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Venezuela Official Briefly Detained

September 24, 2006|From Times Wire Reports

CARACAS, Venezuela — Venezuela's foreign minister was detained at a New York airport Saturday, prompting an apology from the U.S. government and compounding already tense relations between the two countries.

"We were the object of an illegal detention by the U.S. government," Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro told reporters at Venezuela's mission to the United Nations. He and President Hugo Chavez attended last week's U.N. General Assembly session.

Maduro said he was held for 90 minutes and that police physically threatened him. The delay prevented him from traveling home Saturday, he said.

U.S. Homeland Security spokesman Russ Knocke denied that Maduro was mistreated.

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