A team of American journalists led by Univision’s Jorge Ramos said they had their camera equipment and phones seized at Venezuela’s presidential palace after Nicolas Maduro abruptly ended an interview. (Feb. 26)
Univision News anchor Jorge Ramos detailed how Venezuelan authorities detained him and his team during an interview and later deported them from the country during a pair of television appearances on Tuesday night.
Ramos began Monday’s interview with embattled Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro by asking whether he is a president or dictator, Ramos told CNN. Maduro “didn’t like” the opening to what Ramos described as a contentious interview with “tough” questions.
About 17 minutes into their conversation, Ramos recalled Maduro saying the Venezuelan revolution was a success. Ramos disagreed and showed him a video of three young people eating trash out of garbage truck. In the cellphone video Ramos took, he said the young people blamed Maduro for their hunger and called for a new president.
“He just couldn’t take it,” Ramos told CNN. “He broke, he stood up, he tried to cover the image. And then he said, ‘The interview is over.'”
In response, Ramos said he asked, “Why don’t you simply just answer the question?”
After Maduro left, Ramos said authorities confiscated the Univision crew’s four cameras, cell phones and video cards storing the interview. Bodyguards detained the six journalists for two hours before releasing them, Ramos said, putting him in a dark room and taking his backpack.
Venezuelan agents kept watch outside their hotel all night, Ramos said, making sure they went directly to the airport Tuesday morning to follow expulsion orders. The U.S. and Mexican embassies in Caracas helped them into vehicles with bodyguards and escorted them to the airport, Ramos said.
“It was a difficult moment because we didn’t know what could happen,” Ramos told CNN. “It’s a dictatorship so they can do anything they want. We were concerned that at the airport at some point during our journey they could have kidnapped us or kept us in the country.”
Authorities have not returned the Univision journalists’ cameras or video cards, Ramos said on Fox News. They gave back Ramos’s cell phone, but not those of Maria Martinez, Claudia Rondon, Francisco Urreiztieta, Juan Carlos Guzman and Martin Guzman.
On Fox News, Ramos thanked Sean Hannity and the network for reporting on their detainment despite their differences on immigration and other issues.
“When I needed the support the most, I heard that you were talking about us in Venezuela,” Ramos told Hannity. “And that was incredibly important.”
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