Rubio questioned the decision to exchange the seven Americans wrongfully detained for two Venezuelans jailed in the United States for conspiring to smuggle cocaine into the country, both nephews of Venezuelan first lady Cilia Flores. The Florida senator warned that the trade “endangers Americans around the world.”

“I wanted those people released as much as anyone, but every time you do this, now, others know, ‘I can take the Americans, I can hold them until I need something as a bargaining chip,’” Rubio, the top Republican in the Senate Intelligence Committee and a member of the Foreign Relations Committee, he told CNN’s Dana Bash on “State of the Union.”

“I think that seven innocent American hostages in exchange for two convicted drug traffickers, who turned out to be the nephews of (Venezuelan President Nicolás) Maduro, is a huge victory for Maduro and, unfortunately, it now puts Americans around the world in danger. ”. Rubio said.

The Zambrano brothers, along with Jorge Toledo, Tomeu Vadell and Jose Pereira, are five of the six American oil executives known as the “CITGO 6” detained in Venezuela more than four years ago. Two Americans who had been detained there, including one of the CITGO 6, were released in March following a visit by two top US government officials to Caracas. The other Americans released Saturday are Matthew Heath, a Navy veteran who was detained in September 2020, and Osman Khan, who had been detained since January 2022. The US government has classified all seven people as detainees. unfairly.

In August, Alirio Zambrano issued a handwritten plea to President Joe Biden to act decisively to free him and his wrongfully detained colleagues, telling Biden, “I am afraid I will never see my family again.”

“I don’t know how much longer we can wait; but I do know people who have died here, and I fear that the same fate may befall any of us at any time,” he wrote in the letter, dated Aug. 28.

Her daughter said on “New Day” that learning of her relatives’ return was the “greatest relief and euphoric feeling I could ever describe.”

“It’s been a great trial and tribulation, but I’m so thankful that we were finally able to bring them home,” Forseth said.

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