Bogota, Feb 26 (EFE).- Univision journalist Jorge Ramos confirmed Tuesday that he and his team were ordered deported from Venezuela and would be put on a flight to Miami.
“We have to leave for the airport in a few minutes and be deported from Caracas. We’ll be leaving on the American Airlines flight from Caracas to Miami at 12 noon,” Ramos told Colombian radio station La FM.
Ramos said his hotel was surrounded by Bolivarian National Intelligence Service (Sebin) agents and he and his team would travel to the airport in “Mexican government vehicles so we can be more or less protected.”
The Univision team had traveled to Caracas to interview President Nicolas Maduro and was detained inside the presidential palace for more than two hours.
Venezuela’s SNTP press union said Tuesday that the team from the US Spanish-language network would be deported.
“It is confirmed that the #Univision team will be deported. Immigration authorities came to the hotel to notify that they would be taken to the airport early in the morning,” the SNTP tweeted in Spanish.
Two Venezuelan employees of Univision based in Caracas, Francisco Urreiztieta and Edgar Trujillo, are also leaving the country, but they were not officially deported, SNTP president Marco Ruiz told a local radio station.
The intelligence service had been watching Ramos and the Univision team from the time they were released from the Miraflores presidential palace on Monday and escorted them to the airport, the SNTP said.
Ramos and his team were detained after Maduro became upset over the journalist’s questions and a video he showed the Venezuelan leader.
“I asked him if I can call him either a president or a dictator because millions of Venezuelans do not consider him a president. Then we discussed the flood that happened here, May 2018; also the reports of torture and human rights abuses of political prisoners,” Ramos said in a video aired by Univision.
“And at the end, I showed him a video that I personally took last Sunday of three kids behind a trash truck, looking for food. And, he just couldn’t stand it. He did not want to continue the interview,” Ramos said.
Ramos said that Communications Minister Jorge Rodriguez said after that that the interview was unauthorized and “confiscated all our cameras, all our video, all our cellphones.”
Ramos was accompanied by Maria Martinez, Claudia Rondon, Francisco Urreiztieta, Juan Carlos Guzman and Martin Guzman.
This is not the first time reporters have been detained in Venezuela. In January, several journalists were detained, including four from EFE.
The SNTP counted 40 aggressions by state security forces against members of the media in January alone.
Maduro’s administration has repeatedly claimed that the press, particularly foreign media, wages campaigns against it and spreads misinformation about the crisis in Venezuela.
Several domestic and foreign media outlets have been taken off the air on the orders of the government for being critical of the administration.
CNN’s Spanish service was taken down in 2017, Colombia’s NTN24 in 2014, and RCN and Caracol in 2017.