Venezuela expels German ambassador for backing Guaido

Friday, 08 Mar, 2019

An American journalist was reportedly detained in Venezuela on Wednesday morning - and hasn't been heard from since.

The German Embassy said on its Twitter account on Monday that Kriener hoped Guaido's return "was a step towards a peaceful and political process to overcome the Venezuelan crisis".

"Maduro holds the presidency illegally".

Weddle had been detained during a raid Wednesday morning. WPLG, the news station Weddle works for in South Florida, also confirmed his release. "He was not hurt, but he said he was without food and water during the interrogation", WPLG reported.

Neither Venezuela's information ministry nor the U.S. State Department immediately responded to requests for comment. I'm a little anxious about my mom.

Weddle said his personal electronics were searched by interrogators but eventually returned to him.

Weddle was in the custody of Venezuela's Dirección General de Contrainteligencia Militar, a military agency that investigates espionage. They also seized Weddle's assistant, Venezuelan journalist Carlos Camacho.

In the statement, Nicolas Maduro's administration accused him and the German government of "crass" and "unlawful" meddling.

Trump's Venezuela envoy Elliott Abrams-whose role in USA -backed massacres and genocide and Latin America during the 1980s has come under scrutiny since his appointment in January-said during a Senate subcommittee hearing on Thursday that the administration is planning to "expand the net" of sanctions against Venezuelan institutions.

Weddle's detention came one week after Univision journalist Jorge Ramos was held in the presidential palace for hours; his cellphone, cameras and SIM cards were taken when he asked interview questions Maduro did not like.

He said Weddle remained calm as the men packed some of his belongings into a suitcase and camera bag.

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.

Earlier, Guaido demanded Weddle's release, saying he had been "kidnapped" as part of an attempt to hide what is going on in Venezuela.

-Rep. Ro KhannaThe progressives also slammed the Trump White House for "crippling" millions of ordinary Venezuelans with unilateral sanctions.

President Nicolas Maduro's autocratic regime has arrested 36 journalists and press workers this year, including Weddle and Camacho, according to STNP. He started his work in Caracas with Telesur, a Venezuelan government network. The bulk of his personal possessions were left behind in his Caracas apartment, to which he will apparently not be permitted to return. Weddle was circumspect about leaving what has been his home for nearly five years. "Cody has been dedicated and committed to telling the story in Venezuela to our viewers", Medina said.