Chavez did not identify the man on Thursday night nor detail the accusations against him. But the case has the potential to ratchet up longstanding tensions between Venezuela and the U.S. less than two months ahead of Venezuela’s presidential election.
Chavez said the Hispanic man was detained Aug. 4 while crossing into Venezuela from Colombia. He said the man was carrying a U.S. passport with entrance and exit stamps from countries including Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya.
A U.S. State Department official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to speak publicly, said the U.S. government as of Friday morning had not been notified of the arrest by the Venezuelan government.