Statement by President Joe Biden on the return of Americans wrongfully detained in Venezuela

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Today, after years of being unjustly imprisoned in Venezuela, we bring home Jorge Toledo, Tomeu Vadell, Alirio Zambrano, Jose Luis Zambrano, Jose Pereira, Matthew Heath and Osman Khan. These individuals will soon be reunited with their families and back in the arms of their loved ones where they belong. I am grateful for the hard work of dedicated officials throughout the U.S. government who have made this possible and who continue to fulfill my administration’s unwavering commitment to loyalty to Americans around the world who are being held hostage and wrongly imprisoned to keep. Today we celebrate that seven families will be whole again. To all the families who are still suffering and are separated from loved ones who are unjustly imprisoned, know that we remain committed to their release.

It is also a priority of my administration to prevent Americans from enduring the unimaginable pain of being held hostage or wrongfully imprisoned. This summer I signed an executive order imposing new costs, including sanctions and visa bans, on perpetrators of such acts. In addition, the State Department has introduced a new “D” alert indicator designed to help Americans understand where and when travel may pose an increased risk of wrongful detention, potentially for long periods of time. If travelers decide to leave despite this “D” warning, they need to know that they are taking a massive personal risk and that it may not be feasible for the US government to secure their release.

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