Caracas, September 11, 2022 (OrinocoTribune.com)—This Saturday, September 10, the Venezuelan government rejected, through a communique, the statement made on Friday by US Department of State spokesperson, Ned Price, labeling US Marine veteran and MVM Inc. “contractor” Matthew Heath’s detention as wrongful and his arrest as based on specious charges.
At the time of his capture in September 2020, Heath had allegedly already taken photos of strategic military and oil refining facilities in Zulia and Falcón states. He entered Venezuela illegally from Colombia through Paraguachón (Zulia state) and his final destination was Aruba. To avoid being detained at checkpoints, he “hired” National Guard 3rd Sergeant Major Darwin Adreizo Urdaneta Pardo, who would be his “safeguard.”
Today marks two years since U.S. citizen and Marine veteran Matthew Heath was wrongfully detained in Venezuela. We call on the Maduro regime to unconditionally release Matthew, and all other wrongfully detained U.S. nationals in Venezuela. https://t.co/JsEZnWPlzD
— Ned Price (@StateDeptSpox) September 9, 2022
According to Venezuela’s Attorney General Tarek William Saab, Heath was planning acts of sabotage in oil and electricity facilities. A grenade launcher, a sub-machine gun, C4 explosives and a satellite phone were seized during his capture. After being captured in Los Pedros, Mene de Mauroa municipality on the border between Falcón and Zulia (about 260 km from the Amuay refinery), he asked to speak with US embassy staff.
The communique issued by the Venezuelan Ministry for Foreign Affairs stressed Venezuela’s rejection, highlighting that most US citizens deprived of liberty in Venezuela have confessed their crimes. It was also pointed out that in Venezuela anyone, regardless of their nationality, can be subjected to investigation and punishment following due process if they are believed to have committed a crime. Adding that US citizens are no exception to this rule.
The statement also remarked on the importance of recent communication channels opened by the US government with Venezuela’s legitimate government lead by President Nicolás Maduro.
You can read the unofficial translation below:
Venezuela Rejects Statement on Americans Legitimately Deprived of Liberty in the Country
The Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela rejects the statement of the United States of America’s Department of State, in relation to United States citizens legitimately deprived of liberty in the country, for their alleged responsibility in the commission of serious crimes and that, in most cases are convicted and have confessed to the crimes they are accused of.
Venezuela is a democratic and social state of law and justice, where the institutions exercise their constitutional and legal powers to investigate and punish, with absolute guarantees of due process, any conduct that implies a crime codified in the national legal system, regardless of the nationality of the alleged perpetrator. Citizens of the United States of America are no exception.
It is unfortunate that the authorities of the United States insist on their claim to confer an unacceptable immunity or letter of marque on their nationals, in absolute disregard for sovereignty and self-determination.
The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, in all circumstances, will enforce the laws of the nation and its democratic institutions. In this sense, it vindicates the spaces and communication channels opened with the United States of America, in search for understanding on issues within the bilateral relationship.
Caracas, September 10, 2022
In recent weeks reports of a possible prisoner exchange between Venezuelan and Washington have been circulating, having Venezuelan diplomat Alex Saab—kidnapped and held captured in a US facility in Florida—and the so-called CITGO Six, along with US former marines Matthew Heath, Luke Denman and Airan Berry as the most relevant possible names being discussed, leaving the scale very unbalanced in favor of the United States.
Orinoco Tribune special
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