Tim Tracy and the April connection

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    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.

    1 COMMENT

    1. Rivero´s detention was particularly coward, a person whom he considered a dear friend set a rendezvous. When he got to the rendezvous location, the SEBIN was there to arrest him.

    2. As I understand this
      http://www.notitarde.com/Portada/Supuesto-espia-es-productor-de-cine/2013/04/25/181707
      this is his third time. I wonder: how does a US operative manage to get caught 3 times? What foreign agent would decide to leave Venezuela through the main exit, the only one, actually, where there might be some control after what happened to him already? Hello?

      What happened to the other US American detained last year in Táchira while going to Barinas on a bus? The French “spy” was set free at the same time as Arné Chacón the day Chávez died or died not (on Hogmanay)

    3. What’s with the blocking-out of the (wrongly) accused’s eyes? To protect his “privacy rights”?
      What a sick sick joke. Venezuela is basically being operated by a foreign power but Maduro has his gringo “spy”. Looking forward to that “trial.”

      • lol, thats an understatement, I go there, i drive cause my family members were too tired, and i get pulled over by a cop, they saw that Im chinese, and of course they ask for money.. even though I clearly am american/chinese, they still asking for money… ridiculous… I had international drivers license too, so they really didnt have anything on me.

        • You have to understand, ideology really doesn’t come into it at all for corrupt police. Doesn’t matter whether you’re from “The Empire” or a supposedly friendly allied country, just want cash.

      • Funny thing about that: Al Jazeera had an article out just today on Venezuelan tourism.

        http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2013/04/201342182510740313.html

        Some of the obvious anti-tourism factors discussed on this blog are mentioned such as crime and inflation.
        I personally find this highly quote entertaining:
        “Interest in the country’s “Bolivarian revolution” has also drawn left-leaning foreigners who want to learn more about Venezuela’s social programmes. Global Exchange, a US-based organisation, hosts “reality tours” geared towards activists, but the market for political tourism isn’t particularly large. ”

        Apparently the reality of the eternally progressing Marxist revolutionary paradise is not nearly as enchanting as the fantasy. I can’t imagine prosecuting a documentarian is going to improve things.

        For a gringo it is probably anathema, but I like Al Jazeera’s reporting more and more in recent years.

        • The thing about slum tourists, they don’t spend much money. It does not fit with their ethos, nor with the budget that daddy/mommy set them for foreign travel while they complete their degrees in development studies. So they are a crappy market to pursue, business wise.

          If Al Jazeera would just change its name. It freaks people out….

          • Yes, the name is a problem, especially given all the extremist crap that is also published under the Al Jazeera name (but is in fact completely unrelated).

    4. Is the government trying to make the Bolivarian version of Godzilla? (North Korea kidnapped South Korean filmmakers forcing them to do, among other things, a North Korean version of Godzilla)

      • I think they will rather try to make the Bolivarian version of “Chicken Little” with Maduro as the misunderstood protagonist and Cilia as “Abby”. They will replace the alien invasion for a US invasion and have HCh making a special appearance.

    5. I think it is simply propaganda for internal (and maybe external) use. Sure, the video is laughable, the history not convincing, but there are for sure some people who would believe that. My experience in Pinochets Chile was similar, history going from “ghosts” appearing in the panamericana to invented subversive plots, trying to change the attention focus or reinforcing the “internal-war” theory.

    6. Pote de Humo. One of countless thrown by the Podrido government to distract people and maybe make some kind of case to their own Kool-Aid drinkers that they are actually under threat..

      Too bad for Mr. Tracy that our State Security Gorillas happened upon him. One can only hope he is freed soon.

    7. It would also seem that the US State Department could be a little more vocal in its displeasure of the new government. This is an obvious political detention, whose guidelines are described in most fascistic textbooks. 1) Arrest suspect on trumped-up charges. 2) Make HIM prove his innocence. 3) Provide massive amounts of false information through the state controlled media. Yet, the reaction from Foggy Bottom is as if there were only a slight ‘misunderstanding’ involved here. Nonsense! Where the hell are you people? If you can’t find the words to defend Tracy’s inalienable liberty as a US citizen, we may as well all pack it up and move to Pyongyang tomorrow.

      • I do not agree, the more noise US State Department the louder the government will cry pitiyanqui intervention, the CIA want to kill Maduro etc etc etc. This will end up like the paracachitos story…and in the near future maybe this filmmaker can make a documentary or write an article about his crazy time in the “Socialismo del siglo XXI”

    8. I was warned by an employee of the Venezuelan consulate in NY that if I am to travel there with my American wife (I am venezuelan) we should carry a formal letter from family in Caracas inviting her to stay or proof of hotel reservation because they are more suspicious than usual of Americans going in and out of the country.
      I shrugged it off as ridiculous, but still makes me more than a little nervous.

