Several Americans who were detained in Venezuela have been returned to the United States as part of a deal between the Biden administration and the Venezuelan government.
In exchange for their release, an ally of President Nicolás Maduro, Alex Saab, was granted clemency and returned to Venezuela.
The Americans included those wrongfully detained and others involved in an attempted overthrow. (Trending: Judge Announces Historic Ruling In Jeffrey Epstein Case)
Additionally, a separate individual known as “Fat Leonard” was arrested and returned to the U.S.
The agreement also required the release of Venezuelan political prisoners and the suspension of arrest warrants for others.
The negotiations, facilitated by Qatar, aimed to pave the way for a competitive election in 2024 and the return of wrongfully detained Americans.
“Free at last, free at last. Thank God almighty, free at last,” Savoi Wright said. “Very emotional, exciting, grateful.”
“I didn’t know if I would ever make it out,” he added.
“We are grateful to the U.S. government for bringing Savoi home so quickly, to Mickey Bergman from the Richardson Center, to Jonathan Franks, who guided us the entire way, and to the many others who helped to bring Savoi home. We are forever grateful,” Wright’s family said.
President Biden emphasized ongoing efforts to secure the release of hostages and detained Americans worldwide.
“These individuals have lost far too much precious time with their loved ones, and their families have suffered every day in their absence,” Biden said.
“I am grateful that their ordeal is finally over, and that these families are being made whole once more.”
Biden “had to make the extremely difficult decision to offer something that the Venezuelan counterparts have actively sought,” an administration official said.
“And he made the decision to grant clemency to Alex Saab, who was pending trial for money laundering, and allow his return to Venezuela in what was essentially an exchange of 10 Americans and a fugitive from justice for one person returned to Venezuela.”
“We will not stop working until we bring them all home,” Biden said.