3 April 2007

31 US citizens arrested in Venezuela

Daily El Progreso reported yesterday that 31 US citizens have been detained in the Gran Sabana region, close to Santa Elena de Uairen in the Venezuela - Brazil border. Accusations of illegally practising medicine purportedly caused the arrest. Regional media were informed by an allegedly trustworthy source.

The 31 American citizens are kept incommunicado awaiting presidential orders, reported the source. It is believed that charges of spying or to be part of the CIA will be levied against them.

The group is composed by medical doctors, nurses and religious individuals.

Update: sources in Venezuela have just confirmed to me that the 31 US citizens are not in jail but have been 'asked' by the military to not leave the compound where they were.


Rancher said...

They must have been watching and learning from Iran. Chavez may find we and the Brits have different reactions to acts of war.

Scott said...

Dear Alek,

We are grateful for the concern you have shown and we are pleased to tell you the group landed in Miami on Tuesday, April 10th, at 1:15 a.m. Now that the group of students, faculty, staff and family has returned to the United States from Venezuela, we would now like to clarify a few points.

The original article in Diario El Progresso had several rather glaring errors we would like to correct:
1. There were 32, not 31, Americans.
2. While the group was comprised of doctors, nurses, and students from a Seventh-day Adventist college, none of them are religious workers. They were in the country as part of a semester abroad program studying and offering humanitarian assistance as part of a practicum. At no point was religion an issue.
3. They were no accusations of CIA infiltration.
4. As you have pointed out, the group was never detained, though they were asked to remain for a few days on the mission campus where they were staying. The government described this as protective custody. They were well treated and had plenty of supplies. Three guards were posted who joined the students for supper and evening worship, even learning a few songs.

For more information about the recent events in Maurak and what the group was doing in Venezuela, please visit Union College’s news.

Sincerely yours,
Scott Cushman
Assistant Director of Public Relations
Union College, Lincoln, Nebraska

Rita Loca said...

I was coming over to tell you about the email. I see you already received it as well.