Univision anchor Jorge Ramos and five members of his team were detained and later released in Caracas, Venezuela by President Nicolas Maduro on Monday during an interview in which the embattled president “didn’t like the questions” he was being asked, the network said.
Ramos, 60, was interviewing Maduro when the president “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 reported.
Along with Ramos, the network confirmed journalists María Martínez, Claudia Rondón, Francisco Urreiztieta, Juan Carlos Guzmán, Martín Guzmán were also detained for two hours.
Ramos said Maduro cut the interview short when the anchor showed him footage of children picking through garbage in the street.
“He didn’t like the things we were asking, about the lack of democracy in Venezuela, the torture of political prisoners, about the humanitarian crisis that they are living,” Ramos told the network upon his release.
Univision said earlier Monday that Ramos and his crew were “arbitrarily detained at the Miraflores Palace” because Maduro “didn’t like the questions” they were asking him.
A short time later, the network tweeted a photo of Ramos on his phone at the hotel where he’s staying — confirming he was released.
Ramos’ daughter, Paola Ramos, tweeted that the news anchor told her he was safe, and that 15 minutes into his interview, “Maduro stopped him & then forced him & his team into a dark room for 2.5 hours” before he was “released without any of his belongings.”
Ramos, according to a tweet from Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., was seemingly able to call Univision to explain what was happening “when the phone was taken from him & the call ended.”
During a visit to the Colombia border city of Cucuta last week, Rubio warned Venezuelan soldiers that they would commit a “crime against humanity” if they blocked the entry of U.S. aid being channeled through rivals of Maduro.
“This is an arrogant regime that feels invulnerable & is now acting with total impunity,” Rubio tweeted in response to Ramos and his team’s detainment.
Maduro, who began his second term as president in January, is not recognized by the U.S. or dozens of other countries as the legitimate president of Venezuela.
The U.S. and other nations have demanded Maduro step down and have recognized opposition leader Juan Guaido as Venezuela’s rightful leader. Venezuelans also have staged large protests to pressure Maduro to leave.
Vice President Mike Pence on Monday urged a 14-nation coalition of Latin American nations and Canada to freeze the assets of Venezuela’s state-owned oil company in response to violent clashes between security forces and opposition members over blocked humanitarian aid.
Speaking in Colombia, Pence repeated President Trump’s threat that “all options are on the table” to push out Maduro.
“It’s time to do more,” the vice president said. “The day is coming soon when Venezuela’s long nightmare will end, when Venezuela will once more be free, when her people will see a new birth of freedom, in a nation reborn to libertad.”
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