MIAMI – A short-lived promo created by Venezuelan tourism officials to highlight the nation's openness to foreigners featured an American reporter who had been detained while covering the country's elections.
Jim Wyss, a Miami Herald correspondent, said he found the mistake to be quite funny.
“I really hope someone in Telesur had a great sense of humor, but I am afraid it was just an error,” he told Reuters over the phone. “I think it’s very funny, it made my day,” he added.
The promo ran last week on the Twitter feed of the state-run Telesur television with a tag-line that read, translated from Spanish, "We love Venezuela for receiving foreigners like one of our own."
It included a November 2013 photo of Wyss hugging a colleague, Luisa Yanez, at the Miami International Airport. Wyss had just returned from Venezuela, where he says officials had taken him into custody and held him for about 48 hours.
The Herald reports that Wyss was detained by military intelligence when he was reporting about contraband along the frontier with Colombia. At the time, the Herald added, officials said he was detained because he did not have the proper media credentials.
A Twitter user quoted by the Miami paper wrote, “What people don’t know about the #AmamosAVenezuela campaign is that it tells the truth. They treat foreigners just as poorly as they treat their own.”
The promo is no longer posted on Telesur's Twitter feed.
The AP contributed to this report.