Amid the increasingly dire situation in Venezuela, Univision's left-leaning anchor Jorge Ramos traveled into the rapidly imploding socialist country for an interview Monday with dictator Nicolas Maduro. But after Ramos said he took the conversation in a direction Maduro didn't appreciate, things quickly devolved, resulting in Ramos and his team having all their equipment confiscated and a frightening two-hour encounter with agents.
"So it is Monday night," Ramos said in a video he posted to Facebook (below). "We are already in the hotel in Caracas, Venezuela. And what happened is that I conducted an interview with Nicolas Maduro. I asked him if I can call him either a 'president' or a 'dictator' because, as you know, millions of Venezuelans don't consider him a president.
"Then we discussed the fraud [election] that happened here in May 2018, also the reports of torture and human rights abuses and political prisoners. And at the end, I showed him a video that I personally took last Sunday of three kids behind a trash truck — looking for food. And he just couldn't stand it. He didn't want to continue the interview, he wanted to close my iPad — where I showed him the video — and then he said the interview was over.
"It was about 17 minutes of interview. After that, their minister of communications, Jorge Rodriguez, told us that they didn't authorize the interview. And they confiscated all of our cameras, all our video, all of our cell phones, and we were thrown out of the presidential palace.
"But before I left the palace, they took me into a security room with producer Maria Guzman, and they asked for our cell phones. I didn't want to give them my cell phone, so they turned off the light in the room, and a group of agents came in. They took, forcefully, my backpack, my cell phone. They did the same thing with Maria's. And they forced us to give them our pass codes for the cell phones.
"We didn't know what was going to happen to us back then, nor what was happening to the rest of the group, who were about seven journalists. And after about two hours of being detained — because we couldn't leave the palace — two hours of being detained, they allowed us to leave the presidential palace.
"They didn't give us our equipment, nor our material, and still at this point we do not have a cell phone or the interview. I think we will never have that intervew — they don't want the world to see what we did," Ramost concluded.
As reported by Mediaite, Ramos conducted an interview with Univision after his temporary detainment in the presidential palace.
"He didn’t like the things we were asking, about the lack of democracy in Venezuela, the torture of political prisoners, about the humanitarian crisis that they are living," Ramos told the outlet. "I told Nicolas Maduro that millions of Venezuelans and many governments in the world do not consider him a legitimate president and they consider him to be a dictator."
The incident, he said, is "a violation of freedom of expression and a violation of human rights, a violation of all the principles of journalism."