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Venezuela ousts USA journalist, German envoy

09 March 2019

Lawyers and press freedom groups say Venezuelan security forces have seized a US journalist at his apartment amid the country's escalating political turmoil.

German ambassador to Venezuela Daniel Martin Kriener delivers a news conference next to Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido, who many nations have recognized as the country's rightful interim ruler, and accredited diplomatic representatives of the European Union in Caracas, Venezuela February 19, 2019.

The station's president said in a statement it can't reach Weddle and is concerned.

Politicians and relatives are urging Venezuelan officials to release a freelance journalist and Southwest Virginia native who was detained there after a raid on his home.

The incident is the second dispute between a U.S. journalist and the government of acting President Nicolas Maduro since he became embroiled in a power struggle with interim President Juan Guaido, which drew significant worldwide media attention to the beleaguered nation.

Many parts of Venezuela remained engulfed by darkness early Friday amid one of the largest power outages in years. "Both are being interrogated", the STNP tweeted. Camacho was released after close to 12 hours, according to SNTP.

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She recalled the EU's leading role in setting up the global contact group, where she said Germany plays an "active" role.

Espacio Publico, a Caracas-based media advocacy group, said 49 media workers have been detained in Venezuela over the past two months in a sign of an eroding environment of free speech.

Upon his release, Ramos explained that "He [Maduro] didn't like the things we were asking, about the lack of democracy in Venezuela, [about] the torture of political prisoners, about the humanitarian crisis that they are living".

The U.S. visas of other Venezuelan officials and their relatives have been revoked. "They wanted to know what kind of military people I've spoken to, what type of opposition politicians I know ... who were the opposition politicians I spoke to in the past few days". "Are you OK?'" she said.

"It appears I will not be coming back to Venezuela, but maybe I can tell the story from somewhere else", Weddle said.

The United States ratcheted up the pressure on Wednesday, with National Security Advisor John Bolton warning foreign banks that they could face sanctions if they participate in transactions benefiting Maduro. "We demand the journalist's immediate release, unharmed", Kimberly Breier, assistant secretary of state for western hemisphere affairs, said in a posting on Twitter.

Venezuela ousts USA journalist, German envoy