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Digital journalist Luis Carlos Diaz is missing in Venezuela

“Where is Luis Carlos?” Image of the public online campaign shared by Provea. In the image they indicate the last time he had been contacted and the last time he tweeted.

On the evening of March 11, political commentator Naky Soto and wife of Venezuelan journalist and media activist Luis Carlos Diaz tweeted that he had been missing for five hours.

[Update] The Union of Press Workers (in Spanish, the SNTP) reported that Luis Carlos had been detained by the Bolivarian Intelligence Forces (SEBIN):

URGENT A Sebin commission confirms that journalist Luis Carlos Díaz has been detained by that police organism. They pointed their weapons at journalist [and members of the Press Union] Marco Ruiz, Luz Mely Reyes and Federico Black.

Hours before, Soto had tweeted that Luis Carlos Díaz had been missing for five hours:

Dear everyone: I lost contact with @LuisCarlos at 5:30 this afternoon, when he told me he was coming home to rest because he was going to do a special broadcast at @Unionradionet from 10:00 pm to 5:00 am #DóndeEstáLuisCarlos

@LuisCarlos is on his bike, but since 5:30 I've heard nothing from him and:
– he's not at the radio station
– he's not at home
– he hasn't tweeted
– he isn't answering calls
– he isn't answering SMS or WhatsApp messages
#DóndeEstáLuisCarlos

[Update] As members of SEBIN searched Diaz's and Soto's home, Luz Mely Reyes reported live from the scene. The SNTP also reported the incident:

URGENT At this time, 3:30 am, a commission from the Intelligence Forces arrives to journalist and human rights activist Luis Carlos Díaz's home, missing since 5:30 pm #WhereIsLuisCarlos

Other human rights and freedom of speech organizations joined the campaign through #DondeEstaLuisCarlos (Where is Luis Carlos?) which is, at the moment, a trending topic in Venezuela's twittosphere.

Díaz is a journalist and a human rights and freedom of speech advocate who is well known and highly appreciated in Venezuela and abroad for his commentary and criticism of the government of Nicolas Maduro. He has long worked with Soto producing web-based video and radio programs focused on politics and human rights in Venezuela. He has also worked as an educator and promoter of the creation of citizen media spaces and independent media projects. Díaz has also been part of the Global Voices community for more than a decade.

To me, Luis Carlos is a brilliant person, well versed in information and networks in this chaotic Venezuela of ours. He has been able to make links with society (from criticism to cultural spaces) #WhereIsLuisCarlos.

Just a few days prior to his disappearance, the state-affiliated media program Con el Mazo Dando showed a video clip of a recent broadcast of Diaz. The program's host, politician Diosdado Cabello, insinuated that Diaz had helped to orchestrate the nationwide power outage that had Venezuelans living in the dark for more than 24 hours on March 7 and 8.

There is no evidence to support this.

#DenounceEP Since 5:30 pm the whereabouts of journalist Luis Carlos Díaz are unknown. He was accused to be a “fascist-like influencer” through the Twitter account of “Con el mazo dando”.

As time without solid information continues to pass, the SNTP joined the campaign that started the search at the headquarters of the Intelligence Service (SEBIN):

It's been been seven hours since Luis Carlos Díaz has gone missing. [Díaz] is a journalist for Unión Radio Noticias and he's a human rights activist. We're at the SEBIN headquarters and they deny having him [in custody there] #WhereIsLuisCarlos

[Update: they later confirmed Diaz was in custody]

Journalist Vladimir Villegas denounced that he had been detained by government forces:

We've been informed that @Unionradionet journalist Luis Carlos Díaz, has been detained by State's security forces. We express our concern for his physical integrity. We demand any information of his whereabouts and respect for his human rights.

The Global Voices community stands in solidarity with Luis Carlos, his family, and all other independent journalists working to hold power to account in Venezuela. We wish for his safe and speedy return, and will continue to update this story as it develops.

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