US and Venezuela Make a Deal and Swap Prisoners

( – The Biden administration announced it had reached a deal with Venezuela on Wednesday, December 20. The South American nation released 10 Americans it was holding, and one fugitive the US was seeking in exchange for a single Venezuelan diplomat, a close ally of the country’s president Nicolás Maduro, charged with money laundering.

The US considered six of the American citizens held by Venezuela “wrongfully detained.” Jerrel Kenemore, Eyvin Hernandez, Joseph Cristella, Jason Saad, Savoi Wright, and Edgar Jose Marval Moreno arrived at Kelley Field at Joint Base San Antonio in Texas around 8 p.m. CST. The remaining four detainees and Leonard Francis, notoriously known as “Fat Leonard,” a fugitive criminal the Justice Department sought after he pleaded guilty to fraud and bribery, flew back to Miami.

The US and Venezuela suspended diplomatic relations in March 2019. Representatives from the two countries traveled with their respective detainees to the Grenadines in the West Indies and Canouan, a small Caribbean Island, part of St. Vincent, to make the trade. Under clemency granted by President Joe Biden, the US representatives released Alex Saab to their Venezuelan counterparts on the island. Saab returned to a hero’s welcome in Caracas and met with Maduro.

In addition to the prisoner exchange, the US negotiated the release of at least 20 political prisoners in Venezuela. It also secured an agreement with the Maduro government to pursue a plan for fair elections in 2024 in return for sanctions relief.

One report from January 2023 indicated US sanctions significantly contributed to the South American nation’s economic collapse and led to the unrelenting stream of refugees from there through Central America and Mexico to the US southern border. So, the Biden administration’s deal to return fair elections and potentially ease immigration numbers from their source over the long term might be a win-win.

~Here’s to Our Liberty!

Copyright 2023,