Reporter, once detained, now Venezuela’s tourism poster child
MIAMI — Jim Wyss is not exactly a poster child of Venezuela’s openness to foreigners — but for while, he was one.
A photo of the Miami Herald correspondent, smiling and embracing a woman, was featured Thursday as part of Venezuelan state-run television’s online tourism campaign.
The tagline: “We love Venezuela … for receiving foreigners like one of our own.”
An inviting promotion except for the fact that the photo was taken on Wyss’ return to the United States after being detained for 48 hours by Venezuelan authorities two years ago.
The image was snapped at Miami International Airport — not at Simón Bolívar International Airport outside the Venezuelan capital — by Miami Herald staffer Carl Juste in November 2013, the newspaper said.
Wyss’ beaming smile came when he finally arrived on American soil after his detention while reporting about contraband in the border town of San Cristobal, in the state of Tachira. Venezuelan authorities at the time said he was detained for failing to have the proper media credentials, the Miami Herald reported Friday.
But Telesur officials apparently believed it was a fitting image to promote tourism in a South American nation where chronic shortages of basic goods had led to protests.
The hashtag of the Twitter campaign was #AmamosaVenezuela or #We love Venezuela.
On Twitter on Thursday, Wyss seemed somewhat amused: “Irony? @teleSURtv has me in promo using pic from when I got OUT of Venezuela after 48hr detention.”
Numerous attempts to reach TeleSur for comment were unsuccessful.
The photos of Wyss have been taken down.