Is Timothy Tracy a U.S. spy who tried to promote violence Venezuela’s recent presidential election or does the government unfairly target him a scapegoat? This is the question in the middle of the latest diplomatic disagreement between Venezuela and the U.S.
On Saturday night, a judge in Caracas charged Tracy with conspiracy, falsifying public documents
and other crimes.
The 35-year-old has remained behind bars since Wednesday when he was arrested at the Simon Bolivar International Airport. The next day, newly inaugurated President Nicolás Maduro accused Tracy of “creating violence in the cities of this country.” Furthermore, interior minister Miguel Rodríguez Torres alleged to have over 500 videos demonstrating Tracy’s guilt including his meeting with members of the Venezuelan student protest movement.
“We have no doubt that he is an intelligence operative based on his training. He knows how to infiltrate, recruit others and manage security information,” declared Rodriguez at a press conference.
“The documentaries he makes have nothing to do with national security. They’re individual histories that try to understand the polarizing political climate of this country,” declared Gloria Stifano, Timothy Tracy’s attorney in Venezuela. “He met with the Women With Chávez group, received authorization from several mayors and was approved by the national electoral council to act as an observer,” added Stifano.
Student protest activist Gaby Arellano denied the charges by the state against her cohorts and claimed that the Tracy affair is “like a big farce on the part of the government to distract attention.” Tuki Jencquel, a Venezuelan filmmaker who reportedly became friends with Tracy, said that Tracy “seemed to be very evenhanded in his work and neutral in relation to what was happening in Venezuela”.
According to imdb.com, Tracy worked as a producer on several documentaries and television shows such as “Angry White Man,” “Madhouse” and “American Harmony.”
U.S. State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell neglected to comment on whether Tracy had any connection with any U.S. government agency and he also rejected allegations that the U.S. is involved in any efforts to destabilize Venezuela.
Diplomatic relations between Venezuela and the U.S. has been uneasy over the past fifteen years. Last month, for instance, Venezuelan officials expelled a pair of U.S. diplomats charged with plotting against the government of then-President Hugo Chávez.
In the meantime, the Venezuelan opposition continues their dispute of this month’s election that was apparently won by Maduro with an approximately 1.7% margin ahead of Miranda state Gov. Henrique Capriles. Electoral authorities pledged to perform a partial audit of the nearly 15 million total votes, which was a decision blasted by the Capriles and his supporters:
Capriles, who says he should have been declared the winner of the April 14 presidential vote, alleged via his Twitter account that election authorities rejected his appeal for a full recount "at the order of the Socialist Party" that governs Venezuela…
A group of opposition lawmakers who back Capriles's challenge said they too would continue to draw attention to the case, including launching appeals at regional bodies like Mercosur and Unasur.
"We will go to all the (global) organizations, so that the whole world knows that Henrique Capriles Radonski won the elections in Venezuela," said opposition lawmaker Ismael Garcia.Ventrell last Tuesday denied that the White House was considering placing sanctions against the Venezuelan government. It remains to be seen if the imprisonment of Tracy will soon change that mindset around.
Video Source– YouTube via Noticiero Univision
Online Sources – infoBAE.com; Venezuela Al Dia; imdb.com; GlobalPost: The Latin Americanist; New York Times; Bloomberg; El Espectador