Venezuela Deports Journalists to Block Coverage of Massive Anti-Socialist Protest

Opposition activists attend a rally in Caracas, on September 1, 2016.
Venezuela's opposition and government head into a crucial test of strength Thursday with massive marches for and against a referendum to recall President Nicolas Maduro that have raised fears of a violent confrontation. / AFP / FEDERICO PARRA        (Photo credit should read FEDERICO PARRA/AFP/Getty Images)
In anticipation of a major rally against the socialist government Thursday, Venezuelan police rounded up and deported journalists affiliated with the Miami Herald, Le Monde, Al Jazeera, and the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ). “As soon as I stepped off the plane at the Caracas airport, immigration officials confiscated my passport, then ordered me to take the next flight back to Bogotá,” the CPJ’s John Otis, who is based in Colombia, writes in NPR. He notes that, as he writes the article awaiting his flight, “alongside me… are Marie-Eve Detoeuf of the French daily Le Monde, and Cesar Moreno, a reporter for Colombia’s Radio Caracol. A few days ago an Al-Jazeera TV crew was turned back at the airport.” Miami Herald Andean bureau chief Jim Wyss was also forced to leave Venezuela after arriving on Tuesday to cover protests this week. He was detained for 48 hours before being forced onto a plane home. “Venezuelan authorities said the detention stemmed from not having the proper media credentials,” Fox News reports. The crackdown on foreign journalists follows a string of mysterious attacks on local media. The CPJ reported Wednesday that multiple “incidents of vandalism” had been reported against newspapers that report the reality on the ground in