News

Two UM alumni released after capture in Libya

The Miami Hurricane

Two University of Miami alumni who had been detained by Libyan national militia were released Wednesday.

While covering the conflict, the two Miami-based journalists, Getty Images photographer Joe Raedle, 45, and the French News Agency (AFP) reporter Roberto Schmidt, 45, along with AFP journalist Dave Clark, were abducted at gunpoint March 19 near Ajdabiya.

Raedle was a catcher on the UM baseball team from 1984-86. He lives in Miami and is married to Miami Herald Interactive Editor Nancy San Martin.

“He told me, ‘I’m fine; everything is OK now’… and then there were a lot of tears,’’ San Martin told The Miami Herald. “I can finally breathe.’’

Schmidt, who normally works out of the Nairobi bureau, graduated from UM in 1989.

The journalists were captured by Colonel Moammar Gadhafi’s forces while traveling to eastern Libya on Friday. They were released Wednesday morning in Tripoli and are already on their way back to the United States.

“When I heard about it, the world kind of stopped at that moment for me, because I know Joe so well,” said Jim Virga, a visual journalism professor in the School of Communication. “Those were four of the longest days of my life.”

Virga and Raedle have been close friends and coworkers for the last 20 years. Virga also considers Schmidt a good friend, saying he was confident in the journalists’ abilities to make it out of captivity.

“These guys are the top professioinals, I mean it in every sense,” Virga said. “I imagined them being calm the whole time. I knew they were very smart and very experienced, so they would handle it the best way possible.”

Raedle

Raedle, Schmidt and Clark were attempting to cover the Libyan rebels who, for the past month, have been protesting the Gadhafi regime and taking control of the western coastal cities including Benghazi. Gadhafi’s forces put down these citizen rebellions with brutal air strikes.

Last Friday, eight years to the day after the invasion of Iraq under Operation Iraqi Freedom, the United States led the international military operation into Libya, beginning Odyssey Dawn.

Odyssey Dawn is the American arm of an international coalition supporting a United Nations resolution to protect the Libyan people from Gadhafi’s violent and autocratic regime.

Prior to the invasion, President Barack Obama warned that if Gadhafi continued to ignore the United Nations’ requests for a ceasefire and retreat, military action would result.

“Left unchecked, we have every reason to believe that Gadhafi would commit atrocities against his people,” President Obama said. “Many thousands could die. A humanitarian crisis would ensue. The entire region could be destabilized, endangering many of our allies and partners. The calls of the Libyan people for help would go unanswered. The democratic values that we stand for would be overrun.”

The Gadhafi regime claimed to be abiding by the ceasefire, but artillery fire was still present and the national army began to encroach on the rebel-stronghold in Benghazi.

Before dawn Sunday, without congressional approval, but with the encouragement of U.S. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, President Obama authorized NATO submarines to fire 124 Tomahawk Cruise Missiles at Libyan national command and control stations. President Obama has not authorized any ground troops.

Some critics of President Obama believe he needs to take a firmer position on the conflict while others worry that the United States may be involving itself in a third war.

“I’m disappointed in the president because he hasn’t picked a strong stance,” said Adam Moskowitz, a senior majoring in political science. “We need to decide whether or not we support the groups fighting Gadhafi.”

The international military coalition has begun to successfully establish a no-fly zone over the Gadhafi-held eastern Libya. Gadhafi spoke out against the conflict on Libyan state television.

“We promise you a long war,” Gadhafi said.

Last week four New York Times reporters were also captured by Gadhafi’s forces and released Monday. The only reported death of a foreign media correspondent in Libya was an Al Jazeera cameraman Ali Hassan al-Jaber who was killed on March 12 in an ambush near Benghazi.

Lindsay Brown may be contacted at lbrown@themiamihurricane.com.

Research and quotes for this report from The New York Times, CNN and The Washington Post.

March 24, 2011

Reporters

Lindsay Brown

News Editor


ONE COMMENT ON THIS POST To “Two UM alumni released after capture in Libya”

  1. bearing in mind that this is top end of the caravan market.

Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • HurricaneSports

Shakey Rodriguez, the Miami high school basketball coaching legend, vividly remembers the first time ...

It was a good day for the Miami Hurricanes basketball team. They moved up to No. 6 in the AP Top 25 ...

Erykah Davenport and Shaneese Bailey made key plays back-to-back late in the game and four players s ...

1. MARLINS: Jeter's Fish trade Gordon. Stanton next?: While others spend -- like the Angels to ...

A six-pack of Hurricanes notes on a Thursday: ▪ With the first ever early signing period just two we ...

Retired baseball star Alex Rodriguez gives "Major League" advice to UM’s fall graduating c ...

Becoming the Man of the Hour ...

Always a little bit of a flair for the dramatic. ...

A scholarship created by retired Major League Baseball star Alex Rodriguez and born out of his love ...

New Multi-State Institute Focuses on Reducing Damage from Severe Storms ...

Eighteen Hurricane student-athletes graduated from four schools and colleges at the University of Mi ...

Miami director of track and field/cross country Amy Deem's incredible career earned her a place ...

Check out the latest edition of Hurricane Magazine. ...

Members from the Miami track and field team spent the afternoon at the Boys and Girls Club in Miami ...

UM administrators, coaches and alums took part in yesterday's allCanes Holiday Shopping Spree f ...

TMH Twitter Feed
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.