Venezuela to allow access to detained American, says State Department

Last Thursday, during a campaign event ahead of Venezuela's Oct. 7 election, Chavez said the government arrested an American who was carrying geographical coordinates and a notebook. Chavez also said that "he has the look of a mercenary. We are interrogating him,” Reuters reported.

On Tuesday, Venezuela confirmed that it was detaining an American but said it was not responding to requests to visit the prisoner, Nuland said.

“They did not follow usual channels and notify our embassy in [the] capital, nor have they responded to our requests for consular access to him,” Nuland said. “So we are continuing to ask them first to communicate directly with our embassy in Caracas, which is the standard diplomatic practice, and second, to grant us consular access.”

Nuland said Wednesday that the confusion had been worked out and Venezuela is working with diplomats in Caracas.

Chavez said the man entered the country through Colombia about five days before the arrest. Chavez also alleged that the man tried to destroy a notebook when he was detained and that his passport had stamps from Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya.  

Nuland said the State Department was not aware of the charges against the man.

“We don’t have a Privacy Act waiver because we haven’t had access to him, so there’s not much I can add,” she said.