Venezuela

American Held Amidst Venezuelan Election Dispute

Accused of trying to start a "civil war" by financing student protests

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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 Rodriguez said Timothy Hallet Tracy had been seeking to destabilize the country on behalf of an unnamed U.S. intelligence agency after President Nicolas Maduro's narrow presidential victory.

"We detected the presence of an American who began developing close relations with these (students)," said Rodriguez 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."

Rodriguez said Tracy, 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.