- The Washington Times - Monday, February 25, 2019

The Univision anchorman who frequently crossed swords with President Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign was briefly detained and had his equipment confiscated while interviewing Venezuela’s socialist president.

The network posted to Twitter on Monday evening that Jorge Ramos and the rest of his team are “being arbitrarily detained at the Miraflores Palace in Caracas.”

According to Univision, the Spanish-language reporters “were interviewing @NicolasMaduro but he didn’t like the questions. Their technical equipment was also confiscated.”

Mr. Ramos, a dual citizen of Mexico and the U.S., was interviewing Mr. Maduro about the humanitarian crisis in Venezuela, which the socialist dictator blames on the U.S.

After the crew had been detained about three hours, NBC News reported that “Ramos and his team have been released … but their equipment and interview material were confiscated.”

Still, condemnation had been swift and bipartisan.

Erika Guevara-Rosas, the Americas director at Amnesty International, in a Spanish tweet translated by The Washington Times, called the Ramos detention “the most recent attack on freedom of expression, which happens daily to independent journalists” in Venezuela.

Sen. Marco Rubio, Florida Republican and a frequent critic of Venezuela’s socialist regime, also took to Twitter to note that “@NicolasMaduro has detained a United States citizen & journalist … because he didn’t like the questions he was being asked.”

Kimberly Breier, the assistant secretary of state for the Western Hemisphere, said the State Department had received the news and said “we insist on their immediate release; the world is watching.”

Mr. Ramos is best known to U.S. viewers, especially Republicans, for a tense exchange in 2015 with Mr. Trump, then a long-shot presidential candidate.

At the Iowa press conference in August 2015, Mr. Ramos interrupted to ask Mr. Trump about his immigration proposals, prompting the candidate to tell him to “sit down” and “go back to Univision” because he hadn’t been called on. When Mr. Ramos refused, security removed him from the room, which Mr. Ramos said he “never expected.”

In a later interview with CNN, Mr. Ramos said reporters must be advocates on certain issues, but called being kicked out “the kind of thing that you see in dictatorships, but not in the United States of America.”

• Victor Morton can be reached at vmorton@washingtontimes.com.

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