Cody Welde is Safe, But Venezuela Arrested Another Journalist

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Posted: Mar 12, 2019 6:00 PM
Cody Welde is Safe, But Venezuela Arrested Another Journalist

Source: AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos

Cody Weddle, a freelance reporter and contributor for WPLG Local 10 News in Miami, returned safely to the U.S. three days after being detained in Venezuela.

Weddle was featured on NPR Mar. 10, describing exactly what happened to him on Wednesday of that week.

“So when I heard my doorbell ring on Wednesday at about 6:30 – and I thought it was the water guy. We have water regularly delivered to our apartment there,” Weddle told Lulu Garcia-Navarro. “Then I opened the door. And there were those four officers there. They raided my apartment. They went through every single thing I had. They were going through my WhatsApp messages for hours and hours. They also brought in some other equipment that they said was used for a sweep. It was a bizarre looking apparatus that shot out a laser. And they pointed it at my walls and at the air conditioning unit. And they said they were looking for spying equipment.”

Weddle said the officers put a ski mask over his face and took him to their headquarters. There they put him in a chair and prodded him. The officers accused him of being a “mercenary journalist,” and asked him questions about his contacts.

“I think, possibly, it was about some reporting I did about the current state of affairs within the armed forces,” he said. “I did speak to – anonymously to some sources within the armed forces – within the security forces, rather, about how they are affected by the economic crisis. And what I already knew, and what I confirmed through that reporting, was that a large portion of Venezuela's security forces are suffering the effects of this economic crisis. While they would like to see a change, they can't do anything because of intense internal surveillance.”

Weddle’s situation reflects a large issue facing reporters in the socialist nightmare country of Venezuela. Navarro reported that along with Weddle, 37 more reporters were detained. On Monday, another journalist, Luis Carlos Diaz, was arrested.

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The Guardian reported that Diaz was arrested by agents of Venezuela's intelligence service, Sebin, after they raided his home.

The United Nations Human Rights Office tweeted that they had their mission ask the Venezuelan government, “for urgent access to Diaz.” Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), who tweeted about Weddle’s capture, also posted about Diaz.