American Filmmaker Tim Tracy Freed from Prison in Venezuela, Deported to U.S.

Tim Tracy, an American filmmaker who spent the last six weeks in a Venezuelan prison cell, has been released and is on his way back to the United States.

Tracy was arrested by Venezuelan intelligence police on April 24 while working on a documentary. Officials accused him of being an American spy and funneling money to student groups who oppose Hugo Chavez's hand-picked successor, Nicolas Maduro. President Barack Obama labelled that idea "ridiculous."

Today, Venezuelan officials gave up the ghost and admitted that there wasn't enough evidence to continue holding the filmmaker.

It's unclear where Venezuela is sending Tracy, who apparently came up with the idea of a documentary about Venezuela while at a party here in South Florida.

Some media outlets say he will arrive soon in Miami. However Tracy's friend and co-worker Aengus James tells Riptide he's on his way to Los Angeles, where Tracy lived before heading to South America.

Tracy's ordeal may be over, but censorship issues remain in Venezuela. The country's largest private media group, Cadena Capriles, was sold on Monday to unidentified investors.

The sale is a blow to Maduro's political opponents. Under Hugo Chavez, the government drastically increased its control over Venezuelan media. Last month, Globovisión, one of the few remaining television channels to openly criticize the government was sold to a group of Maduro supporters.

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