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Venezuelan authorities release US journalist after day in custody

Venezuelan authorities release US journalist after day in custody

Cody was seized by security forces at his apartment in Caracas, Venezuela, early Wednesday, amid Venezuela's escalating political turmoil, lawyers and press freedom groups said.

A doorman at Cody Weddle's residence said a squad of five men wearing black uniforms demanded entry and left with the journalist in custody.

Cody Weddle, an American journalist based in Caracas, Venezuela, was reportedly detained by President Nicolas Maduro's regime on Wednesday.

The ambassador, Daniel Kriener, had been among a group of diplomats who greeted opposition leader Juan Guaido at Caracas' airport on Monday as he returned to the country after a 10-day trip overseas, defying warnings that he might be arrested. Weddle's Venezuelan colleague Carlos Camacho was also arrested, Venezuela's National Press Workers Union said on Twitter, adding that the government has arrested 36 journalists this year.

"The United States strongly supports the democratic transition in Venezuela led by Interim President Juan Guaido and the National Assembly and is pursuing several new diplomatic and economic initiatives in support of that transition", the statement continued.

Venezuela's Information Ministry did not respond to a request for comment.

The Venezuelan government believed that Washington's approval of Guaido as the country's interim leader aimed to oust the current administration, and open up its vast oil reserves as well as gold deposits to USA corporations.




Wednesday's news about Weddle comes on the heels of another incident in Venezuela concerning CNN journalists.

According to the television station, all efforts by management to reach Weddle have been unsuccessful.

Camacho was released at around 6:30 p.m., a few hours before Weddle was released. He had been detained by security services at his home, the union said.

She told CNN: "He said he's fine".

The special envoy for Venezuela Elliott Abrams and director of the U.S. Agency for International Development Mark Green told Congress that the administration is promoting a peaceful political transition in Venezuela.

She told the Miami ABC affiliate that she was relieved to learn her son had been let go. "Cody has been dedicated and committed to telling the story in Venezuela to our viewers here in South Florida".

"Today the State Department is announcing that the United States will revoke 77 visas, including many officials of the Maduro regime and their families", Pence said in Washington. "Being a journalist is not a crime; the world is watching".

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