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German ambassador to Venezuela declared persona non grata

07 March, 2019, 13:02 | Author: Taylor George
  • BREAKING: Venezuela expels German ambassador for backing Guaido

The station's president said in a statement it can't reach Weddle and is concerned.

Kriener has been given 48 hours to leave the country.

Guaido declared himself "interim president" in January. Germany followed suit in early February.

Since the start of the year, Venezuela has been shaken by political unrest sometimes erupting in violence after US -backed opposition leader Juan Guaido announced he was invoking the constitution as head of congress to wrest power from President Nicolas Maduro.

"They're threatening an important European country that is providing humanitarian help to Venezuela", he said.

"The State Department is aware of and deeply concerned with reports that another USA journalist has been detained in #Venezuela by #Maduro, who prefers to stifle the truth rather than face it". Maduro says he is the target of a US -backed coup plot.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas called the move "an incomprehensible decision, which escalates the situation instead of easing tensions".

Weddle had reported from Venezuela for more than four years, most recently working as a freelance journalist for the ABC affiliate in Miami, a stronghold of Venezuelan exiles, although he also contributed to the Miami Herald and The Telegraph in Britain.

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On Monday, the embassy said on its Twitter account that Kriener hoped Guaido's return 'was a step towards a peaceful and political process to overcome the Venezuelan crisis'.

Venezuela's government released an American journalist and his local colleague on Wednesday, after they spent more than 12 hours in custody in a move that drew further worldwide condemnation of socialist President Nicolas Maduro's government.

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.

Neither Venezuela's public prosecutors office nor the armed forces press office responded to requests for comment about Weddle. The United States ratcheted up the pressure on Wednesday, with National Security Advisor John Bolton warning foreign banks that they could face sanctions if they participate in transactions benefiting Maduro.

Kriener had helped to try and bring humanitarian aid to the country, he said, adding: 'It seems that the Maduro regime does not forgive anyone who wants to help Venezuela'.

The U.S. revoked 49 visas last week and has imposed multiple rounds of sanctions as part of a campaign to force Maduro to turn over power to Guaido.

His mother, Sherry, said the family was told of his capture by his contacts in Venezuela, including someone who was told by her Weddle's housekeeper.



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