74ºF

Venezuela releases once-detained Florida journalist, report says

Cody Weddle taken from his residence, WPLG reports

Journalist Cody Weddle (Image courtesy of WPLG)
Journalist Cody Weddle (Image courtesy of WPLG)

CARACAS, Venezuela – Witnesses and colleagues said a U.S. journalist working in Venezuela was missing after security forces escorted him from his apartment, but as of Wednesday evening, he had been released.

A doorman at Cody Weddle's residence said a squad of five men wearing black uniforms demanded entry early Wednesday and left with the journalist. Weddle's assistant, Carlos Camacho, was also taken into custody, reports WPLG.

The U.S. State Department said it was aware of a missing journalist and warned Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's government that the world was watching.

Tensions are escalating by the day in Venezuela, where U.S.-backed opposition leader Juan Guaido seeks to oust Maduro.

Weddle has reported from Venezuela for more than four years, most recently working as a freelance journalist for News 6's sister station in South Florida, WPLG. Weddle, 29, is originally from Meadowview, Virginia.

WPLG President E.R. Bert Medina said in a statement no one can reach Weddle and the station is very concerned.

We are working to find out all of the information we can on the whereabouts of reporter Cody Weddle.
We are hearing reports his home was raided by the Venezuelan military. We have been unable to confirm specific details but a witness at the time of the raid claims Cody was taken into custody and his equipment confiscated. We have been unable to reach Cody today and are obviously very concerned about him. 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 reported earlier in the day that both men were reported to have been undergoing interrogation inside the Boleita headquarters of the DGCIM, the Venezuelan military's counterintelligence agency.

By 7:30 p.m., the station reported that he was at Simón Bolívar International Airport in Maiquetia after demands for his release.

Venezuelan officials have not commented.