Venezuelan authorities release Local 10 reporter Cody Weddle

Posted March 09, 2019

Venezuela's Information Ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment on his release.

The union known by the Spanish abbreviation SNTP said Weddle and Camacho had been taken to military-police headquarters in east Caracas, where both were interrogated.

Weddle, 28, originally from Meadowview, Va., has been a freelance journalist based in Venezuela for the past four years.

White House national security adviser John Bolton announced that the USA was "putting foreign financial institutions on notice that they will face sanctions for being involved in facilitating illegitimate transactions that benefit Nicolas Maduro and his corrupt network".

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The special envoy for Venezuela Elliott Abrams and director of the U.S. Agency for International Development Mark Green told Congress that the administration is promoting a peaceful political transition in Venezuela.

He added that Germany will continue to recognize Guaido as Venezuela's legitimate interim president and support him in holding fresh elections. Weddle was at the main Caracas-area airport waiting for a USA -bound flight, according to the TV station he works for in Miami.

The move against Weddle anxious several Venezuela analysts, who see little logic to Maduro's authoritarian attacks against individual journalists.

Weddle lived in Venezuela since June 2014, covering the economic turmoil, political struggle and humanitarian crisis in the area.

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He said Weddle remained calm as the men packed some of his belongings into a suitcase and camera bag.

Weddle and Camacho were released Wednesday evening, and the American journalist was deported from the country, Weddle's lawyer, Theresly Malave, confirmed late Wednesday.

"Being a journalist is not a crime", tweeted Kimberly Breier, assistant Secretary of State for the Western Hemisphere.

Republican Sens. Marco Rubio and Rick Scott of Florida reacted to the news Wednesday, with Scott calling Weddle's detention "completely unacceptable".

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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. "This action must not stand, and I demand Cody's immediate and safe release", he said. "They were interested in a story I did about the current atmosphere in the armed forces", Cody is quoted to have told Local 10. Univision anchor Jorge Ramos was detained by government forces last month before eventually being released hours later.