Maybe his encounter with a socialist despot will change his perspective?
As Venezuela is on the brink of governmental upheaval and pressure from outside the nation mounts, there is a growing focus on the nation’s leader Nicolas Maduro. Let’s face it, an authoritarian with mounting challenges and is courting the likes of Vladimir Putin in order to retain power is someone you maybe do not want to provoke right now. Univision journalist Jorge Ramos does not possess that level of insight.
Ramos is considered by many as the “Walter Cronkite of Spanish Journalists”. In recent years he has built himself more into the “Jim Acosta of Latin Reporters,” as he has taken a stance of opposition to Donald Trump that can charitably be described as unhinged. Ramos has crossed the line from reporter to activist years ago, and he has evolved into something of a punchline in his fervency.
This weekend Ramos has been in Venezuela, covering some of that country’s constant strife. He had secured a private meeting with Maduro in fact, but then when he lapsed into his style of brash confrontational journalism he found that his grandstanding did not make for the same kind of news bite as he expects here in the U.S.
Ramos has gotten much media currency out of a confrontation he had with Trump during the campaign cycle. While speaking out of turn and becoming belligerent in his questioning during one presser Ramos was escorted from that event. It has become a touchstone moment in his career, one he cites continuously in his self-proclaimed battle with the President. He has pledged not to be neutral with President Trump, and just this past December referred to him as a “bully” and a “fascist”.
The irony is when he spoke with an actual fascist things went very differently for Ramos. During a sit down with Maduro, according to BuzzFeed, Ramos had asked pointed questions about being accused of acting as a dictator, and then showed him some video of citizens scavenging for food from garbage trucks. It was at this time that Maduro reportedly ended the interview.
Ramos and his crew were separated and held in rooms. Kimberly Brier, Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs first announced Ramos and crew being detained in the Miraflores Palace. Hours later she reported that they had been released and returned to their hotel. Maduro’s security teams had confiscated all of the equipment from Ramos’ crew.
This is a serious step taken by Maduro. Journalists have long been threatened by his regime and continue to be targeted. The Ramos incident is of import as the journalist is an American citizen, who resides in Miami. News of his detention was noted by Sen. Marco Rubio, who has been working extensively on the issues in Venezuela, recently having visited the border to oversee supplies being sent into the country by the United States.
As the Venezuelan authorities attempted to deny this episode, Rubio called them out in a wry, but direct manner. “This tweet from the ‘Baghdad Bob’ of #MaduroRegime claims that @UnivisionNews crew was never detained & this is all orchestrated by the U.S. State Department. This is a very compelling explanation given the close alliance between Pres. Trump & @jorgeramosnews.”
Rubio did some deft work here, showing their ministry of lies attempt by noting the resentment Ramos holds for the President, yet the seriousness of them detaining an American citizen was not ignored. Rubio also showed the administration support for a journalist, even one who has vowed to combat the administration. He retweeted the video that Ramos had shot and purportedly had shown to Maduro.
This is the video that upset the dictator @NicolasMaduro.@jorgeramosnews recorded it on his cell phone in the streets of Caracas. When he played it for Maduro during the interview the dictator got angry & detained him & his crew in a dark room for over 2 hours. https://t.co/SwM6AKCeX2
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) February 26, 2019
The good news is that Ramos and crew have been freed. What remains to be seen is if the journalist will be taking a decidedly different perspective regarding the President. Last night he saw what his behavior and actions could provoke when he was in the company of a true bully and fascist leader.