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Venezuelan Activist Detained In Miami While Seeking Political Asylum

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) — A young Venezuelan man considered a political hero in his country has been detained in Miami after seeking asylum in the U.S. for nearly two years.

e69fc8e5df644beca31a9f83f1ac76771 Venezuelan Activist Detained In Miami While Seeking Political Asylum

Marco Coello sits in a Miami immigration office on April 26, 2017. (Source: Elizabeth Blandon)

Marco Coello was jailed in Venezuela for protesting the government. He fled the country to the United States, where he believed he would make his case to be granted political asylum.

“I never think to see this situation in this country,” said the young man’s father, Armando Coello.

Instead, his heartbroken father and attorney said Coello was taken into custody unexpectedly and now faces deportation.

“In my opinion, this is a travesty of justice,” said attorney Elizabeth Blandon. “Because our government would not even entertain the claim of asylum of a Venezuelan, who’s considered a hero and a political prisoner in Venezuela. He’s considered that on the international stage. Instead, what they did, is detain him.”

His family fears that should Coello be sent back to Venezuela, wracked with deadly protests for the past month, he will surely face prison and could be killed.

“They are executing in extra-judicial form anyone who is dangerous to this dictatorship,” said Armando.

The next step is to try to get a bond for Coello, arguing he suffers from PTSD after spending time in a Venezuelan jail. They will, of course, also continue to fight his deportation.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security Immigration and Customs Enforcement responded to the case.

“Marco Coello has two misdemeanor criminal convictions and did not depart the country in accordance with his visa. As a result, he violated the terms of his non-immigrant status in the United States. As Secretary Kelly has stated, ICE will no longer exempt classes or categories of removable aliens from potential enforcement. All of those in violation of the immigration laws may be subject to immigration arrest, detention and, if found removable by final order, removal from the United States.”

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio weighed in on Twitter.

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