Maduro's Military Detains, Releases U.S. Reporter and Aide


"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", wrote Breier.

Earlier this month, the United States imposed new sanctions on six Venezuelan security officials and revoked the visas of dozens of associates and their families with ties to Maduro.

His assistant, Venezuelan Carlos Camacho, was freed after 12 hours in custody, according to the same group.

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

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The United States ratcheted up the pressure on Wednesday, with National Security Advisor John Bolton warning foreign banks that they could face sanctions if they participate in transactions benefiting Maduro.

A spokesman for the U.S. Embassy to Venezuela told Catholic News Service the embassy was aware of the arrest but could not share information. In January, Guaido, leader of the opposition-led National Assembly, declared himself interim president of Venezuela after allegations that Maduro's re-election a year ago was rigged.

Camacho was released in the evening after 12 hours in custody, the union said, while Miami television station WPLG Local 10 said Weddle had also been released and was at the main Caracas-area airport waiting to board a USA -bound flight.

Venezuelan officials have yet to explain why Weddle and Camacho were detained.

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Florida senator Marco Rubio, long one of Maduro's fiercest critics on the global stage, joined the chorus expressing outrage over Weddle's detention on Wednesday morning.

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. "We demand the journalist's immediate release, unharmed", Kimberly Breier, assistant secretary of state for western hemisphere affairs, said in a posting on Twitter.

The freelance journalist is a Virginia Tech alum and from Meadowview, Virginia, according to his sister Kelsey McMahan. "He said he was fine and wanted to know how I was". "They were interested in a story I did about the current atmosphere in the armed forces", Cody is quoted to have told Local 10.

"Despite the tense and complex political context, the European Union has been keen to maintain lines of communication with all key parties including the government", Kocijancic said.

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