Venezuelan dictator Nicolas Maduro detained Univision reporter Jorge Ramos and the six members of his team for three hours Monday at the presidential palace in Caracas. Their equipment was confiscated. They were released and will be expelled today, CNN reported.
Ramos says he showed Maduro video of desperate people “eating from a garbage truck.” And “when I showed him these images, he said that the interview was over.”
Univision’s news executives were able to find out what happened, he said, because “Jorge managed to call us.” But “in the middle of the call, they took his phone away.”
The network immediately contacted the US State Department. Kimberly Breier, the Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, tweeted out, “We insist on their immediate release; the world is watching.”
Groups like Human Rights Watch called for the release of the journalists.
THEY WILL BE EXPELLED TUESDAY
After the team was released, Univision broke into programming for a special report — with Ramos joining by phone. He said Maduro “got up from the interview after I showed him the videos of some young people eating out of a garbage truck.”
“They interrogated us. They put us in a security room. They turned off the lights,” he said.
Ramos called the episode a “violation.” He said Maduro’s aides still had the tapes. “They have stolen our work and are trying to keep what is happening from airing,” he said.
Pedro Ultreras, a member of the Univision team in Venezuela, tweeted late Monday that immigration officials told the journalists that they will be expelled from Venezuela and must leave Tuesday morning.
“The hotel we are staying in is surrounded by Venezuelan authorities, we cannot go outside,” he said.
The first clip below is one that Maduro wants to be hidden from the public eye. Many commenters on this clip mostly say they think it’s fake or people eat out of the garbage all over the world. But a number are connected to pro-Maduro Spanish-language newspapers.
Estas son las imágenes que @jorgeramosnews le mostró a Nicolás Maduro y que provocaron que Maduro se levantara de la entrevista, que retuvieran al equipo de Univision y que confiscaran su trabajo. Esto es lo que Maduro no quiere que vea el mundo. pic.twitter.com/UfSZ3lr5Jm
— Enrique Acevedo (@Enrique_Acevedo) February 26, 2019
In a somewhat related event, Bernie Sanders was asked why he will not call Maduro a dictator. The easy answer is because he admires people like him — Castro and Ortega to name two. But here’s his answer:
CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer “Senator, why have you stopped short of calling Maduro of Venezuela a dictator?”
“Well, he — I think it’s fair to say that the last election was undemocratic. But there are still democratic operations taking place in their country.”
“The point is, what I am calling for right now is internationally supervised free elections. And I do find it interesting that Trump is very concerned about what goes on in Venezuela, but what about the last election that took place in Saudi Arabia? Oh, there wasn’t any election in Saudi Arabia. Oh, women are treated as third-class citizens, so I find it interesting that Trump is kind of selective as to where he is concerned about democracy.”
“My record is to be concerned about democracy all over the world. So we’ve got to do everything we can, but at the end of the day, it’s gonna be the people of Venezuela who determine the future of their country, not the United States.”
In other words, he won’t answer and will point to bad behaviors by others.