Univision anchor Jorge Ramos deported from Venezuela after Maduro interview
Jorge Ramos, anchor of Spanish-language U.S. television network Univision, shows a video of young Venezuelans eating from a garbage truck, while talking to the media, in Caracas - Photo: Carlos Garcia Rawlins/REUTERS

Univision anchor Jorge Ramos deported from Venezuela after Maduro interview

26/02/2019
13:29
Reuters
Caracas
Carlos Garcia Rawlins & Sarah Marsh
-A +A
Short detentions and deportations have become common, especially as reporters facing delays for official permissions seek shortcuts to report in Venezuela

Venezuela on Tuesday deported a team from U.S. television network Univision after anchor Jorge Ramos said authorities detained them at the presidential palace because President Nicolás Maduro was upset by their interview questions.

Ramos, a veteran anchor born in Mexico, told Mexican broadcaster Televisa that Maduro became annoyed when they showed him a video of young Venezuelans eating from a garbage truck, a sign of widespread food shortages across the country.

The six-person team was held for more than two hours and had their equipment confiscated, Ramos told reporters on Monday evening after arriving back at his Caracas hotel which was surrounded by intelligence agents.

Ramos left the hotel on Tuesday morning guarded by personnel from the U.S. and Mexican embassies while intelligence agents escorted them to Caracas’ Maiquetia airport. They left on a midday flight to Miami, according to witnesses.

“They didn’t give us a reason” for the deportation, Ramos told reporters as he arrived at the terminal. “They just said to us last night that we had been expelled from the country.”

Venezuela’s socialist government has long had a tense relationship with Western media, which it largely considers hostile and in league with “imperialistinterests.

Short detentions and deportations have become common, especially as reporters facing delays for official permissions seek shortcuts to report in Venezuela.

That has come into the spotlight over the past month as Maduro faces his biggest political challenge since he replaced Hugo Chávez six years ago, with dozens of countries recognizing his rival Juan Guaidó as the country’s legitimate leader.

At least seven foreign journalists who flew in to cover the turmoil were briefly detained in January.

Ramos said he asked Maduro about the lack of democracy in Venezuela, the torture of political prisoners, and the country’s humanitarian crisis.

Information Minister Jorge Rodríguez said on Twitter the government had in the past welcomed hundreds of journalists to the Miraflores presidential palace, but it did not support “cheap shows” put on with the help of the U.S. Department of State.

Venezuela’s government accuses the United States, which is openly pushing for Maduro to step down, of attempting to orchestrate a coup. Washington earlier on Monday targeted Venezuela with new sanctions and called on allies to freeze assets of its state-owned oil company PDVSA.

The moves came after Venezuelan security forces violently drove back opposition attempts at the weekend to bring humanitarian aid, including U.S. supplies, into the country against the will of Maduro.
 

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