Timothy Hallett Tracy is under arrest in Venezuela by Maduro’s order.
On video: “I have ordered that he be detained immediately” (at the 0:27 mark),
Venezuelan authorities said Thursday they arrested a U.S. citizen they accused of trying to spark a civil war in the country with the aid of alleged right-wing youth groups following the contested April 14 presidential election.
Interior and Justice Minister Miguel Rodriguez alleged that 35-year-old Timothy Hallett Tracy was trained as a spy by an unspecified intelligence agency and was involved with right-wing youth groups that investigators say were trying to stoke clashes between government supporters and opposition backers.
Curious about the country’s highly charged political situation, he had decided to see what was happening for himself. In the few months he had lived in Caracas, Tracy met and filmed Venezuelan students who form part of the country’s broad anti-Chavez movement, not an unusual activity for filmmakers or journalists.
And he remained in Caracas for much of the recent political crisis that began after Chavez’s battle with cancer took a turn for the worse in December.
racy had been detained at least twice before by Venezuela’s SEBIN intelligence police. The last time was five days before the April 14 presidential election when he was taking video of a pro-government rally in the port city of Puerto Cabello, said an associate who spoke on condition of anonymity because he did not want to endanger people inside Venezuela.
The U.S. Embassy in Caracas declined immediate comment, citing citizen privacy.
In Washington, State Department spokesman William Ostick said U.S consular officials in Venezuela are attempting to meet and speak with Tracy. He declined to discuss details of the man’s arrest.