Anchor Jorge Ramos of the U.S. Spanish-language network Univision and his team were deported from Venezuela on Tuesday after being held in detention Monday night and stripped of their equipment. The Univision crew was punished after Ramos asked dictator Nicolas Maduro a question he did not wish to answer.
Ramos said on Tuesday that Maduro terminated their interview and had him thrown in detention when he was asked to comment on a video that showed young Venezuelans scavenging in a garbage truck for food.
“He just couldn’t stand it,” Ramos said of Maduro’s reaction to the garbage-eating video. “He didn’t want to continue the interview. He tried to close my iPad. They confiscated all of our cameras, all of our videos.”
Ramos elaborated this confiscation was performed by Venezuelan security agents after the lights were turned off in the room. He said he and the other crew members were forced to provide passcodes for their cell phones, which were never returned.
Ramos earlier stated Maduro “had not liked” his questions about “the lack of democracy in Venezuela, torture, political prisoners, and the humanitarian crisis.”
“They didn’t give us a reason. They just said to us last night that we had been expelled from the country,” Ramos told reporters at the Maiquetia airport in Caracas, after he arrived with protection from American and Mexican embassy personnel plus an escort of Venezuelan intelligence agents.
Venezuelan Information Minister Jorge Rodriguez defended the treatment of Ramos and his crew by claiming his government has entertained “hundreds of journalists” who have received “decent treatment,” but he accused the Univision host of attempting to stage a “cheap show” at the behest of the U.S. State Department.
“Ramos, who interviewed Maduro’s mentor Hugo Chavez three times, said Maduro accused him of siding with the government’s opponents in the political fight for power now raging in Venezuela,” the Associated Press reported.