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Miami Herald writer freed from Venezuela custody

CARACAS, Venezuela — Venezuelan authorities released on Saturday a Miami Herald reporter they detained almost three days ago while he reported on the South American country's economic crisis.

The Miami Herald reported on its website that Jim Wyss was released from a detention facility in Caracas and handed over to U.S. Embassy officials.

Herald executive editor Aminda Marques Gonzalez said on the website that "Jim is safe and soon will be reunited with his loved ones."

Wyss later sent a message on Twitter thanking the Herald and others who worked to secure his speedy release.

From the immigration detention center in Caracas, he joked about the diet of ham sandwiches he was fed and the tight living conditions in the room he was held with eight other people.

"It's like living in a bar with bunkbeds," he told the Herald.

Wyss, the Herald's Andean bureau chief, was detained Thursday by the National Guard in San Cristobal, a western city near the border with Colombia that is a hotbed for illegal transactions used to circumvent rigid currency controls.

The Herald's world editor John Yearwood had flown to Caracas Saturday to usher the reporter out of the country.

Throughout the ordeal, Venezuelan authorities never said why Wyss was being detained or whether he was facing charges. Nor did President Nicolas Maduro mention the case during a four-hour televised speech Friday.

Wyss, who is based in Bogota and has made many trips to Venezuela, traveled to San Cristobal to report on next month's municipal elections, which are taking place amid an economic crisis marked by 54 percent inflation and shortages of staples such as milk and toilet paper.

Miami Herald writer freed from Venezuela custody 11/09/13 [Last modified: Saturday, November 9, 2013 10:06pm]
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