Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Venezuela deports American Timothy Hallet Tracy after dropping espionage and sedition charges

"The gringo has been expelled"

*Updated June 6*
Guadalajara -
U.S. citizen Timothy Hallet Tracy, who was arrested in Caracas on April 25 after the government of president Nicolás Maduro accused him of trying to launch a civil war, has been deported.

The 35 year old Michigan native, a self-styled documentary film maker, was taken into custody on charges he was preparing a "violent ambush against state authority." His arrest came only days after Maduro won a narrow victory at the ballot box to replace former president Hugo Chavez, who died Mar. 5. Venezuela arrests U.S. national, claiming he was sent to lead "right wing destabilization."

"The gringo Timothy Hallett Tracy, captured while carrying out espionage in our country, has been expelled from our national territory," said the Venezuelan Interior Minister via his Twitter account.

Tracy leaving Caracas this morning . . . no word yet on who picked up the air fare

The government had offered few details of its case against Tracy, whom it alleged was a member of a conspiracy denominated "Conexión Abril" - the April Connection. But it said that Tracy and "fascist" co-conspirators had been under investigation by Bolivarian Intelligence Services since October 2012. The implication was that Tracy was working with right wing political forces in the country to foment street dissent. Post-election protests killed nine and left 80 injured in late April.

Tracy was allegedly training and motivating right wing student groups opposed to Maduro. The government claimed 500 instructional videotapes were seized as evidence when he was arrested.

Maduro administration spokesmen said that Tracy "clearly was trained as an intelligence agent - we have no doubt about that. He knows how to operate clandestinely, knows how to take care of himself in difficult situations. He received financing from Foreign ONGS (Non-Governmental Organizations)."

When Tracy made his first court appearance on Apr. 27, he was formally charged with conspiracy, aiding and abetting in furtherance of a criminal enterprise, the possession and use of false documents and criminal association.

The false document count allegedly related to a bogus voter's credential which Tracy was said to be carrying when he was arrested. In many Latin countries, voters' cards are the most highly regarded form of personal identification. They are issued only to citizens, and possession by foreign nationals is a crime.

Venezuelan prosecutors said it was Tracy's "intention to start a civil war, which would then lead to intervention by the United States in our country." Timothy Hallett Tracy makes first court appearance.

In a May 5 television interview, the Venezuelan justice minister said "everything Tracy did was pursuant to what we in the intelligence business call establishing a front, a facade," claiming Tracy's email communications "linked him to the right and revealed plans for fomenting civil disorder and violence. The purpose was to create chaos in the streets," added the minister, who denied that Tracy had traveled to Venezuela to make a documentary. Timothy Hallett Tracy is "neither a photographer nor a film maker."

On Mar. 17, president Maduro said during a television interview that "right wing forces" in the United States were behind a plot to assassinate a conservative opposition candidate, to sow confusion in the country and promote violence in advance of the approaching election. Maduro named Roger Noriega, a former U.S. ambassador to the Organization of American States and fervent Chávez critic, as a ringleader of the alleged conspiracy.

"I call upon president Barack Obama and the government of the United States to act responsibly. Roger Noriega, Otto Reich and other officials in the Pentagon and the CIA are behind plans to assassinate the presidential candidate on the right, in order to create chaos in Venezuela. I have solid information they intend to throw the blame on (my) government," said Maduro during that interview. Venezuelan president warns Obama of U.S. plot to assassinate opposition candidate.

Although the administration did not respond to those claims, in recent weeks president Obama called the charges against Timothy Tracy "ridiculous."

June 6 - No surprise with this story. Only hours after Tim Tracy was released, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Venezuelan Foreign Minister Elías Jaua announced that they will reopen talks on an exchange of ambassadors. The two countries have conducted diplomatic relations through low level officials since 2010. Kerry and Jaua had a private 40 minute meeting before appearing to issue a joint statement. The men were in Antigua, Guatemala for the 43rd annual assembly of the Organization of American States. Kerry thanked Venezuela, including president Maduro by name, for freeing Tracy.

July 3 - Maduro da otro paso en incipiente acercamiento a EEUU

© MGRR 2013. All rights reserved. This article may be cited or briefly quoted with proper attribution or a hyperlink, but not reproduced without permission.

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