Miami Herald Reporter Released After 48-Hour Venezuela Detention

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Nov. 10 2013 12:30 PM

Miami Herald Reporter Released After 48-Hour Venezuela Detention

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UPDATE: Miami Herald reporter Jim Wyss arrived in Miami Sunday after being detained by Venezuelan authorities for nearly 48 hours, the paper reports on its website. The Bogota-based reporter was sdetained after he asked for an interview with military officials in the city of San Cristobal. Officials said he didn't have permission to report in the country. Wyss was released Saturday.

Original post on Saturday, Nov. 9 at 11:42 a.m.: The Miami Herald’s Bogota-based Andean bureau chief, Jim Wyss, was detained by Venezuelan security forces Thursday while reporting on the country “chronic shortages and looming municipal elections,” according to a story in the paper’s website. Wyss was detained by the National Guard in the western city of San Cristobal, which the Associated Press describes as “the center of a vibrant black market by Venezuelans seeking to circumvent currency controls.”

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In an update, the Herald says Wyss will likely be released over the weekend after the paper's world editor flew to Caracas Saturday morning "to usher Wyss out of the country." U.S. embassy officials in Caracas are also reportedly working on getting Wyss out of custody. 

The Herald  claims a few journalists saw Wyss in custody on Friday, with one local reporter saying that authorities “wouldn’t let us close.”

The Miami-based Inter American Press Association released a statement Friday, calling for the journalist’s immediate release. Cladio Paolillo, who heads the organization’s committee on freedom of the press and information, said he was astounded by a “new demonstration of intolerance by a regime that day after day shows its contempt for the work of journalists and freedom of the press.” For its part, the State Department said it was investigating the incident, adding that “if these reports turn out to be true, we will immediately seek consular access, as we do in the every case of a detained U.S. citizen.”

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the "Today's Papers" column from 2006 to 2009. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoliti.

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