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Venezuelan journalist detained amid outcry for his release | #TheCube

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By Seana Davis  & Emmanuelle Saliba, Rosie Wright
Venezuelan journalist detained amid outcry for his release | #TheCube
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A prominent critic of Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro's has been detained prompting an outcry on social media.

Family members, friends, journalists and citizens have been using social platforms and hashtags to demand answers about radio journalist Luis Carlos Díaz's whereabouts and swift release.

Euronews' The Cube has been speaking to journalists on the ground as well as detailing eyewitness accounts on social media to create a timeline of events that occurred.

Díaz fails to show up for work

Díaz went missing on March 11 at 5.30pm, after leaving his office at the 'Unión Radio Noticias' station in Caracas and failing to return home. The journalist was due to rest before returning to the radio station to present a special show on the continued electricity crisis that has left much of the nation without power since March 7.

Social media has been flooded with concern over the journalist's whereabouts and well-being.

His colleague, Lila Vanorio, grew concerned after Díaz did not return to work without any prior communication. Later that evening, Vanorio rang his wife after Díaz failed to return his calls. “She said he never came home, so I got in a car and I started driving, looking at the places he might be and we didn’t find him,” Vanorio told The Cube.

Friends and family take to social media

After 10pm, Díaz' wife posted on Twitter, questioning her husband's whereabouts, leading the hashtag '#DondeEstaLuisCarlos' to start trending across the Venezuelan network, flooding feeds with demands for answers over the government critic's disappearance.

Venezuela's opposition leader and National Assembly declared interim president, Juan Guaidó, questioned the journalist's disappearance.

Later that evening, it became apparent that Díaz had been detained, with the national union of journalists in Venezuela (SNTP) tweeting to say that the national intelligence service (SEBIN) had arrested him. According to SNTP, officials arrived at Díaz' house and removed electronics and other devices, before moving the journalist to the notorious El Helicoide prison.

It is unclear on what grounds Díaz has been detained. His wife and activists have called for demonstrations to demand his release, while his arrest has captured attention throughout the nation.

The journalist's detainment comes after months of political to-and-fro between Venezuela's President Maduro and National Assembly leader Juan Guaidó, with most EU countries recognising the latter as the nation's interim president.

As weeks of demonstrations have rolled forward, throngs of people have taken to the streets to demand change from an economically-crippled country.

The country's currency, the Bolívar, is essentially worthless amid drastic hyperinflation, causing basic food items to soar in price while Venezuela has been struck by electricity outages since March 7, a growing humanitarian crisis unfolds.

Euronews contacted Maduro's office for comment.