Venezuelan authorities release detained US journalist

According to the SNTP, Weddle was detained at his Caracas home at 8:00 am and his work equipment was confiscated. He is now at an airport in Maiquetia and travelling to Miami, his relieved mother told CNN.

McMahan said her mother, who is a schoolteacher, was able to get in touch with the proper authorities to call for his release.

Weddle's outlet reported that he was being deported.

The United States has identified efforts by Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro to work with foreign banks to move and hide money and is ready to sanction the banks in the near future, a senior US administration official said on Wednesday.

WPLG said it was last in contact with Weddle on Tuesday afternoon.

Venezuela's Ministry of Communication declined to comment.

According to the country's National Union of Press Workers, detentions have surged this year, with Camacho and Weddle joining 34 local and global reporters, photographers and producers taken into custody in the past two months.

A Venezuelan union representing members of the press said there are 36 cases in which journalists and other press employees have been illegally detained since the start of 2019.

Weddle is the latest in a series of foreign journalists to be taken into custody in Venezuela. Last week, Univision anchor Jorge Ramos was detained for several hours after a contentious interview with Maduro.

As of 4 p.m., both men were reported to have been undergoing interrogation inside the Boleita headquarters of the DGCIM, the Venezuelan military's counterintelligence agency.

Mexican journalist Jorge Ramos looks on before receiving the excellence award at the Gabriel Garcia Marquez journalism awards in Medellin, on September 29, 2017.

Just a day earlier, a representative for the U.S. State Department's Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs told the Washington Examiner: "We hold Nicolas Maduro and those who surround him fully responsible for the safety and welfare of interim President Guaido and his family". "This action must not stand, and I demand Cody's immediate and safe release", he said.

Even though the United States immediately recognized Guaido after he declared himself an interim president and some 50 countries followed suit, Russia, China and a number of other states have voiced their support for Maduro.

Turkey, Russia, Iran, Cuba, China and Bolivia reiterated their support for Maduro, who vowed to cut all diplomatic and political ties with the U.S. Maduro insists he is a victim of a U.S. -orchestrated coup amid a spiraling economic and humanitarian crisis in the country.

Senator Marco Rubio said on Twitter: "They do this for one reason alone, to intimidate journalists from reporting on Guaido and on conditions in Venezuela".


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