CARACAS – The two Chilean journalists, who have been imprisoned in a Caracas jail since yesterday, will be deported to Chile. The Maduro administration said it will let the two TVN journalists go. Their detention elevated tensions between the two countries.
As if the tensions between Chile and Venezuela weren´t high enough already, the arrest of two Chilean journalists covering the situation in capital Caracas angered ministers and even the president in Chile.
A team of four journalists, among them two Chileans working for public broadcaster Televisión Nacional de Chile (TVN), was arrested on Tuesday night near the presidential palace in Caracas, for unknown reasons. As journalist Rodrigo Pérez and cameraman Gonzalo Barahona were held by security forces of Nicolás Maduro, President Piñera demanded on Twitter the release of the two.
“We demand the immediate release of the two Chileans detained in Venezuela. Our Foreign Ministry is doing everything it can. Freedom of the press is another of the victims in Venezuela. The only peaceful solution is free and democratic elections”, Piñera wrote.
Exigimos inmediata liberación de periodistas de @TVN detenidos en #Venezuela. Nuestra Cancillería está realizando todas las gestiones necesarias. La libertad de prensa es otra de las víctimas en Venezuela. La solución pacífica son elecciones libres y democráticas, ahora.
— Sebastian Piñera (@sebastianpinera) January 30, 2019
The Venezuelan embassy in Chile defended the detention of the journalists, stating the two were recording in forbidden areas while being in the country on a tourist visa and “without obligatory accreditation”. Officials also announced the two journalists will be deported to Chile soon.
Yesterday, President Piñera announced he will recognize Guarequena Gutiérrez as the diplomatic representative of Venezuela in Chile. Gutiérrez was appointed by Juan Guaidó, the interim president of the country, who receives support from the Piñera administration, frustrating Maduro´s legitimacy.
At the same time, Maduro´s Arévalo Enrique Méndez will continue to represent Venezuela in Chile.
Editor-In-Chief Boris van der Spek is the founder of Chile Today. He worked in Colombia, Surinam and the Netherlands as reporter and made appearances on BBC World Services and ABC News during major events in Chile.