The following article by JOSHUA GOODMAN and JOHN L. MONE was published by the Associated Press on February 19, 2019.
A faint voice comes through the crackled phone line. On the other end, Tomeu Vadell, speaking from a military counterintelligence prison in Venezuela’s capital, asks his daughters in Louisiana whether they’ve gone to church and says he plans to spend his Sunday doing pushups to keep his body and spirit intact.
The call ends abruptly after two minutes, leaving Cristina and Veronica Vadell wondering when they’ll next hear from their dad, who along with five other executives from Houston-based Citgo has spent 15 months jailed in Venezuela on what their families say are trumped-up corruption charges
“He always tells us they can take away his freedom but never his dignity,” said 27-year-old Cristina, who has followed in her father’s footsteps and is an oil engineer in Lake Charles, Louisiana, where she has lived most of her life.