Angry About Video of Starving Venezuelans, Maduro Detains Jorge Ramos

Angry About Video of Starving Venezuelans, Maduro Detains Jorge Ramos
Univision’s Jorge Ramos shows a video he says his crew shot the previous day showing Venezuelan youth picking food scraps out of the back of a garbage truck in Caracas during an interview at a hotel in Caracas, Venezuela, on Feb. 25, 2019. (AP Photo)

Venezuela’s dictator detained Univision anchor Jorge Ramos, an American citizen, for hours Monday after Nicolas Maduro was angered by the journalist playing a video of Venezuelans forced to find food in the garbage.

Univision said Maduro agreed to a sit-down interview last week; Ramos, who lives in Miami, and five crew members met the embattled leader at Miraflores Palace on Monday afternoon.

When Maduro got angry about the questions dealing with Venezuelans’ poverty — and the video Ramos recorded on his cell phone in Caracas — he ordered that the news crew’s equipment and tapes be seized and the journalists detained. Ramos and his crew — María Martínez, Claudia Rondón, Francisco Urreiztieta, Juan Carlos Guzmán, and Martín Guzmán — were detained for two hours and 50 minutes. At one point, the network said, Ramos and Martínez — the vice president of Univision — were taken to a separate room and held there for a few minutes with the lights off.

After their release, Ramos said on Univision, “I never thought they were going to do something stupid like this, I never thought they were going to take the whole interview and rob us.”

“What I told Nicolás Maduro is that millions of Venezuelans and many governments of the world did not consider him a legitimate president but a dictator. That’s what I told Nicolás Maduro. He obviously did not like it,” Ramos added.

As news of Ramos’ detention unfolded, Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Kimberly Breier tweeted, “@StateDept has received word the journalist @jorgeramosnews and his team are being held against their will at Miraflores Palace by Nicolas Maduro. We insist on their immediate release; the world is watching.”

Two hours later, she tweeted, “We welcome news that @jorgeramosnews & his colleagues are back at their hotel. News of their detention & confiscation of their equipment by Maduro’s henchmen are the latest reminder that press freedom in #Venezuela applies only to those who are willing to spread the regime’s lies.”

Univision said Ramos and the crew are supposed to be deported from Venezuela today.

“In case you thought this was over. @jorgeramosnews & his crew from @UnivisionNews are still being followed by agents of the #MaduroRegime intelligence services,” Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) tweeted late Monday. “One sign of a dying dictatorship is that its top leaders become increasingly paranoid.”

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