American filmmaker charged, ex-general held in Venezuela crackdown

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.