Caracas/Bogota / Spain’s government on Thursday condemned the detention by the Bolivarian National Intelligence Service of four members of the Spanish news agency EFE in Venezuela’s capital.
“Spain strongly rejects the arrest in Caracas of 4 members of @EFEnoticias,” tweeted Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, adding that through the embassy in Venezuela they were making arrangements for the team’s release “as soon as possible.”
Those being held are Spanish journalist Gonzalo Dominguez Loeda, Colombian journalist Mauren Barriga Vargas and photographer Leonardo Munoz, as well as Venezuelan driver Jose Salas.
The three journalists are part of a team that traveled from Bogota to cover the crisis in Venezuela.
In a statement, the Spanish government urged “once again” the Venezuelan authorities’ “respect for the rule of law, human rights and fundamental freedoms, of which freedom of the press is a central element.”
Five members of the Bolivarian National Intelligence Service (SEBIN) appeared Wednesday night at a hotel where the journalists were staying and arrested Dominguez and Barriga, according to EFEjournalists in Caracas.
The heavily armed SEBIN agents ordered Dominguez and Barriga to accompany them and then detained them for interrogation.
Contact had been lost with Munoz and Salas on Wednesday morning while they were out working. They were considered missing until Venezuelan agents later said they were “interviewing” Munoz.
EFE’s Caracas bureau chief Nelida Fernandez followed Dominguez and Barriga with a lawyer to clarify the situation with the authorities and to obtain their release.
However, she said lawyers were not allowed into the headquarters of the intelligence service in Caracas, better known as El Helicoide.
Colombia’s foreign minister on Wednesday also demanded their release.
“Government of Colombia rejects arbitrary detention of 2 journalists and photographer of @EFEnoticias: Colombians Maureen Barriga and Leonardo Munoz, and Spanish Gonzalo Dominguez, in Venezuela. We demand immediate release and respect for their lives,” Carlos Holmes Trujillo said on Twitter.
Colombia’s President Ivan Duque communicated Wednesday night with EFE to express his solidarity and the concern of his government over the three journalists.
The Colombian Ministry of Foreign Affairs activated procedures to try to secure the release of the three journalists, while Migracion Colombia put all border, land and air posts on alert in case of deportation.
Director of the NGO Foro Penal Venezolano, Alfredo Romero Mendoza, told EFE by telephone that the organization he represents will file complaints on Thursday with the Prosecutor’s Office of Fundamental Rights of Venezuela, the Ombudsman’s Office and the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances under the United Nations.
The three EFE journalists arrived in Caracas on Jan. 17. At Maiquetia Simon Bolivar International Airport they identified themselves as journalists, and after being subjected to various security checks for nearly three hours, intelligence, immigration and customs authorities allowed them unrestricted entry.
However, on Wednesday morning, contact was lost with Munoz and Salas when they were on the way to cover demonstrations against President Nicolas Maduro’s regime in the Caracas neighborhood of Petare.
The three journalists had booked tickets to return to Bogota on Feb. 7. (January 31, EFE/Practica Español)
News related in video:
Lee la noticia y responde a las preguntas. (Read the news and answer the questions.)
unos periodistas que han sido liberados.
la detención de unos periodistas de la Agencia EFE.
una petición del Gobierno de Venezuela.
No se sabe.
No es verdad.
no fueron a Venezuela para cubrir la crisis que atraviesa el país.
viajaron a Venezuela para informar sobre lo está ocurriendo allí.
tenían previsto viajar a Venezuela.
pidió que se respete la libertad de prensa.
no requirió nada a las autoridades venezolanas.
no dijo nada sobre la libertad de prensa.
lo más rápido posible.
abandonar un lugar.
a la ciudad de Caracas.
a la capital de Colombia.
al gentilicio de Colombia.
Review grammar notes: past tenses