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Filmmaker jailed in Venezuela gets US consular visits: US

Aerial view of Venezuela's opposition candidate's campaign rally in Caracas on April 7, 2013, before the election
Aerial view of Venezuelan opposition candidate Henrique Capriles Radonski's campaign rally in Caracas on April 7, 2013, before the presidential election, which Nicolas Madura will win by a 1.5 percent margin a week later. US embassy officials in Venezuela

US embassy officials in Venezuela have been able to visit an American documentary filmmaker jailed last month on accusations of espionage, a State Department spokesman said Friday.

"I can confirm we have been provided consular access and are providing appropriate consular assistance," spokesman William Ostick told AFP in an email. "Because of privacy considerations, we are unable to comment further at this time."

Timothy Tracy was arrested April 24 at the airport serving Caracas as he was about to leave the country, and accused of being a spy tasked with sowing chaos and violence in the country.

During a visit to Costa Rica May 4, President Barack Obama dismissed the allegations as "ridiculous."

Tracy's lawyer has said Tracy, who is based in Hollywood, was working on a documentary about the political divide in Venezuela, which held presidential elections April 14 to replace the late Hugo Chavez.

Nicolas Maduro, who had been picked by Chavez to succeed him, was proclaimed the winner by a 1.5 percent margin, prompting opposition charges that the elections were stolen.

At least nine people have died in election-related violence that the government has blamed on the opposition.

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