American Journalist Cody Weddle Taken Into Custody By Venezuelan Forces

Miami Reporter Missing In Politically Collapsed Venezuela

According to WPLG-TV, Cody Weddle's home in Caracas, the country's capital, was raided by authorities. Ramos and the crew members were released a few hours later, but their equipment, cellphones and interview material were confiscated, according to Univision spokesman Jose Zamora.

Kriener was reported to be among a handful of ambassadors who went to the airport on Monday to welcom Juan Guaido on his return from a tour of Latin American countries that support Venezuela's right-wing opposition movement.

"We regret the fact that the German ambassador to Venezuela is pressed to leave the country in spite of a tense and complex political context", said Maja Kocijancic, spokeswoman for European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini.

Senator Marco Rubio said on Twitter: "They do this for one reason alone, to intimidate journalists from reporting on Guaido and on conditions in Venezuela".

WPLG, one of the outlets for which Weddle worked, added that he was at the main Caracas-area airport waiting for a US -bound flight.

Weddle becomes the latest journalist to be detained by the embattled Venezuelan president as the crisis to deliver humanitarian aid to the country's residents escalates.

Weddle, a 2012 graduate of Virginia Tech University, has degrees in journalism and political science.

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Station management said they have been unsuccessful in their attempts to reach Weddle. "We demand the journalist's immediate release, unharmed", Kimberly Breier, assistant secretary of state for western hemisphere affairs, said in a posting on Twitter.

As Maduro faces arguably the strongest challenge to his grip on power since becoming president in 2013, he is increasingly limiting media coverage by blocking websites, closing radio stations and intimidating reporters through paramilitary groups.

Weddle said he was at the Simon Bolívar International Airport in Maiquetia waiting to board a flight back to the United States.

He added that Germany will continue to recognize Guaido as Venezuela's legitimate interim president and support him in holding fresh elections. "They were interested in a story I did about the current atmosphere in the armed forces", Cody is quoted to have told Local 10.

"The Maduro regime, desperate, is doing the only thing it knows to do: repress and censor", tweeted José Miguel Vivanco, Americas director at Human Rights Watch.

The U.S. State Department says it is aware of a missing journalist and warns President Nicolas Maduro's government that the world is watching.

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