      • It’s not ridiculous…that’s for real.
        This past February our Canadian/Venezuelan daughter came to meet us in Margarita, flying from Costa Rica via Miami and Colombia (cheaper), the last leg by bus into Venezuela. At the border they asked her for a “Letter of Invitation” as you described. This is an official notarized document. When they couldn’t produce it they wouldn’t let them enter Venezuela, kicked them off the bus in between the borders.
        I can’t get into how they got to Maracaibo and flew to Margarita to meet us (on the grounds it might incriminate a someone who helped them) but they were eventually detained at the airport there for six hours until the Immigration bureaucrats gave them a letter allowing them to leave. But they had to produce the letter and get their passport stamped before leaving the country.
        The next day the death of Chavez was announced and Venezuela closed shop.
        Eventually it came down to a piddly bribe of 3000Bf each to get out of Venezuela or wait weeks for the paperwork. Barely worth all the bother.

    9. The comments section is being run over by nut jobs. What do you guys suggest doing? One particular commenter from Maracaibo has commented today more than 40 times, and the day isn’t even over yet.

      • It’s quite clear their purpose is to derail discussions, not to contribute to them. You would be more than entitled to delete their comments.

      • The nutjob squad and their feeders…. I still fail to understand what is the motivation of nice intelligent people like Rodrigo or ExTorres engaging the trolls…the comment section is beyond boring

        • Speaking for myself, my comments are more to newcomers who may be convinced by the trolls’ comments, and to the many silent, unwilling readers who may join our side if gotten to see our sensible and considerate side (Yoanni Sánchez wrote of such an example as one of the reasons for continuing with her blog and not losing hope).

          • You can engage trolls. But it is a waste of time. For example, if a commenter starts the comment with insult or provocation, tune them out. They don’t deserve an answer whatever their following arguments might be. In real life, if you don’t wanna punch them in the face, you show contempt for them. Here, you tune them out, or call them out. Then, you might answer to whatever they might have said that might conceivably be an attempt at argumentation, though one is entitled to doubt it, when they begin with insult.

            • You may have missed what I meant. It’s not a waste of time because necomers who don’t know the trolls may believe their half-baked argumentation unless they read a sensible reply to it. Also, it’s not a waste of time because there are unwilling readers, such as military personnel, who read the blog as part of their job who may begin to see our side if they begin to see our rationale (again, I mention Yoanni Sánchez). As to your example about a commenter who simply provoke, I don’t reply to those, only to those who use misleading information/logic in some seemingly convincing fashion.

      • I would sacrifice my hat as commenter to wear one of a comment editor volunteer, never taking sides, but reining in the content, if that sounds like a solution that would keep you guys from having to spend time on comments instead of on your posts.

      • Delete their posts. Clearly they’re not here to foster any kind of meaningful conversation.

        The one guy’s username is “Viva Maduro.”

        • Agreed, I would leave a select few of GAC’s or Arturo’s posts, to make the party line counter argument known for those who are curious, but 80% plus can be deleted and are simple troll bait.

          • Yea also if everyone made a concerted effort to not respond to them that would make a dent as well. I have been guilty of entering into a few repartees with those guys but I won’t make that mistake again. It’s like talking to a robot.

            I can understand the desire to fight them so that newcomers to the blog won’t be misled. But it only takes like one or two blog entry reads before you realize that they’re loony.

      • Juan, please block them. Quico has lost touch with his audience – he told us just to ignore them which is clearly not working. (i wont even mention Quico’s recent posts… )

      • I, like ET, do not engage with trolls to convince them, but to make sure that the record in the forum is kept straight with no misleading information.

        I know some are bothered by it, but sometimes I feel it is a responsibility

        When they have publicly claimed that they have no interest in contributing to the forum and don’t see any reason to no keep them from participating unless they actually contribute.

        I understand that it may be a monumental task. At the end it is your site. .

          • Actually your comments do contribute meaningfully. But talking to those guys makes me feel like I’m banging my head against a wall sometimes 🙂

            Plus, when I look down and see a blog post has 100+ comments I get excited then realize that a ton of them are GAC and “Viva Maduro” spouting off non-sense it is disappointing.

        • Rodrigo, we have found that, rather than lengthy dime y direte diatribes, an opportunistic truth quick cut to the jugular leaves them gurgling and gasping for air, for all to see, and, even if they survive, their subsequent attacks are more feeble, and, even if successful, they have only weaned out the weaker elements of the pack, who probably wouldn’t have lasted anyway. With this approach, we have virtually eliminated the genus Fascistitis Comunistoide from our Blogs, although we still keep a few around in zoos to remind us of how pernicious they really are……..

          • I’m happy to see ET and Rodrigo, among others, respond to these guys, because the things they say are truthful, not to mention, LOGICAL, in nature. Unfortunately, when someone engages the trolls, they do exactly what I commented to GAC a few weeks ago (after claiming that he was here to “debate”): they don’t debate, they just regurgitate. They behave as though they didn’t read/hear/understand a single word, and that’s just totally non-productive.

    10. Juan Cristobal should know. Michigan boys do not go out to terrorize other countries. We do our job in country. Have you ever heard of the Michigan Milicias?

    11. The Guardian reported that Timothy Tracy’s return trip to the USA was paid for with “air miles”. See, he financed the Opposition, but couldn’t pay for his own ticket home.

