Updated Feb 26, 2019

Venezuela's Maduro temporarily detains Univision anchor Jorge Ramos

Jorge Ramos

Univision anchor Jorge Ramos

Univision anchor and U.S. citizen Jorge Ramos and his crew were temporarily detained Monday in the Venezuelan capital of Caracas by President Nicolás Maduro, before later being released. Officials seized the journalists' equipment and detained them because Maduro didn't like the questions Ramos was asking during an interview.

Why it matters: If this is how Maduro treats members of the international press corps, imagine what it must be like to be a local journalist in Venezuela.

The big picture: The action comes after a weekend of turmoil in Venezuela in which Maduro blocked international aid at the border, accusing the U.S. of orchestrating a coup as he continues to deny that the country is suffering from a humanitarian crisis.

Details: I caught up with Univision spokesman Jose Zamora late last night. Here's what he said happened:

  • After the interview was postponed several times yesterday, Ramos finally began asking questions after 7 pm ET. Ramos began by showing a video clip of a Venezuelan man eating out of the garbage and asked for Maduro's reaction, which is when Maduro got upset and ordered them to be detained.
  • Authorities confiscated all of Ramos' interview material and equipment. Ramos called Daniel Coronell, president of news for Univision, for forty seconds before his phone was confiscated by authorities.
  • He and his crew were held for nearly 3 hours in the presidential palace. When they were finally allowed to leave, they had to leave all of their equipment and material behind.

What's next: The journalists were released this morning. They stayed in a hotel overnight that was surrounded by Maduro's armed forces. Their equipment, cellphones and the interview material were not returned.

The bottom line: In an Instagram video posted from Ramos' Facebook Watch show "Real America with Jorge Ramos," he says he doesn't ever expect to get the footage back: "They don’t want world to see what we did."

Go deeper: Venezuelan border clashes further isolate Maduro's regime

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