USA demands release of journalist Cody Weddle detained in Venezuela

USA demands release of journalist Cody Weddle detained in Venezuela

Weddle is a graduate of Virginia Tech University and his work has appeared in outlets such as the Miami Herald, WPLG-TV in Miami, the BBC and Al Jazeera English, according to his LinkedIn profile. Agents took Weddle's computer and equipment, the group said.

Weddle's home in Caracas was the target of an early morning raid by authorities on Wednesday.

It wasn't clear why he was detained.

Venezuelan officials have not commented.

A security guard at the building, Juan Jose Araque, said he saw five men dressed in black and carrying pistols at Weddle's apartment on Wednesday morning. "He had a sandwich before he left", Araque said.

The arrest risks further escalating tensions between the government of Nicolas Maduro and the United States, which along with more than 50 other countries has recognised National Assembly leader Juan Guaidó as Venezuela's legitimate president.

The presence of foreign diplomats at the Caracas airport earlier this week helped prevent the arrest of Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido, Germany's foreign minister said Thursday. He arrived in the country as an English-language correspondent for state-run network Telesur.

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Weddle is the latest in a string of foreign journalists to be detained in Venezuela.

Senator Rick Scott, a Florida Republican, wrote on Twitter that Weddle's arrest was unacceptable: "He must be released immediately and the US will not stand for this kind of intimidation!" "Some banks - some foreign banks in particular - are being complicit in this behavior", the official said in an interview, declining to provide further details.

"It is unacceptable for Nicolas Maduro to detain Cody Weddle, an American citizen and a journalist, reporting to the world on what is happening in Venezuela". Many were released after a few hours, although at least one reporter, German-born Billy Six, has been held since November on what his family says are trumped-up charges of spying.

The foreign ministry said Martin Kriener had 48 hours to leave following "interference" in Venezuela's internal affairs after he greeted Guaido at Caracas airport on his return to the country on Monday. His hometown is Meadowview, Virginia.

"This situation has been exacerbated by sanctions", Bachelet said in her annual report to the Human Rights Council in Geneva. "He said he was fine and wanted to know how I was". "Are you OK?'" she said. His last contact with station employees came on Tuesday afternoon.

The U.S., which says Maduro's presidency is illegitimate, said Wednesday he must free the reporters.

"The worldwide community must act to prevent Mr Maduro from using Venezuelan taxpayer funds to kill critics of the regime and indigenous peoples, as is already happening at the border with Brazil". "Cody has been dedicated and committed to telling the story in Venezuela to our viewers", Medina said.