PanamaTimes

Thursday, May 23, 2024

LA man jailed in Venezuela begs for Biden not to forget him

LA man jailed in Venezuela begs for Biden not to forget him

A Los Angeles attorney detained in Venezuela is pleading for help from the Biden administration, saying in a jailhouse message that he feels forgotten by the U.S. government as he faces criminal charges at the hands of one of the nation’s top adversaries.
Eyvin Hernandez, who has been detained for five months, describes in the recording how he has dedicated the past 15 years to public service as an employee of the Los Angeles County public defender’s office, seeking fair treatment for often penniless clients.

“No one should be abandoned at the time of their greatest need and when they’re most vulnerable,” he said in the almost two-minute recording, which was provided to The Associated Press by Hernandez’s family. “However, I don’t feel like my government feels that way about me.”

In a calm voice, Hernandez said he and other Americans imprisoned in Venezuela — there are at least 10, including five oil executives and three veterans — feel “like our government has abandoned us.”

Hernandez’s appeal comes as the Biden administration is under pressure to do more to bring home roughly 50 Americans it believes have been wrongfully detained by hostile governments around the world. Much of the focus is on Russia, where the U.S. has taken the unusual step of proposing a swap of a convicted arms dealer for WNBA All-Star Brittney Griner. U.S. officials have for months been quietly pursuing a separate deal with Nicolás Maduro’s socialist government in Venezuela, which holds the largest contingent of Americans suspected of being used as bargaining chips.

Henry Martinez said his brother sent him the voice message Aug. 21. A copy was also provided to the State Department, which has been weighing whether to turn Hernandez’s case over to the administration’s special presidential envoy for hostage affairs, Roger Carstens.

In the recording, Hernandez said it’s been months since he or any of his fellow Americans have seen a courtroom, nor do they have any hopes of getting a fair trial.

“This place is meant to break you psychologically and spiritually,” he said of confinement at a maximum security prison housing many of Maduro’s opponents. “We’re all innocent, yet we’re being charged and treated as terrorists.”

He said the uncertainty, isolation and human rights violations are taking a toll, with two Americans having already attempted suicide and a third on the brink with daily mental breakdowns.

“If you don’t get us out soon, then there might not be anyone left to save,” he said.

The AP was unable to verify Hernandez’s claims. But United Nations officials have long complained about the lack of independence for Venezuelan judges and prosecutors and about conditions at the facility where Hernandez and several other Americans are being held.

A State Department spokesman declined to comment on Hernadez’s case, citing privacy limitations, but said the agency continuously reviews the detentions of Americans overseas. He also noted that the U.S. government has issued an advisory warning Americans to avoid all travel to Venezuela due to the risk of wrongful detentions and threats from illegal armed groups, especially along the country’s porous borders.

Hernandez, who turned 44 in jail, was arrested March 31 along the Colombia-Venezuela border. His family says he traveled there from the city of Medellin with a Venezuelan friend who needed to get her passport stamped to resolve an issue with her migratory status in Colombia. His family said he never intended to enter Venezuela, and he was due to fly home three days later.

But the two apparently fell into the hands of criminal gangs.

Upon arrival by bus to the city of Cucuta, they hailed a taxi for the short drive to the Simon Bolivar International Bridge, according to an account Hernandez shared with his family. A fourth individual hopped in the front seat, purportedly offering his services as a guide who could help them navigate the confusion at the border, an area overrun by squatters, criminal gangs and a mass of people making their way back and forth in illegal crossings.

Before they knew it, the cab was stopped along a dirt path, and the two were ordered to get out and walk across the invisible border separating the two countries.

Once Hernandez realized his mistake, it was too late to turn back. A man carrying a rifle demanded he cough up $100, according to his family. When he protested that he didn’t have any cash, they put a hood over his head.

When his captors found his American passport, they told him he was in trouble and handed him over to security forces, who kept him incommunicado for weeks.

Adding to the Hernandez family’s anguish is the fact that he isn’t classified as wrongfully detained, a definition that covers Americans believed innocent or jailed for the purpose of exacting concessions from the U.S. Without such designation, a process that can take months, the U.S. government’s ability to push for his release is limited.

At least three of the 11 other Americans known to be detained in Venezuela are in a similar state of limbo. They include Jerrel Kenemore, a computer programmer arrested within a week of Hernandez, and two former Green Berets who took part in a blunder-filled beach attack in 2020 aimed at overthrowing Maduro.

Biden last month signed an executive order aimed at providing more information to families of Americans detained abroad and imposing stiff sentences on the criminals, terrorists and government officials holding them.

