CARACAS - An American arrested in Venezuela while entering illegally from Colombia is a former US Marine and is refusing to explain himself under interrogation, Colombian President Hugo Chavez said on Friday.
The United States is expressing skepticism over the latest incident between the two ideologically opposed nations, but says its diplomats should be given access to the man if Chavez's statements are true.
The socialist Chavez is running for re-election at an Oct. 7 vote and has been frequently invoking the possibility of violent actions by Venezuela's opposition with US blessing.
"I'm struck by the fact that just a few weeks before the election, this has happened," he said, giving the latest details about the unnamed man in Venezuelan custody.
Venezuela says the American, of Hispanic origin, was arrested earlier this month crossing into Venezuela from Colombia with a notebook full of geographic coordinates that he tried to destroy.