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A Univision news team, led by Jorge Ramos, was detained in Venezuela following an interview with embattled Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, the network said Monday.
In a statement posted on its Twitter account, Univision said that Ramos and his team “is being arbitrarily detained at the Miraflores Palace in Caracas. They were interviewing @NicolasMaduro but he didn’t like the questions. Their technical equipment was also confiscated.”
Kimberly Breier, Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, elaborated by saying in a follow-up tweet, “We insist on their immediate release. The world is watching.”
According to a press release from Univision News, “Ramos was conducting an interview with Maduro who became upset with the line of questioning and ordered the seizure of the video and Univision equipment, including TV and phones, as well as the detention of the journalists.”
Univision confirmed that the team were “later released unharmed.”
In a telephone interview on Univision shortly after the incident, Ramos, speaking from the safety of their hotel, said the news crew was detained for more than two hours in Palacio Miraflores, the presidential palace.
“What happened was that we had an interview with [Venezuelan] leader Nicolas Maduro and about 17 minutes into the interview he didn’t like the things we were asking him regarding the lack of democracy in Venezuela, about the torture of political prisoners and about the humanitarian crisis,” said Ramos.
He added: “So, after showing him images of young people eating out of a garbage truck he got up during the interview and then one of his ministers, Jorge Rodríguez, came to us and told us the interview was not authorized, and they confiscated our equipment. They took our cameras, kept our interview material and took all of our cellular phones.”
Ramos said they were then interrogated in a dark room for more than two hours before being freed.
“We didn’t know what was going to happen to us back then, nor what what was happening with the rest of the group, a group of seven journalists,” he said in a video posted to his Facebook page. “They didn’t give us our equipment nor our material and still at this point we don’t have a cell phone or the interviews. They don’t want the world to see what we did.”
En este momento el equipo de @uninoticias expulsado de Venezuela salimos del hotel en Caracas rumbo al aeropuerto. Estamos siendo acompañados por personal de las embajadas de Mexico y Estados Unidos. @jorgeramosnews @danielcoronell pic.twitter.com/01UcnCQUn9
— Pedro Ultreras (@pedroultreras) February 26, 2019
Feb. 25, 6:10 p.m. Updated to reflect statement from Univision News.
Feb. 25, 8:00 p.m. Updated with Ramos’ interview with Univision News.
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