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Human Rights

Venezuela imprisoned 3 Americans accused of illegally entering the country

A spokesperson for the agency said they are working on trying to release them after being wrongfully detained

Venezuela
Venezuela | Novikov Aleksey

July 13, 2022 5:55am

Updated: July 13, 2022 12:31pm

Three Americans were quietly arrested in Venezuela earlier this year after they allegedly tried to enter the South American country illegally, reported The Associated Press. 

A lawyer from California and a computer programmer from Texas were arrested in March, days after Venezuela’s government released two other Americans from prison.

The two men, lawyer Eyvin Hernandez, 44, and the programmer, Jerrel Kenmore, 52, were arrested in separate incidents in the state of Tachira, according to a source that spoke with AP. The Venezuelan government accused both of entering the country illegally and of other unspecified offenses.

A third man was arrested in January along Venezuela's border with Colombia. His name has not yet been released due to safety reasons.

It is unknown why the three men traveled to Venezuela. 

The State Department confirmed the arrests of the three Americans. A spokesperson for the agency said they are working on trying to release them after being wrongfully detained. 

"We can confirm the arrest of U.S. citizens in Venezuela in January and March of this year," a State Department spokesperson said. "We take seriously our commitment to assist U.S. citizens abroad. Due to privacy considerations, we have no further comment."

Eight more Americans are imprisoned in Venezuela, including dive oil executives from Citgo Petroleum, a U.S.-based unit of Venezuela’s state oil company, and three veterans. U.S. officials claim that Maduro’s government is holding them to use them as political bargaining chips. 

The Biden administration has engaged in dialogues with Venezuela to secure the release of the other Americans imprisoned in the country. On March 8, negotiators achieved the release of two jailed Americans in the country. However, they have been unsuccessful in the release of the other eight Americans.