Maduro’s socialist government is a harsh critic of U.S. foreign policy. But more recently, as the Biden administration has shown a willingness to review the Trump-era policy of punishing Maduro with sanctions and calling for regime change, the outlook for a possible release has improved.

In March, the Maduro government freed two Americans following a surprise trip to Caracas by senior White House and State Department officials, including Carstens, who met with Hernandez in a subsequent wellness check on detained Americans in June. Maduro also vowed to resume negotiations with his opponents, although has so far failed to follow through.
Comments

Oh ya 2 year ago
Ask anyone in jail if they are guilty or in innocent. They are all innocent according to them.

Newsletter

Related Articles

PanamaTimes
0:00
0:00
Close
El Salvador's Bitcoin Holdings Reach $350 Million
Teens Forming Friendships with AI Chatbots
WhatsApp Rolls Out Major Redesign
Neuralink's First Brain Implant Experiences Issue
Apple Unveils New iPad Pro with M4 Chip, Misleading AI Claims
OpenAI to Announce Google Search Competitor
Apple Apologizes for Controversial iPad Pro Ad Featuring Instrument Destruction
German politician of the AFD party, Marie-Thérèse Kaiser was just convicted & fined $6,000+
Changpeng Zhao Sentenced to Four Months in Jail
Biden Administration to Relax Marijuana Regulations
101-Year-Old Woman Mistaken for a Baby by American Airlines: Comical Mix-Up during Flight Check-in
King Charles and Camilla enjoying the Inuit voice singing performance in Canada.
New Study: Vaping May Lower Fertility in Women Trying to Get Pregnant
U.S. DOJ Seeks Three-Year Sentence for Binance Founder Changpeng Zhao
Headlines - Thursday, 23 April 2024
Illinois Woman Wins $45M Lawsuit Against Johnson & Johnson and Kenvue for Mesothelioma Linked to Baby Powder
Panama's lates news for Friday, April 19
Creative menu of a Pizza restaurant..
You can be a very successful player, but a player with character is another level!
Experience the Future of Dining: My Visit to an AI-Powered Burger Joint
Stabbing rampage terror attack in Sydney, at least four people killed, early reports that a baby was among those stabbed.
Iran fired more than 300 drones and missiles at Israel overnight. Israel Reports Light Damage After Iran Launches Large Strike.
I will never get enough of his videos and the pure joy and beauty of these women!!
Scientists at the University of Maryland have developed an "invisibility cloak", for AI using adversarial patterns on a sweater, making the wearer nearly undetectable to standard object detection methods.
Lamborghini Bids Farewell to Its Best-Selling Sports Car: The Huracán
Sam Bankman-Fried Appeals 25-Year Prison Sentence for $8bn FTX Fraud
OJ Simpson, ex-NFL star who was acquitted of murder, dies aged 76
British Backpacker Imprisoned in Notorious Bolivian Prison: Family Raises Funds for Legal Fight and Essentials
Argentina: Venezuela Cuts Power to Embassy after Opposition Meeting
El Salvador Offers 5,000 Passports to Skilled Foreign Workers: Tax-Free Relocation and Citizenship
Panama Papers Trial Begins: Founders of Mossack Fonseca Face Money-Laundering Charges
75 Becomes the New 65: Retiring in Your 60s Unrealistic as Life Expectancy Increases and Costs Rise
Total Solar Eclipse of 2021: 32 Million Witness the Mystical, $1.5bn Spectacle Sweep Across North America
New shopping experience…
New world, new reality, let’s get used to it
UK Company Passes Milestone in Developing Space-Based Solar Power, Aiming to Power a Million Homes and Provide Constant Energy
Mexico Breaks Diplomatic Ties with Ecuador after Police Storm Embassy, Arrest Former Vice President
Monty Python were so ahead of their time
If there's a will, there's a way!
Rules about how to dress are important, but not so much if you have a lot of money.
Body Armor Firm Showcases Stab-Proof Vest in Demo on CEO
Mexico Cuts Diplomatic Ties with Ecuador After Embassy Stormed in Quito
Here is a tattoo idea, for engineers
Zoraya Ter Beek, a 28-year-old woman from the Netherlands, will undergo euthanasia in May due to severe mental health challenges
Here's a video featuring Fidel Castro, where he discusses his stance against war and his commitment to preserving life, positions that have put him at odds with the USA:
Woman reaches behind and steals gun from a security guard and shoots three people while getting detained in Chile
Take a walk around the safe and thriving downtown San Salvador.
Joe Biden criticised by Trump campaign for declaring Transgender Day of Visibility on Easter Sunday
Macron says France will help Brazil develop nuclear-powered submarines
A video demonstrating women's self defense class in 1930
×