Hagerty Urges State Department to Continue Working to Secure Tennessean Matthew Heath’s Release from Maduro Regime

September 15, 2022

Assistant Secretary of State Brian Nichols commits to working to secure his release

WASHINGTON—United States Senator Bill Hagerty (R-TN), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today received a renewed commitment from Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Brian Nichols to continue working to bring home Matthew Heath, a Tennessean who has been wrongfully detained by the Maduro Regime in Venezuela for over two years.

“Last week marked two years of Matthew Heath’s wrongful detention in Venezuela. That’s two years too long for Matthew, it’s two years too long for his family, and certainly it’s two years too long for me. Assistant Secretary Nichols, the Maduro regime should immediately and unconditionally release my fellow Tennessean, Matthew Heath,” Hagerty said.

In response, Assistant Secretary Nichols assured Hagerty that he shares his concerns about Heath’s detainment and is utilizing all State Department resources to secure his safe return to the United States. “Special Envoy for Hostage Affairs, Roger Carstens, has, as well as our ambassador, have raised this issue on multiple occasions with the Maduro regime. We’ve sought to do all that we can to secure his immediate and unconditional release. And in the meantime, we have insisted that the regime should ensure his safety and his health by improving the conditions of his confinement. We will continue to work tirelessly to secure the release of all wrongfully detained Americans in Venezuela.”

Hagerty has consistently raised his concern about Heath’s wrongful detainment and called for the Maduro regime to immediately release Heath, most recently drawing attention to Heath’s 500th day in detainment. 

“You know how concerned I am about the situation, and I appreciate your continued attention and focus on the issue. It is tragic. It’s certainly something Tennesseans all have their eye on,” Hagerty concluded.

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