Reporters Joshua Goodman, Regina Garcia Cano and Eric Tucker delivered two straight days of deeply reported, distinctive and aggressive coverage on the release by Venezuela of two American detainees, including one of the Citgo 6 oil executives — an internationally competitive story.
AP’s coverage depended on cross-border coordination between Latin America correspondent Goodman in Miami, Andes correspondent Garcia Cano in Caracas and national security reporter Tucker in Washington, all leaning on sources and hustling to track fast-moving developments in Venezuela.
Garcia Cano staked out an airport and a courthouse, and worked with Goodman to get fast confirmation on a closely held secret — the identity of the oil executive being released. That night, Tucker scored a private briefing from U.S. government officials as a result of his extensive work on the hostage/detainee beat, revealing that the State Department’s top hostage negotiator had sought the release of all the detained Americans but was rebuffed, and that there was no quid pro quo.
The second day brought even more exclusives as Goodman parlayed longstanding relationships with the families of the detained Americans to secure an exclusive statement from the released detainee, Gustavo Cardenas, and pictures of him and his family that were just hours old, taken after he was set free. Goodman and Garcia Cano later wrote a smart analytical piece about the impact of the groundbreaking U.S./Venezuela meeting on the relationship between these two countries.
The stories trended for two straight days on the AP News mobile app and received huge play, including use by the Miami Herald which has covered the story extensively.