Venezuelan police detain American ‘mercenary’
CARACAS - The Associated Press
Hugo Chavez waves to supporters during a campaign rally in Catia La Mar.
President Hugo Chavez announced Aug. 9 that Venezuelan security forces have detained a U.S. citizen and suspect he is a mercenary who could be involved in an alleged plot to destabilize the country if the opposition’s candidate loses the upcoming presidential election.
“He has all the appearance of a mercenary,” Chavez said, speaking during a campaign rally in the coastal state of Vargas. Chavez said the Hispanic man was detained Aug. 4 while crossing into Venezuela from Colombia The president said the man was carrying a U.S. passport with entrance and exit stamps from countries including Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya as well as a notebook containing geographical coordinates. The man’s identity was not released. Chavez did not say where he was being interrogated.
Chavez suggested, without offering evidence, the American might have been recruited by government opponents to instigate violent protests if opposition presidential candidate Henrique Capriles loses the Oct. 7 election. “They are preparing to reject the people’s triumph, that’s very clear,” Chavez said.