Venezuela deports US-based anchor Jorge Ramos who showed Nicolas Maduro footage of food scavengersFebruary 27, 2019
Veneuzela on Tuesday deported a celebrated US television anchor from the country, after his interview with President Nicolas Maduro turned sour and he was briefly detained for asking unpalatable questions. "We’re leaving, expelled from Venezuela, for asking questions – simply for that," said Jorge Ramos, the high-profile anchor for Miami-based Latino network Univision. "Our cameras and video memory cards have been stolen by the government. But we’re going to keep asking questions," he added, walking through Caracas airport. Ramos was detained beneath Miraflores presidential palace late on Monday night, after a televised interview with Mr Maduro took a turn for the worse. Ramos, a household name in Latin America, was 17 minutes into the interview when he showed Mr Maduro footage of young Venezuelan men in Caracas following a bin lorry, rifling through the rubbish as it was thrown into the back and eating the filthy scraps of food they found. “He didn’t like the things we were asking him about the lack of democracy in Venezuela, the torture and the political prisoners,” said Ramos. Soldiers unleash tear gas during trouble at Venezuela border, in pictures He said he and his team were held for more than two hours, and their equipment confiscated – including their phones and memory cards. “We don’t have anything,” he said. “They confiscated the interviews.” Venezuela’s communications minister did not deny that Ramos was held, but blamed the reporter for staging “a cheap show” which he said was directed by the US state department. He added: “Hundreds of journalists have come through, who have received the decent treatment that we always give to those who do journalistic work.” Short detentions and deportations have become common, especially as reporters facing delays for official permissions seek shortcuts to report in Venezuela. This has come into the spotlight over the past month as Mr Maduro faces his biggest political challenge since he replaced Hugo Chavez six years ago, with dozens of countries recognising his rival Juan Guaido as the country’s legitimate leader. Venezuelan children, who attend school on the Colombian side of the border, have been blocked from class after the border between both countries was closed Credit: AP Photo/Fernando Llano At least seven foreign journalists who flew in to cover the turmoil were briefly detained in January. A group of MEPs were also turned back at the airport, with the Venezuelan government claiming they came to Venezuela with suspicious intent. Mr Guaido was on Tuesday still in Bogota, having left the country ahead of the planned delivery of humanitarian aid on Saturday. It was unclear when, or how, he would return, given that Mr Maduro banned him from entering the country. The aid delivery ended in fiasco as the convoys were blocked, a truck of supplies was burnt, four died and 300 were injured in violent skirmishes between Venezuelan troops and Mr Guaido’s supporters. A Colombian police officer in Cucuta, Colombia, looks across the border at Venezuelan security forces Credit: RAUL ARBOLEDA/AFP/Getty Images Mr Maduro says that the aid convoy was an excuse for US military intervention. “They are trying to fabricate a crisis to justify political escalation and a military intervention in Venezuela to bring a war to South America,” he said, speaking to ABC news in his first interview with a US network in many years. "The extremist Ku Klux Klan government that Donald Trump directs wants a war over oil, and more than just oil." Jorge Arreaza, Venezuela’s foreign minister, was in New York on Tuesday night for a meeting of the UN Security Council on Venezuela. The US wants the Council to vote this week on a draft resolution calling for elections and the delivery of aid, but Russia and China would block such a resolution. Mr Arreaza told the Security Council that the US-led campaign to oust Mr Maduro had failed. "That was the last chapter in the coup on Saturday," he said. "Read my lips – it failed. Now is the time for us to return to sanity." Vassily Nebenzia, Russia’s ambassador to the UN, supported Mr Arreaza and questioned what other countries would have done if confronted with "an attempted illegal state border crossing for the delivery of unknown cargo." Turning to the US, he pointedly noted: "One country even wants to build a huge wall on the border of another country to prevent an illegal border crossing."
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