Monday, November 11, 2013

Venezuela: Update--"Miami Herald" Andean Bureau Chief Released from Detention

According to The Latin American Tribune, The Miami Herald’s Andean bureau chief, Jim Wyss, was released after being arrested in San Cristóbal, a city in Venezuela’s Tachíra state, and later transferred to the country’s military intelligence headquarters in Caracas.

After being detained for about 48 hours on Saturday afternoon (November 11), Wyss was turned over by Venezuelan military intelligence officers to US Embassy officials who confirmed that he was in good physical shape and showed no signs of having suffered any mistreatment.

Wyss, a correspondent who has put together about a dozen reports on Venezuela, was arrested on Thursday (November 8) in San Cristóbal by National Guard officers while working on a story about the scarcity of consumer goods in that country and its upcoming municipal elections.

COMMENT: According to THE MIAMI HERALD, Wyss was taken into custody near the border with Colombia when he approached members of the National Guard to ask for an interview with military authorities.

Venezuelan authorities said that Wyss was taken into custody for not having permission to conduct his journalistic work in the country, after which he was transferred to the detention center in Caracas, where he was visited by officials from the US Embassy.

Wyss, a respected and well-known journalist in this part of South America, over the past several years has reported on a variety of Venezuelan topics including the activities of late President Hugo Chávez and the recent presidential election.

THE MIAMI HERALD, published by the McClatchy group, is the most important newspaper in South Florida and has won more than 20 Pulitzer Prizes over the years.

In the interest of transparency, THE MIAMI HERALD should clarify whether Mr. Wyss was accredited by the Venezuelan government to file news reports in Venezuela or whether he was not accredited and the circumstances as to why the journalist did not possess such credentials.