CARACAS, Venezuela – A Miami Herald journalist was detained by Venezuelan authorities while reporting on politics and the chronic shortages in the South American country, the newspaper said Friday.
Jim Wyss, the Herald’s Andean bureau chief, was detained initially in San Cristobal, a western city near the border with Colombia, by the National Guard. He was then transferred to the custody of military intelligence.
Executive Editor Aminda Marques Gonzalez issued a statement calling for his immediate release.
“We are very concerned,” Marques said. “There doesn’t seem to be any basis for his detention and we’re trying to figure out what’s going on.”
The Inter American Press Association said in a statement Friday night that Wyss had been transferred to Caracas and is being held in solitary confinement.
Wyss was in Venezuela to report on upcoming municipal elections and the chronic shortages of such staples as milk, toilet paper and automobile parts amid an economic crisis.
Journalists have encountered harassment while reporting on the economic crisis. Last week, three reporters for Caracas newspaper Diario 2001 were detained, and one allegedly beaten by police, after witnessing a group of frenzied shoppers break through a barricade to receive a government-provided Christmas food basket.