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Peruvian writer and his son briefly detained, warned they should not comment on Venezuelan political situation

(IPYS/IFEX) - On 25 May 2009, customs officials at Caracas airport detained Peruvian journalist Álvaro Vargas Llosa for more than two hours, while they went through his luggage and his identity documents. His father, writer Mario Vargas Llosa, was detained two days later in similar circumstances.

The officials told them that they could enter the country, but warned them not to express an opinion about Venezuela's political situation as they are only visitors. Both arrived in Venezuela to participate in the international forum, "The Latin American challenge: freedom, democracy, property and the fight against poverty", organised by the Centro de Divulgación del Conocimiento Económico (CEDICE).

A few days before the event, representatives of Venezuela's United Socialist Party (PSUV) stated that they would support measures such as the expulsion of the Peruvian writer if he discredited the country with his statements.

There are no laws in Venezuela that place limits on foreigners' freedom of expression. The warnings the writer and his son received infringe on this right.

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