US officials are saying Venezuela may have used threats to obtain the freedom of a former general detained in Aruba at the request of the American government.

In a statement released Monday morning, U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki says there are credible reports that Venezuela threatened the governments of Aruba, the Netherlands and others to force the release of former military intelligence chief Hugo Carvajal.

Carvajal was arrested when he arrived to serve as Venezuela's consul on the Dutch Caribbean island of Aruba. On Sunday, the Netherlands ruled that he was protected by diplomatic immunity.

Carvajal returned to Caracas Sunday night and received a hero's welcome at the convention of the national socialist party. President Nicolas Maduro invited him onstage and called his return a great satisfaction.