MIAMI – Pedro Ultreras, a journalist who was working in Venezuela and was flying with Jorge Ramos, the best-known Spanish-language news anchor in the United States, celebrated their plane's Tuesday afternoon landing at Miami International Airport.
Ultreras was part of the Univision team that was reporting in Venezuela when Ramos and his team was detained and harassed in Caracas, after embattled Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro interrupted an interview and officials said it was no longer authorized.
During an interview with Univision, Ultreras, who was working near the border with Colombia, said he was robbed at gunpoint on his way back to Caracas. He believed the perpetrators were Maduro's paramilitary allies known as "colectivos."
"It feels good to be home, finally free," Ultreras wrote on Twitter with a video of the plane landing at MIA.
The team will be showing up to work without their camera equipment. Maduro's agents seized it and didn't return it. They also didn't return the 17 minutes of recording showing Ramos interviewing Maduro. Ramos said the Venezuelan government has robbed them of their work and he is demanding that it be returned.
"They are going to say that they already deleted the images of the interview, but they also recorded the interview with three cameras, I saw them, so the interview is there," Ramos told the reporters who were waiting for him at MIA in Spanish. "If Maduro is not a coward, if Maduro has the pants to face up, then he should show the complete interview."
Ramos told colleagues Maduro cut the interview short after he used an iPad to show him a video of a teenager and a few young men eating food scraps out of the back of a garbage truck. In the video, one of them sent a message to Maduro saying he needs to step down.
According to Ramos, Maduro tried to grab his iPad and as he walked away, Ramos told him he was behaving like a dictator. This prompted agents to hold Ramos, Maria Martinez Guzman and fours others for about two hours until they were released at 9 p.m.
Univision reported SEBIN intelligence agents kept them under surveillance even while they were with U.S. and Mexican diplomatic personnel. Ramos told a colleague Venezuelan officials returned their cell phones, but all of their content had been deleted.
Ramos, a veteran and author who interviewed Hugo Chavez three times and was kicked out of a news conference after angering U.S. President Donald Trump in 2015, told colleagues that he was held in a dark room and questioned before being allowed to return to his hotel about two hours later.
Venezuela's Communications Minister Jorge Rodriguez denied Ramos' account and accused him of trying to stage an international incident. Maduro also mistreated a U.S. network ABC reporter during an interview --- calling him a liar.
The Committee to Protect Journalists released a statement on Tuesday afternoon condemning the detention.
"Maduro and his security apparatus have no right to hold journalists, or their equipment, hostage -- no matter how much they may dislike a line of questioning," said CPJ's Natalie Southwick. "Venezuelan authorities should immediately return all confiscated equipment and materials to the Univision news team, and stop obstructing and harassing the press."
Telemundo's Caracas Correspondent was detained while covering Ramos detention in Caracas when he was detained about 6 a.m., interrogated and robbed. Telemundo reported he was released after six hours.