Miami reporter based in Venezuela detained

Miami Reporter Missing In Politically Collapsed Venezuela
Source AP

08 March, 2019

Maduro, who is fending off mounting worldwide pressure to cede power to the opposition leader and self-declared interim president Juan Guaidó, detained two French journalists in January who were filming outside the Miraflores presidential palace in Caracas.

Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza tweeted a statement saying Ambassador Daniel Kriener interfered in Venezuela's internal affairs and allied himself with "extremist sectors" of the opposition.

He told reporters in Berlin on that "there was information that he (Guaido) was meant to be arrested there, and I think the presence of various ambassadors contributed to helping prevent this arrest".

The German Ambassador to Venezuela, Daniel Kriener, has been ordered to leave the country having been declared "persona non grata" by the government.

Venezuelan opposition leader and self-declared acting president Juan Guaido speaks to supporters during a rally to bring pressure to the military to allow in USA humanitarian aid, in eastern Caracas on 12 February 2019. In early evening, Miami television station Local 10 reported that Weddle had been released and was at Simon Bolivar International Airport outside Caracas waiting to catch a flight back to the U.S.

"Venezuela is irrevocably free and independent, which is why actions by diplomatic representatives that implicate meddling in matters that are the exclusive realm of the Venezuelan people and state authorities are not and will not be allowed", the ministry said.

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

On Monday, the embassy said on its Twitter account that Kriener hoped Guaido's return 'was a step towards a peaceful and political process to overcome the Venezuelan crisis'.

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The bid was ultimately unsuccessful, and Maduro retains the support of the armed forces and control of state functions.

Tensions are escalating by the day in Venezuela, where US -backed Guaido seeks to oust President Nicolas Maduro.

Guaido said in a speech to opposition lawmakers that Kriener's expulsion 'must be taken as a threat to the free world'.

National Security Advisor John Bolton said the United States also is putting foreign financial institutions on notice that they will face sanctions if they facilitate "illegitimate transactions that benefit Nicolas Maduro and his corrupt network".

Cody Weddle, the American journalist who was detained and taken into custody by Venezuelan authorities early Wednesday morning, has been released and will soon be deported to the USA, several news outlets, including Spanish language newspapers, have reported.

Venezuelan officials have not commented.

Maduro, meanwhile, pressed his supporters to hold "anti-imperialist" marches Saturday to counter fresh protests planned by Guaido. The Maduro government's decision not to move against Guaido upon his return to Venezuela on Monday reflects the intense pressure Maduro faces and, possibly, a calculation that restraint is the best tactic for now.

He has vowed to set up a transitional government and hold new elections.

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