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Venezuela arrests American 'mercenary', says Hugo Chávez

Those CIA jackels sure do stay busy!

Hugo Chávez, the Venezuelan president, is claiming a US citizen has been arrested and interrogated on suspicions he is a mercenary involved in a conspiracy against the government.

Chávez, who faces an election on 7 October, suggested the man is part of a plot to destabilise the country if he is re-elected.

Chávez said the Hispanic man was detained on 4 August while crossing into Venezuela from Colombia. The president said the man was carrying a US passport with entrance and exit stamps from countries including Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya as well as a notebook containing geographical co-ordinates.

The man's identity was not released. Chávez did not say where he was being interrogated.

An official from the US embassy in Caracas did not answer repeated telephone calls seeking comment on Chávez's announcement.

"He has all the appearance of a mercenary," Chávez said, speaking during a campaign rally in the coastal state of Vargas. "We are interrogating him."

The man tore up part of the notebook in his possession when he was detained, Chávez said


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