Remember all that intense post-election violence in Venezuela? It's partly some guy from California's fault. That seems to be what Venezuelan authorities are suggesting with their arrest of a California filmmaker.
Relatives of Timothy Hallet Tracy, a United States citizen, says he was traveling to Venezuela to shoot a documentary. But Venezuela's Interior Minister Miguel Rodriguez Torres says that Tracy was a spy who directed funds towards student protests. In a news conference, the official says that Tracy tried to start a "civil war" in Venezuela.
"Judging from the way this gentleman behaved, we presume that he belongs to some intelligence organization, because he is trained and he knows how to infiltrate, and how to handle sources and security information," Interior Minister Miguel Rodriguez Torres told Agence France Presse and other news agencies in a press conference.
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Tracy sought "to bring the country to civil war... which would immediately provoke the intervention of a foreign power to restore order and reestablish democracy," Rodriguez added, in an apparent reference to the United States.
Meanwhile, Tracy's family paints a very different picture. His friends say he came to Venezuela last year to impress a girl, the Associated Press reported. At a party, a friend said, "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.'"
Before his latest project, he had been a story consultant on the 2009 documentary "American Harmony," about competitive barbershop quartet singing, and produced the recent Discovery Channel program "Under Siege," the AP reported. "They don't have CIA in custody. They don't have a journalist in custody. They have a kid with a camera," a friend added in an interview with the AP.