Louisiana political leaders are keeping a close eye on the developing situation in Venezuela, as Houston based Citgo, the American subsidiary of the country’s state-own oil company is responsible for the direct and indirect employment of thousands of Louisiana workers. Senator Bill Cassidy says of particular concern is the government’s yearlong detainment of a dual national, Tomeu Vadell, from Lake Charles.

“He was enticed to go down to Venezuela, and immediately imprisoned to make him the fall guy for the corruption and theft of millions of dollars from Citgo.”

Venezuela is facing a political crisis as a coalition of nations called for the resignation of current President Nicolas Maduro amid accusations of anti-democratic behavior.

The internationally backed opposition has also named their own acting President, potentially setting the scene for a violent confrontation. Cassidy says he’s been told if Maduro were to step down peacefully, intervention would not be needed, but if the government were to harm the Lake Charles native…

“We don’t want war in Venezuela, we don’t want the average Venezuelan to suffer any more than he or she already has, but if Tomeu is hurt, then the people responsible for Tomeu being hurt should be treated as war criminals.”

The opposition party in Venezuela has named a new board of directors for the American based Citgo, amid an international effort to seize control of the oil-rich nation’s assets from Maduro.

Cassidy says he’s working to maintain diplomatic contact with Vadell, even as the political situation in Venezuela deteriorates and grows more chaotic.

“His family has made it clear they are concerned for their father and husband. I share that concern, we have been working behind the scenes for a year now since he has been incarcerated, incarcerated without even charges being brought up.”

Vadell’s family says he’s lost about 40 pounds since his incarceration began.

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