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Colombian photographer with Spanish news agency disappears in Caracas

Opposition supporters demonstrate in Caracas on Jan. 30, 2019, to demand an end to the country's crisis and to support interim President Juan Guaido, the president of the Venezuelan Parliament. EFE-EPA/Cristian Hernandez

Opposition supporters demonstrate in Caracas on Jan. 30, 2019, to demand an end to the country’s crisis and to support interim President Juan Guaido, the president of the Venezuelan Parliament. EFE-EPA/Cristian Hernandez

EFE

Colombian photojournalist Leonardo Muñoz, working for Spain’s international news agency EFE, went missing on Wednesday in Caracas along with his Venezuelan driver.

Muñoz was in Caracas on assignment for EFE to cover the Venezuelan crisis and was being driven around the city on a motorscooter by Jose Salas.

Muñoz arrived in Caracas on Jan. 24 along with two colleagues from Bogota and went through the corresponding immigration and travel procedures to be allowed to carry out his work in Venezuela.

His team had registered with the authorities at Maiquetia Simon Bolivar International Airport, which serves Caracas, and it was there that they declared that they intended to pursue journalistic work in Venezuela.

Salas and Muñoz left early Wednesday morning to cover protest activities in eastern Caracas and the last time they were in contact with their colleagues was about 11 am.

The situation has been reported to Venezuelan authorities but so far no they have not provided any information on the matter.

According to the National Press Workers Union of Venezuela (SNTP), the Military Counterintelligence Directorate (DGCIM) “could be responsible for the arrests of other reporters, including (Muñoz).”

Therefore, the union asked prosecutors at the Public Ministry “to guarantee the rights (of journalists) and prevent disappearances and arbitrary arrests from continuing.”

Agencia EFE’s attorney went to the DGCIM offices to obtain further information but so far there has been no report about whether Muñoz and Salas are among those people who are in custody.

On Tuesday, four journalists, two of them Chileans, were arrested at Miraflores presidential palace.

The two Chileans were later deported.

In addition, two French journalists who came to Venezuela to cover the crisis were arrested on Tuesday, according to the television program for which they work: “Quotidien.”

“Two journalists from our team were arrested yesterday in Venezuela. They were on the ground there to cover the political crisis. At this time, it’s better not to say anything so as not to worsen their situation. We’re thinking of them,” the program, which is broadcast on the TMC channel, said on Twitter.


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