US Marine Corps veteran Matthew Heath, a US citizen named Osman Khan, and Citgo Petroleum executives held for years in a prison in Caracas were released, Reuters reported with reference to the White House. They were exchanged for two nephews of Maduro's wife, who were arrested and put on trial in 2015.
The transfer of prisoners, which one US official said took place at an airport in an unspecified third country, was preceded by months of secret negotiations with the Venezuelan government. At the same time, there are no relations between Washington and Caracas today - the country has been under strict US and OPEC sanctions for many years.
The Maduro government issued a statement saying that as a result of difficult negotiations that began in March, two young Venezuelans, Francy Flores and Efrain Antonio Campo Flores, were released, "unfairly" convicted in the United States. They were exchanged for a group of citizens whom Venezuela released "for humanitarian reasons".
Meanwhile, at least four more Americans are still being held in Venezuela. Among them are two former US Army Special Forces officers Luke Denman and Airan Berry, who were arrested in 2020 in connection with an unsuccessful raid aimed at overthrowing the legitimate authority of Nicolos Maduro.