After almost 48 hours in custody, Miami Herald Andean Bureau Chief Jim Wyss was released Saturday to U.S. Embassy officials, who confirmed that the journalist was in good health and had not been mistreated.
“A sincere thanks to everyone who helped win my speedy release and to the Venezuelan authorities who made it possible,” Wyss tweeted soon after his release about 5 p.m. EST.
Aminda Marqués Gonzalez, the Herald’s executive editor, said she was looking forward to Wyss’ return home.
“Jim is safe and soon will be reunited with his loved ones,” she said. “We are grateful to everyone here and in Caracas who helped bring this matter to a close.”
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Wyss was detained near the Colombian border Thursday evening while reporting on Venezuela’s sputtering economy and upcoming municipal elections. Members of the National Guard in the Andean city of San Cristóbal, Táchira, apprehended Wyss after he solicited an interview with military officials.
Venezuelan authorities said Wyss was taken into custody because he did not have permission to report in the country. Wyss said he was flown Friday evening to the detention center in Caracas, where he was visited by a U.S. Embassy official.
Wyss was in good spirits and quipped about tight living conditions in the room at the detention center he shared with eight other people.
“It’s like living in a bar with bunk beds,” he said. He also joked about a diet of ham sandwiches.
Wyss, a well-known and respected journalist, has made more than a dozen reporting trips to Venezuela over several years to cover everything from former President Hugo Chavez’s death to myriad presidential and municipal elections.
“I have deep respect for Venezuela and its people and I look forward to continuing to report from the country,” he said.