Venezuela: US journalist reportedly arrested in early-morning raid

Geraldine Edwards
March 8, 2019

In an interview with Telemundo Wednesday night, Pence reiterated the White House's support for Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido, but said there is "no timeline" on the USA push for regime change.

The government gave Kriener 48 hours to leave the country, but did not provide specific details on why he was being expelled. Weddle was at the main Caracas-area airport waiting for a USA -bound flight, according to the TV station he works for in Miami.

Weddle becomes the latest journalist to be detained by the embattled Venezuelan president as the crisis to deliver humanitarian aid to the country's residents escalates.

He noted that the situation remains very fluid both on the ground in terms of global recognition of opposition leader Juan Guaido, who has declared himself president.

"Before I heard anything I saw on Facebook Messenger - Cody Weddle, he had messaged me and said, 'Hi, I'm fine, '" McMahan recalled.

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The reporter said his interrogators came from a Venezuelan counter-espionage agency and accused him of "treason, espionage, and removing military artifacts".

Mr Guaido denounces Mr Maduro as a scammer whose re-election a year ago was fraudulent, and says his regime is to blame for an economic meltdown that has led to widespread food and medicine shortages and hyperinflation.

"The State Department is aware of and deeply concerned with reports that another US journalist has been detained in Venezuela by Maduro, who prefers to stifle the truth rather than face it", Kimberly Breier, an assistant secretary in the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs, wrote in a tweet.

Guaido said Kriener's expulsion will be seen "as a threat to the free world". "They were interested in a story I did about the current atmosphere in the armed forces".

The State Department "is aware of and deeply concerned with reports that another USA journalist has been detained in (hash) Venezuela by (hash) Maduro, who prefers to stifle the truth rather than face it", Kimberly Breier, the assistant secretary of state for the Western Hemisphere, said in a tweet.

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WPLG reported on its website that its management's attempts to reach Weddle "have proven unsuccessful" and that his last contact with station employees was on Tuesday afternoon. Guaido had just returned from a 10-day tour of South American allies, defying a government-issued ban on him leaving the country.

United States envoy Abrams said that given Maduro's low popularity, it would be "a gift" if he chose to run in fresh polls.

An American journalist who was detained in Venezuela on Wednesday by government officials has been released.

"They do this for one reason alone, to intimidate journalists from reporting on Juan Guaido and on conditions in Venezuela", Rubio said. The 35-year-old politician has pledged to set up a transitional government and hold new elections to unseat Maduro, who is backed by China, Russia and Turkey.

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