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US Spying in Venezuela: Coup in Works

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Tracy came to Venezuela in September 2012 acting as a filmmaker with a mission to highlight the pre-election campaign led by then President Hugo Chavez and opposition candidate Henrique Capriles.  

He behaved in an unusual way from the very start.  For instance, he never appeared in the Foreign Correspondents Association (APEX) headquarters.  Even independent correspondents do it to make their stay in the country more comfortable, but he kept away in order to avoid meticulous journalists asking too many questions. 

 

Tracy knew his way well in Caracas and found no difficulty in finding the right people. He used the recommended individuals list to establish first contacts with radical opposition activists and start funding their activities.  The contacts included United Active Youth of Venezuela (Juventud Activa de Venezuela Unida – JAVU) and the Venezuelan Movement of 13 April.

He also established ties with Revolutionary Movement Tupamaro (Spanish: Movimiento Revolucionario Tupamaro, MRT) led by people who many a time said they were ready to take up arms if the opposition makes an attempt to topple the legal government. In particular, Tracy tried to assess how powerful the organization was and if it really did possess the capability to use force, as well how effective was its interaction with the security forces.  According to SEBIN, the main mission for Tracy was to provoke conflicts and clashes between Chavistas and opposition, or, in other words, create preconditions for civil war.  

 Acting under cover, Tracy managed surprisingly well to always be in the swim.  For instance, he filmed the instruction for  young militants on opposing the law enforcement forces given by retired General Antonio Rivero, a leading figure in the extremists Peoples’ Will organization.  He also filmed disorders near the embassy of Cuba in Caracas on February 14, 2013. 

Tracy was seen by SEBIN security agents in Puerto Cabello where the country’s main naval base is located. The journalist paid special interest to the presidential palace and tried to take pictures of it (something banned without a special permission). Doing that, he was detained by guards but they let him go pretty soon. The palace guards were on high alert since May 2004, the measure caused by an attempt to seize the building and kill President Chavez by extreme right wing conspirators and a 130 men strong formation of Columbian paramilitaries dressed in Venezuelan military fatigue. 

The SEBIN analysts have no doubt that Tracy has received special training for acting in “hostile environment”. The conjecture is corroborated by his unique skills to penetrate various organizations. It’s still unclear, who he was trained by: the Central Intelligence Agency, the US Defense Intelligence Agency or the Drug Enforcement Administration(DEA). The American is not too talkative when interrogated pretending his command of Spanish is not up to par.  The questions are asked with the help of interpreter giving him a chance to think the answers over. 

Venezuelan reporter Ivana Cardinale told in an article published by aporrea.org that she went through Internet right after the scandal trying to find anything about the filmmaker, but found nothing! In two-three weeks after she was surprised to find that "suddenly," Google results showed information and I-don't-know-how-many photos of Tim Tracy. Perhaps they thought the Venezuelan security services would be too busy with ailing President Chavez to pay attention on a stringer. Even his foreign passport was only one year valid. Did they think the regime would fall before it expires?


 Upon Tracy’s detention, a campaign for his defense was launched in the United States.  No matter how ample the evidence was, the friends and next of kin said he was innocent. Well, parents and a couple of Georgetown University fellows could be actors.  At that even the information about his stay in University is murky, no concrete dates mentioned.  Perhaps, because the University is believed, and rightly so, to be the educational center of CIA.  President Obama himself came out in his defense.  During his visit to Latin America, Obama said the allegations against documentary film-maker Tim Tracy, 35, were "ridiculous."

And the Tracy’s case will be handled like every other in which a U.S. citizen gets into a “legal tangle” while abroad. Aengus James admits he is a friend and associate of Tracy's in Hollywood, California. The man is a real director and producer, but Tracy’s name is never mentioned in any of his films. May be he had been approached with a request to lend a helping hand to the compatriot in a lurch as a result of his fight against “communism in Latin America”.  James agreed to help, “They don't have CIA in custody.

They don't have a journalist in custody. They have a kid with a camera," he said.  James described Tracy as "fearless" but also somewhat quixotic. "This whole thing came about with him at a party in South Florida," he said. "He met this cute girl who says, 'If you really are a documentary filmmaker you'll come tell the story of what is happening in Venezuela,' and if you say something like that to Tim he goes, whether or not he knows a single person there or knows anything about the political situation or the consequences."  James is really inventive depicting Tracy as a man who keeps far from politics, with an inclination for adventures, lively and naïve for his 35.  What do you want from the one like him?

The reports have emerged Tracy collected material for a film about criminal organizations acting in the North of the United States dealing in smuggling,  drugs and human trafficking.  But where is the film? Perhaps Tracy acted as a filmmaker somewhere at the Canadian border area, but in reality worked for the DEA keeping local drug traffickers under surveillance. Is it not the reason the US officials lingered to act when the Tracy’s case came to surface? The DEA’s activities are banned in Venezuela because of the agency’s previous involvement in collecting information on Venezuelan politicians and military. Those recruited were used for cocaine trafficking under control or operating against the government of Chavez.

The situation in the country is complicated enough; the United States embassy is under strict and heightened control of Venezuelan law enforcement agencies.  It couldn’t be otherwise taking into consideration multiple facts of the embassy’s involvement in conspiracies, including a coup attempt in April 2002 and the “oil strike” in the end of 2002 beginning of 2003. That’s why the operatives, like Tracy, are sent to Venezuela to plan another plot.  As Washington sees it, the situation after the April 14, 2013 election, when Maduro won with a narrow lead, is favorable for “regime change” using “soft power” with the help of opposition leaders and students. 

The US believes there is solid ground to believe that the Capriles’ defeat could be turned into a revanche by gradually increasing pressure on the Bolivarian leadership.  The opposition acts freely, it controls 80% of TV channels and radio stations providing propaganda coverage, youth radicals incite protests in large cities, there are attempts to block administrative buildings, and the law enforcement forces are provoked into repressive actions.   

The opposition possesses a mobilization potential to reckon with. Under certain circumstances it may repeat the April 2002 manifestations, when Chavez was temporarily forced out of power.  Inflation, food shortages caused by private companies (the repetition of Chilean scenario), propaganda campaigns blowing the corruption at the top issue out of proportions, people getting to some extent fed up with the politicians of the “Chavez period”, some of whom belong to the “ fifth column” inside the government ranks – all these issues are really hard to tackle.

Will Nicolas Maduro manage to avoid the April 2002 scenario, when the opposition made new assignments and divided spheres of influence right there, in the Miraflores palace throwing the Bolivarians behind bars without a trial?   Back then President Pedro Carmona said that Chavez was to be eliminated. Capriles and his team will be merciless liquidators of Bolivarian power too. They will shed blood, but one can be certain the Empire will not intervene. Thesearethelawsofrevanche.  

 … In April 2010 the agents of Columbian DAS intelligence service were detained in the state of Barinas, they were gathering information on Venezuelan energy infrastructure. It’s well known DAS closely cooperates with the US intelligence community. In August 2012 an American retired Marine, who has seen action in Afghanistan and Iraq, was detained in the state of Tachira.  Before his capture, he tried to do away with his entries. Not so long ago the authorities declared persona non grata two US Defense attachés. Patriotic Venezuelan officers reported they tried to recruit agents among the Air Force ranks. The number of such episodes is on the rise, it testifies to the fact the hostile intelligence gathering efforts are intensified. 

This way the information on energy infrastructure was used for blackouts by the Bolivarian regime enemies. People had to wait days before energy supply was restored.  The repetition of such accidents leads to exasperation of voters growing out of proportions. It was one of the reasons for critical shift to opposition support during the elections on October 7, 2012 and April 14 this year.