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American filmmaker charged, ex-general held in Venezuela crackdown

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    This undated family photo released Thursday, April 25, 2013, shows Timothy Tracy inside of a vehicle in Venezuela. The 35-year-old filmmaker from California was arrested Wednesday, by Venezuelan authorities who are accusing him of fomenting post election violence on behalf of the U.S. government. Friends and family told The Associated Press said that he had been in Venezuela since last year making a documentary about the confrontation between the opposition and a socialist government that is struggling to maintain its once-high popularity after the death of Venezuela's late President Hugo Chavez. (AP Photo/Family courtesy photo) (The Associated Press)

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    ADDS COMPLETED SECOND SENTENCE-Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro, right, talks with reporters after a wreath-laying ceremony at the Jose Marti monument in Havana, Cuba, Saturday, April 27, 2013. Maduro is in Cuba to sign agreements with the government of Raul Castro. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa) (The Associated Press)

Venezuelan authorities say they have formally charged an American filmmaker they accuse of paying right-wing groups to foment postelection unrest on behalf of U.S. intelligence.

The federal prosecutor's office said Timothy Tracy, 35, of West Hollywood, California, was formally charged Saturday night with crimes including conspiracy, association for criminal purposes and use of a false document.

Friends say Tracy is an innocent, self-funded documentary filmmaker with no political aims or government ties.

Separately, officials say they have arrested a retired general who had become a fierce critic of the government, a detention the opposition called part of a hardening crackdown in the wake of Venezuela's narrow and disputed April 14 election.

Retired Brig. Gen. Antonio Rivero had gained fame for denouncing Cuban involvement in the Venezuelan military in 2010 and then participated in postelection protests this month.