    12. Juan be careful in your next trip to Venezuela, with the emails you received from Tracy you’re in the black list! Estan cazando brujas para distraer…..

      • Indeed, but his cover may already have been blown–There’s the antecedent: Tracy’s uncle DICK “befriended” JCN’s father in Washington when both were working there in the past: And, covers are blown all the time by : personal mistakes–Tracy’s trying to scam his Government expense account by using Frequent Flier (where does a poor documentarian get the money to fly so frequently, anyway?) miles; personal ambition–JCN’s desire to eventually become a Venezuelan telenovela “Galan”; and out-of-character personal behavior–Quico’s “coincidentally” moving to the Far East just as North Korea heats up, his spending his first few pfennigs from “Blogging The Revolution” to make a relaxed tourist trip to peaceful/beautiful Al Qaeda hotspot Sudan, and his lame attempt to defend the 4/7 results ostensibly to protect his nice new crisp $100 bill….

    13. Some years ago -circa 2007- there was some Gringo with the Internet name of Godmonkey who made some comments at Caracas Chronicles to the effect that he had come to Venezuela to make a film about the Wonderful Bolivarian Revolution, and wanted to learn more about Venezuela. Like Tim Tracy, he had very limited funds. I and other commenters tried to inform him that the Wonderful Bolivarian Revolution was not as wonderful as its press releases. As far as I know, after a few postings here, he never commented again. I wonder if 1) he ever made his film and 2) he ever awakened to the reality of the Wonderful Bolivarian Revolution.

      My guess is that after two days and and several hours of unedited film, he got mugged, and left the country, never to return and never to finish his film.

      Hearing how immigration officials are now hostile to US citizens reminds me, by contrast, of the hospitality – and NO BRIBE REQUESTED- with which immigration officials treated me on my entries into Venezuela. Different era.

    14. The crime level is terrible the nation is divided but it has
      amazing beaches
      probably the worlds best climate
      hot women
      Incredible fauna geographic and wildlife diversity
      no big brother draconian laws
      no chemtrails
      A thriving informal economy
      No regulation
      Cheap transport
      Friendly people
      No banker bail outs (or bail ins)
      Most oil in the world natural gas gold diamonds
      Incredibly competitive exchange rate 28bs a dollar a pajarito told me
      Please correct me if I am wrong!

      • BUT, “The crime level is terrible.” If you are a foreigner, or foreign-looking, you are at the top of the list for being hit by robbery/kidnapping, even if you know your way around….

      • There are Chemtrails in Venezuela, planes fly from the US to Venezuela all the time! If mind control chemicals are put into jet fuel

        As to the real cause of Chemtrails, Venezuela has plenty of air travel which is the real cause of Chemtrails, condensation of the product of combustion. Oxygen and hydrocarbon’s make water.

        http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Chemtrails

        Venezuela’s entire banking sector is a giant bailout, paid for with Venezuela’s oil wealth. That’s what the currency exchange system is allows.

    15. A filmmaker that went with me to university does know Tim Tracy, and he is just what he says,ma guy making a documentary. It’s incredible the level of craziness this people have managed to achieve in just a few weeks of Chavez passing, it seems Cabello spoke the truth for once, Chavez was the one keeping them under control.

      • What? Are you telling us we should not think he is a well-trained US intelligence operative? Come on!

        Everybody knows anyone trying to leave the country through Maiquetía with his real passport after being detained twice (TWICE) in the previous MONTHS for openly filming political rallies of opposition and Chavistas alike is a secret agent!

        Any other person would have left the country with a private plane of the many that leave the country, or on any of the countless boats and yachts that depart without any control every single day, probably with a different ID.

        He probably wanted to kill Maduro on the Jewish day of Rabat.

        Y no me mires así, que sé que quieres echarme mal de ojo

        Eficiencia o nada!

      • Sigh…

        Please, Feo…the fact someone is detained unduly by a stupid, feudal, definitely autocratic government (not a communist one, might some of the honchos in power be described as “communist”) doesn’t turn him into a potential great artist who writes about human right abuses.

        Shouting “abajo el comunismo” from Sambil sounds a wee bit silly.

        And I am all for free market and private enterprises.

        • Don’t see your point. Yes, it’s a flawed comparison, Venezuela does not have a gulag system. And seeing how the maduristas have dragged their good name through the mud for what seems an eternity this embarrassment feels like just another drop in the bucket compared to the sterility and opaqueness of the oppressive soviet system. But you miss the point. They wanted to be taken seriously as oppressive Marxists, but they just went and sidelined a large part of their international backers.

          I suggest we head to Cannes next month with some signs and banners and make some of the attending pinko movie stars and directors see the light.

          (1) Detention of a harmless documentary movie maker
          (2) Full-fledged McCarthyism

          Anything else to add?

    16. I met him too here in Caracas and he told me he was doing a documentary on Venezuela, he wanted to give an unbiased look into the Venezuelan psychology. He wasn’t looking to give a one-sided view of events.

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