An American journalist and his assistant have been detained and taken into custody by Venezuelan military counterintelligence forces on Wednesday morning, making him the latest reporter allegedly targeted by President Nicolás Maduro’s administration.
Cody Weddle, a Caracas-based reporter who has been covering the political uncertainty in Venezuela for WPLG Local 10 News in Miami, and his assistant, Carlos Camacho, a Venezuelan citizen, were detained after their respective residences were raided by officials.
“The [State Department] is aware of and deeply concerned with reports that another U.S. journalist has been detained in Venezuela by Maduro, who prefers to stifle the truth rather than face it,” Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Kimberly Breier said in a tweet.
.@StateDept is aware of and deeply concerned with reports that another U.S. journalist has been detained in #Venezuela by #Maduro, who prefers to stifle the truth rather than face it. Being a journalist is not a crime. We demand the journalist’s immediate release, unharmed.
— Kimberly Breier (@WHAAsstSecty) March 6, 2019
According to the television station, all efforts by management to reach Weddle have been unsuccessful. The last time his colleagues were able to reach him was Tuesday afternoon, the news outlet reported.
“We are working through various channels to get as much information as we can and to see that Cody is released,” said WPLG President & CEO E. R. Bert Medina. “Cody has been dedicated and committed to telling the story in Venezuela to our viewers here in South Florida. The arrest of a journalist doing his job is outrageous and unacceptable.”
Weddle, who is 29, has been reporting out of Caracas for four years, according to Espacio Publico, a free speech NGO. He has also worked as a freelancer for ABC News, Canadian Broadcast Corp. and The Miami Herald.
The Virginia-born reporter’s detention comes a week after Univision journalist Jorge Ramos was held in the presidential palace after an interview with Maduro went awry.
Ramos and his TV crew were eventually released and deported.
Florida Senator Rick Scott also attacked Maduro for the arrest on social media.
It is “completely unacceptable for
@NicolasMaduro and his thugs to detain @WPLGLocal10‘s Cody Weddle for reporting on the successful return of the legitimate Venezuelan President @jguaido,” Scott wrote in a tweet, demanding the reporter’s immediate release.
“The U.S. will not stand for this kind of intimidation,” he added.
He must be released immediately and the U.S. will not stand for this kind of intimidation! https://t.co/IiR0qpXO51
— Rick Scott (@SenRickScott) March 6, 2019