Tim Tracy and the April connection

All it takes to create a civil war in Venezuela is an American documentary maker and former actor.

New Interior Minister Miguel Rodríguez Torres made public last week details about what he calls the “April connection”: an alleged plot where student groups were financed by an unnamed nation to create unrest in the country.

The main announcement was the detention of U.S.-national Timothy Hallet Tracy, whom Rodriguez Torres referred to as “a counter-intelligence agent”, but he offered no evidence about his intelligence ties.

Tracy’s family and his friends rejected Rodriguez Torres’s claims, and said that Tracy was in Venezuela to do a documentary. The 35-year old was detained at Maquetia Airport when he was returning to the U.S., but it wasn’t his first detention by Venezuelan authorities (he was arrested in Puerto Cabello the week before the election while filming a Maduro rally).

Mr. Tracy’s resume indicated he started as an actor, but in recent years his career shifted into TV production. He was the executive producer of “Madhouse”, a History Channel show about race-car drivers. He also produced “Under Siege”, a recent investigation into criminal activities in the Canadian-U.S. border for Discovery Channel.

But Tracy’s arrest wasn’t the only development of the case: one of the videos presented by Rodriguez Torres as evidence included an interview with former head of Civil Protection (Venezuela’s Emergencies Agency) Antonio Rivero. 48 hours later, Rivero was detained by authorities. Rivero is now a member of Voluntad Popular (Leopoldo Lopez’s party).

The government has decided to take a page out of North Korea’s playbook and members of the opposition think more arrests are on the way. As the new Interior Minister has decided to put his priority on this, the issue of violence in the country will continue in the backburner.

Juan Cristóbal adds: Tim Tracy and I have been in touch the past few months. He initially approached me for an interview to be included in his documentary. He missed our appointment in Caracas because he had a run-in with chavista authorities, and we never did end up meeting. He’s been emailing me on and off ever since. While I don’t know him personally, he did not strike me as being anything other than who he claimed to be: a passionate documentarian interested in this strange and dangerous period of Venezuelan history. My prayers go out to him and his family.