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Update on US citizens detained in Venezuela

By Aleksander Boyd

London 10.04.07 | What follows is an email I have just received in relation to an earlier post about the detention of 31 US citizens in Venezuela. Before posting I confirmed it with a source in Venezuela who stressed that the incident was resolved as noted and added that the number of US citizens detained was 33.

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 Progreso 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

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