American journalist detained in Venezuela released, mother says

German ambassador to Venezuela Daniel Kriener speaks to journalists after attending a meeting with Venezuela's opposition leader and self-proclaimed acting president Juan Guaido at the National Assembly in Caracas

It did not cite its sources on his release, but said his mother was "relieved" to learn the news.

Cody Weddle, who freelances for the Miami Herald, the Daily Telegraph and ABC News, has been out of contact since 8am when the raid took place and his equipment was confiscated, according to a press workers' union in Venezuela. Weddle was at the main Caracas-area airport waiting for a USA -bound flight, according to the TV station he works for in Miami.

He had been arrested on charges of treachery, according to free speech group Espacio Publico.

In this June 2018 selfie provided by Sherry Weddle, her son and journalist Cody Weddle and herself pose for a photo during a vacation in Santo Domingo, the Dominican Republic.

The Venezuelan government believed that Washington's approval of Guaido as the country's interim leader aimed to oust the current administration, and open up its vast oil reserves as well as gold deposits to US corporations.

Tensions are escalating by the day in Venezuela, where USA -backed Guaido seeks to oust President Nicolas Maduro.

The Venezuelan government on Wednesday gave the German ambassador 48 hours to leave the country after he expressed support for opposition leader Juan Guaido.

"He does not have the legitimacy to declare an ambassador persona non grata". Guaido had just returned from a 10-day tour of South American allies, defying a government-issued ban on him leaving the country.

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For the past two months, Venezuela has been locked in a dramatic political crisis, which has seen countries around the world disavow its president and back an upstart politician in his bid to depose him.

"This is an incomprehensible decision that aggravates the situation and does not contribute to de-escalation", Maas said in a statement. "Ambassador Kriener is doing excellent work in Caracas, including in recent days".

European countries "should strengthen financial sanctions against the regime. We demand the journalist's immediate release, unharmed", Kimberly Breier, assistant secretary of state for western hemisphere affairs, said in a posting on Twitter.

Venezuelan officials have not commented. The United States said it was set to impose sanctions on banks to ramp up pressure on Maduro to leave office. Guaido says Maduro's re-election a year ago resulted from a sham vote and blames him for an economic collapse that has led to widespread shortages and hyperinflation.

The adversaries have announced rival demonstrations on Saturday as they seek to motivate supporters.

Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro has cut ties with Colombia after opposition leaders used the neighboring Andean nation as a launching point for humanitarian aid meant to undermine his authority.

Even though the United States immediately recognized Guaido after he declared himself an interim president and some 50 countries followed suit, Russia, China and a number of other states have voiced their support for Maduro.

Over a dozen progressive House Democrats on Thursday condemned the Trump administration's "unacceptable" push for regime change in Venezuela.

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