Venezuela Releases Imprisoned U.S. Filmmaker

Helmer Tim Tracy had been charged with espionage

Venezuela has expelled U.S. docu filmmaker Tim Tracy, who was arrested nearly two months for alleged espionage. Venezuelan interior minister Miguel Rodriguez Torres tweeted the news this morning: “Gringo Timothy Hallet Tracy, who was captured spying in our country, has been expelled from national territory.”

“I’m so pleased that his ordeal has ended,” said Venezuela Awareness Foundation human rights director Patricia Andrade, who sounded the alarm about Tracy’s transfer to the notorious El Rodeo prison last week. Andrade confirmed that Tracy had gone through Miami airport en route home. He had been slated to attend a hearing June 11 in Caracas to decide his fate.

Tracy’s release and expulsion came just before a meeting between U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Venezuelan Foreign Minister Elias Jaua today. “They probably didn’t want any issues clouding their meeting,” said Andrade. Jaua was scheduled to meet Kerry during the Organization of American States General Assembly in Guatemala, making it the first ministerial powwow between the two countries since the April 14 elections, which brought Hugo Chavez heir-apparent Nicolas Maduro to power.

Tracy was detained late April while attempting to depart from Caracas Airport. He was accused of funding opposition groups to foment violence. Videos of the documentary he had been working on about the political situation in Venezuela were also seized.

Tracy was escorted to the airport after prosecutors failed to find evidence for the case against him. His imprisonment had unleashed a wave of petitions signed by thousands of sympathizers from Venezuela and elsewhere.

His previous work experience in docus includes Discovery Channel’s “Homeland Security,” about security on the Northern Border.

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