President Nicolas Maduro claims the US government was behind a boat of American soldiers caught off the shore near Caracas. Tanzia Haq reports.
President Maduro announced on Monday that Venezuelan armed forces intercepted a boat of ten former US Special Forces soldiers on Sunday, killing eight of the men and arresting two. The soldiers were apparently a part of a coup assassination attempt against him, claims Maduro. Venezuelan armed forces describe the men to be ‘mercenary terrorists’.
Speaking from his residence, Maduro said: “Mike Pompeo was betting on this attack and believed that this attack would end the revolution, end the constitution, overthrow the government and kill me. God save us and protect us.” (translated).
During the announcement, Maduro produced the passports proving that the soldiers were American and identified them as Airan Berry and Luke Denman. Venezuela’s government said on Wednesday that they will be made to face trial in Venezuelan court.
Maduro said: “They are convicts, confessed, caught red-handed and are being judged by the republic’s attorney general, by Venezuela’s civil courts, and the process will be full of guarantees and fair,”
A former Green Beret, Jordan Goudreau, admitted that the men were a part of his mission to detain Maduro. While Maduro is accusing the US government to be involved in the coup, US president Donald Trump denied any association with Goudreau’s team.
On Sunday, Goudreau posted a video on Twitter calling the attack “Operation Gideon.” Goudreau runs a private security firm in Flordia and apparently became involved in this mission to oust Maduro when he provided security at a concert thrown in honor of Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó by billionaire Richard Branson. Goudreau also apparently accompanied a bodyguard of President Trump’s to a meeting with Guaidó in Miami in May 2019. Goudreau has informed the Associated Press that his last contact with the mercenaries was when they were still at sea. The soldiers’ boat was reportedly filled with weapons and communications gear.
Miguel Tinker Salas, author of ‘Venezuela: What Everyone Needs To Know’, told Democracy Now in an interview that this attempt was possibly orchestrated by opposition members and the US to instil a new regime while the world is occupied with the coronavirus pandemic. A $200 million contract was presented by Goudreau to an opposition broadcaster in Florida, which clearly stated an agreement between Goudreau and opposition leader Guaidó, signed in October 2019. The broadcaster invited Guaidó and a representative of Maduro’s to come forward and deny the document but no one has done so. Salas is of the opinion that this gives all parties involved the chance to invoke plausible deniability should further evidence surface. Salas further stated that the only way to move forward, given Venezuela’s current political climate, is to hold dialogues with Maduro, not make invasion attempts.