I wanted statistics on contraband. Several sources told me to ask the Bolivarian National Guard, which controls the border. After a phone call to its headquarters, I was invited to make the request in person.
Things seemed to go well. I introduced myself as a reporter and was told “The General” would speak to me soon. The afternoon dragged into the evening with multiple reassurances that “The General” had just cleared his agenda for me. At 7 p.m. — about four hours into the wait — I told them I had to leave. They said I couldn’t.
Instead, I was handed over to “The Inspector,” who put me into an armored car with doors that didn’t open from the inside (I checked). When I asked him where we were going, he said, “My office.”
His office was an undistinguished house on an inconspicuous street in San Cristóbal. The windows were heavily barred. Once inside, I was told that I was being investigated by military counter-intelligence.
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