U.S. Citizen Arrested by Venezuelan Government for Allegedly Inciting Postelection Violence

The latest turn in the the drama that is Venezuela involves a 35-year-old documentary filmmaker from California. According to the Associated Press and Venezuela’s TeleSur, Timothy Hallet Tracy has been arrested by the government of Nicolás Maduro for “fomenting postelection violence on behalf of the U.S. government.”

TeleSur reported that Miguel Rodríguez Torres, the government’s Minster of Interior and Justice, said that Hallet Tracy was arrested because the government believes that he was linked to acts of violence “perpetuated by the Venezuelan right wing,” leading to nine deaths and 78 injuries. The protests occurred after Maduro opponent Henrique Capriles, who lost the election by less than 235,000 votes, refused to recognize the April 14 election results. Since then, there has been a very charged and tense atmosphere in Venezuela. Even though an audit of the vote was called for, it is very unlikely that Maduro’s electoral victory will get overturned.

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Rodríguez Torres accused Hallet Tracy of influencing an opposition youth organization, and said the following about the U.S. citizen: “We found an American national whom…we assume belongs to an intelligence organization because we could detect that he has experience in this area.”

According to Rodríguez Torres, Hallet Tracy “has the training, knows how to infiltrate, received funding to these young people for violent demonstrations.” He added that Hallet Tracy’s intention “was to incite demonstrations once the results were issued, to lead the country to a civil war.”

The minister also added this: “We have direct communications documents, and the intention was to create a civil war, since, according to these documents, there was going to be an intervention by the United States in our country.”

Rodríguez Torres also said, “I’m sure no one in this country, only those right-wing extremists, want a civil war. We all want peace here.”

The proof of such accusations were presented in this link.

Meanwhile, the AP reported that Hallet Tracy “had been in Venezuela since last year making a documentary about the country.” According to the AP, Hallet Tracy has several film credits, including a Discovery Channel piece called “Under Siege,” “about terrorism and smuggling across the U.S.-Canada border.”

The AP included quotes from a friend of Hallet Tracy. He said the following: “They don’t have CIA in custody. They don’t have a journalist in custody. They have a kid with a camera. This whole thing came about with him at a party in South Florida. He met this cute girl who says, `If you really are a documentary filmmaker you’ll come tell the story of what is happening in Venezuela,’ and if you say something like that to Tim he goes, whether or not he knows a single person there or knows anything about the political situation or the consequences.”

The AP story also mentioned that Hallet Tracy has “been detained at least twice before by Venezuela’s SEBIN intelligence police,” including on just five says before the April 14 election, “when he was taking video of a pro-government rally in the port city of Puerto Cabello.”

No one in the U.S. Embassy in Caracas is offering comment, according to the AP, yet the story also include quotes from a State Department spokesperson. While the State Department won’t comment on the arrest, the spokesperson said this: “The United States continues categorically to reject any allegations of U.S. government efforts to destabilize the Venezuelan government or to harm anyone in Venezuela. Tensions in Venezuelan society result from the fact that there was an extremely close election.”

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