HOUSTON — More than a dozen families of American hostages and wrongful detainees gathered in Washington D.C. Wednesday.
Among them was a Houston woman whose father is one of the Citgo 6 detainees.
Alexandra Forseth launched “Bring Our Families Home,” a new effort to help American captives aboard.
"We’ve always prayed that these cases would be resolved before we ever had to meet, but here we are,” she said standing alongside other U.S. hostage families. Forseth’s relatives remain wrongfully detained in Venezuela.
“It's been over 4 and a half years now,” she said.
Her father, Alirio Jose Zambrano, and uncle, Jose Luis Zambrano, are among the group of six CITGO executives who traveled to Venezuela in 2017 and were arrested on what she says are false theft charges.
One of the Citgo 6, Gustavo Cardenas, and another man were allowed to return home in March.
More recently, former marine Trevor Reed came home from Russia after a prisoner exchange.
"The men from the Citgo 6, Gustavo recently was released in March, kind of what we felt with Trevor this huge surge of hope and momentum and then nothing,” said Forseth.
Forseth says the “Bring our Families Home” campaign calls on President Joe Biden to help their families reach similar deals.
"We end up figuring out the same thing. We have to get to President Biden. President Biden cares about family, cares about what's in the grey area to bring real solutions," Forseth said.
This week President Biden met with the Houston parents of abducted journalist Austin Tice.
"Generally speaking, the U.S. does not like to negotiate these types of prisoner transfers,” said Ryan Kennedy, an Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Houston.
He says bringing a detainee home involves several factors.
"These are all evaluated on a case-by-case basis, taking into account the condition of the person being held, their health, the charges against them.”
Forseth says she’s remaining hopeful.
"Knowing that there could be a possibility of reuniting at all is just this huge surge of joy.”