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US denies attempting to destabilize Venezuela

Xinhua | Updated: 2013-04-27 11:02

WASHINGTON - The United States on Friday denied making any effort to destabilize the Venezuelan government, and called an American arrested in the South American nation "a private US citizen".

State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell said at a regular news briefing that Washington was seeking more information on Timothy Hallet Tracy, an American documentary filmmaker arrested on Wednesday in the Venezuelan capital Caracas on charges of conspiring to destabilize the country.

Venezuela's Interior and Justice Minister Miguel Rodriguez has said that his government sees the American man as someone who "belongs to some intelligence organization", because "he is trained and he knows how to infiltrate, and how to handle sources and security information".

"These type of accusations are the latest in a series of allegations made by the Venezuelan government in recent weeks against a variety of 'foreign actors,' suggesting efforts to effect political developments in Venezuela," Ventrell told reporters in Washington.

"These allegations have not been substantiated. The US continues to categorically reject any allegations of US government efforts to destabilize the Venezuelan government or to harm anyone in Venezuela," the spokesman said, adding that Tracy is just "a private US citizen".

Tracy was accused of inciting political opponents in Venezuela to take part in violent street protests against the outcome of the April 14 presidential election, in which President Nicolas Maduro beat his closest rival only by a slim margin. The clashes last week left eight people dead.

Washington has not recognized Maduro as Venezuela's new president, and has been pushing for a recount of the presidential votes.

US-Venezuela relations have been strained in recent years, and the two countries have not had each other's ambassadors since July 2010. Maduro and his predecessor, late president Hugo Chavez, have regularly accused Washington of seeking to destabilize their oil-rich country.

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