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Venezuela detains US citizen accused of financing opposition

enezuela''s Minister of Interior and Justice, Miguel Rodríguez stands during the ministers swearing-in ceremony in Caracas

Venezuela has detained an American citizen it says was financing opposition student demonstrations after this month's disputed presidential election, the latest in a flurry of accusations over last week's post-vote violence.

Interior Minister Miguel Rodríguez said Timothy Hallet Tracy had been seeking to destabilize the country on behalf of an unnamed US intelligence agency after President Nicolás Maduro's narrow presidential victory.

"We detected the presence of an American who began developing close relations with these (students)," said Rodríguez in a press conference. "His actions clearly show training as an intelligence agent, there can be no doubt about it. He knows how to work in clandestine operations."

Rodríguez said Tracy, age 35 from Michigan, had received financing from a foreign non-profit organization and had redirected those funds toward student organizations. The ultimate aim was to provoke "civil war," he said.

Rodríguez showed a video he said was taken by the students themselves, in which a group of young people are heard discussing money.

A US embassy official had no immediately comment on the announcement.

Opposition challenger Henrique Capriles refused to accept the result of the April 14 vote without a full recount, and the following day opposition sympathizers burned tires and threw rocks at security forces in protest.

The government says nine people were killed and numerous government clinics were attacked, but the opposition calls the official version of the events a politically motivated smear campaign.

The OPEC nation has repeatedly accused the United States of seeking to destabilize the country after the March 5 death of late socialist leader Hugo Chávez, who was frequently at odds with Washington.

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Tags:  Venezuela  US  Timothy Hallet  elections  





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