Wednesday, June 12, 2013

April 2013. The Thimoty Tracy and Antonio Rivero Cases

(Shorter versions of this chronology were previously published in the blog Venezuelan Politics and Human Rights)

Thimoty Tracy

April 26, At a news conference Interior and Justices Minister Miguel Rodríguez Torres reveals that the government has detained a US citizen named Timothy Hallet Tracy that, according to the Minister, belongs to a US “intelligence organization” and that had been handing out money to “students and parties of the right with the aim of generating violence.” Rodriguez Torres specifies that the money was channeled to a plot called “April Connection” that the SEBIN (Servicio Bolivariano de Inteligencia) had been monitoring since October 2012, when “all the information we had pointed to a normal development of the elections, but that after the announcement of the results by the CNE there would be a non-recognition of those results by the candidate of the right and that violent street actions would be generated with the purpose of destabilizing and delegitimizing the government.” (Opposition leaders ridiculed Rodríguez Torres via twitter asking how could the SEBIN know there would be elections in October 2012 if Chávez died in March 2013). 

As proof of the plot Rodríguez Torres showed during his press conference excerpts from a video of an opposition rally. In the video a group of students joke with the camera asking for 5 million dollars for the rights of appearing in the movie Tracy is making, and “600 million Bs. to be deposited to me if you want me to activate the city of Merida.” Rodríguez Torres explained that these experts clearly showed that “what motivates these students is to burn the country down. What they are interested in is money.” The family of Tracy claims that he is an amateur documentary producer. The US State Department denies that he is an intelligence agent. 

Tracy was expelled form Venezuela on June 5. The Minister of Interior, Justice, and Peace, Miguel Rodríguez Torres wrote on twitter: “The gringo Timothy Hallet Tracy captured spying on our country, has been expelled from the national territory.”

General Antonio Rivero

April 27, Leopoldo López of the opposition party Voluntad Popular denounces via twitter that a leader of his party, the retired General Antonio Rivero has been illegally detained. The next day his lawyer announces that he will be indicted with charges of “conspiracy and instigation to commit crimes.” 

April 25, two days before his arrest, the public Venezolana de Televisión (VTV) had aired news claiming that Antonio Rivero was a CIA agent that had been recruited by the US State Department three years ago, with the aim of “denouncing the supposed ´cubanization´ of the FANB”, and shows a video of Rivero participating in the post April 14 election protests and giving instructions to protestors. Rivero is waiting for trial. On May 2 he started a hunger strike which he suspended on May 13. 

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