March 7 (UPI) — A U.S. journalist who was detained in Venezuela on Wednesday was released and deported hours later.
Cody Weddle was at the Simón Bolívar International Airport in the Venezuelan city of Maiquetia waiting to board a flight back to the United States after being detained for 10 hours on Wednesday, the freelance journalist told one of his employers, Miami’s WPLG.
Agents from the Directorate General of Military Counterintelligence arrested Weddle and his assistant, Venezuelan citizen Carlos Camacho, from their homes at about 8:30 a.m.
Camacho was released at around 6:30 p.m., a few hours before Weddle was released.
The agents also confiscated equipment, identification documents and other material from their homes when they were arrested, human rights organization Espacio Público told The New York Times.
Juan Guaido, the National Assembly president who has claimed presidency of the country in opposition to Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, had called for Weddle’s release on Twitter.
“We demand the release of the American journalist, Cody Weddle, who was kidnapped by a regime that usurps functions and tries, without success, to hide the truth of what is happening in our country,” Guaido wrote.
Kimberly Breier, the United States assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere affairs, also tweeted that the State Department was aware of Weddle’s detainment and demanded his immediate, unharmed release.
Also Wednesday, Venezuela’s foreign minister, Jorge Arreaza announced that Maduro’s government had ordered German ambassador Daniel Kriener to leave the country in 48 hours.
Arreaza said Kriener’s dismissal was based on “repeated acts of interference in the country’s internal affairs.”