Freelance reporter Cody Weddle was reportedly detained on Wednesday by forces loyal to Venezuelan dictator Nicolas Maduro. Weddle’s home was allegedly raided and his Venezuelan colleague Carlos Camacho was arrested as well. U.S. officials noted the report and called on Maduro to release Weddle immediately.
The Miami Herald described Weddle, 29, as a native of Virginia who has lived in Caracas since 2014. In addition to writing for the Herald, he has worked for television news networks such as ABC News and South Florida’s WPLG.
WPLG confirmed Weddle’s arrest on Wednesday, quoting sources who said he was targeted in an “early-morning raid.” One of those sources was his housekeeper, who said Weddle’s “passport, other documents, money, and a large suitcase” were taken with him.
WPLG’s report implied Weddle might have drawn Maduro’s ire by filing an on-air report Monday night about the return of opposition leader Juan Guaido, who is recognized by the United States and many other countries as the legitimate interim president of Venezuela. Weddle also wrote a post on Twitter describing Guaido’s return as “triumphant.”
— Cody Weddle (@coweddle) March 5, 2019
The station said Weddle’s last contact was on Tuesday afternoon and attempts to reach him on Wednesday have been unsuccessful.
“We are working through various channels to get as much information as we can and to see that Cody is released. Cody has been dedicated and committed to telling the story in Venezuela to our viewers here in South Florida. The arrest of a journalist doing his job is outrageous and unacceptable,” WPLG President Bert Medina stated on Wednesday.
Florida’s two Republican senators, Rick Scott and Marco Rubio, issued statements noting Weddle’s arrest. Scott said the arrest was “unacceptable” and demanded Maduro release him immediately:
He must be released immediately and the U.S. will not stand for this kind of intimidation! https://t.co/IiR0qpXO51
— Rick Scott (@SenRickScott) March 6, 2019
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) March 6, 2019
According to the Miami Herald, U.S. officials have “confirmed they are aware of Mr. Weddle’s detention and are monitoring it closely.”
The Venezuelan Ministry of Communication did not respond to the Herald’s request for comment on the case.