Two former US soldiers have been sentenced to 20 years in prison by a court in Venezuela for their role in a failed plot aimed at overthrowing President Nicolas Maduro. Their contractor, Jordan Goudreau, remains at large, last known location, Miami, US.
The two mercenaries, Luke Denman and Airan Berry, admitted to taking part in the May 4 operation in legal proceedings. They were found guilty of conspiracy, trafficking in illegal arms, and terrorism.
Named ‘Operation Gideon’, the failed mission was launched from training camps in Colombia, leaving eight dead. 66 people were captured and jailed. The two US citizens were arrested in the fishing community of Chuao.
The incident triggered claims in the country that US-backed opposition politician Juan Guaido had authorised the attack.
Guaido and US officials have denied any role in the plot. LINK
Most Western corporate media has already buried the documentary trail leading directly from the mercenaries to Guaido and his co-plotters. However, the evidence is clear on this point, as examined in detail by several reports. US Army special operations veteran Jordan Goudreau claimed he organized the coup plot, which he called “Operation Gedeon,” together with a retired Venezuelan Major General (Cliver Alcala).
The two ex-US soldiers claimed during interrogation by Venezuelan authorities that their mission was to secure the Maiquetia international airport, kidnap Maduro, and transport him to the United States.
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro accused Washington and Bogota of involvement, stating in a televised address:
“[Colombian] authorities in Riohacha, Barranquilla and Alta Guajira were aware of the mercenaries’ presence and the training camps. Any independent investigation would reveal the Colombian government’s involvement in this armed incursion against Venezuela.”
Venezuelan authorities also drew attention to a contract in which the Venezuelan opposition hired Goudreau’s Florida-based private security firm, Silvercorp, to overthrow the Maduro government in exchange for a US $213 million fee. Opposition leader Juan Guaido, as well as advisors Juan Jose (J.J.) Rendon and Sergio Vergara, appear as signatories in a copy leaked by Goudreau.
The terms of the extraordinary agreement – according to which the “Service Provider Advisors will advise and assist Partner Group in planning and executing an operation to capture/ detain/remove Nicolas Maduro (heretoafter ‘primary objective’), remove the current regime, and install the recognized Venezuelan President Juan Guaido” – have been published online by the Washington Post.
The agreement includes details regarding the opposition’s payments to Silvercorp in addition to the firm’s future role in “counter-terrorism” and “counter-narcotics” activities under a Guaido administration. The paramilitary forces were also to deploy anti-personnel mines, strike infrastructure and other economic targets.
The Trump administration issued has denied any involvement in Operation Gedeon, as have Colombian officials.
Many however consider it likely that the US had prior knowledge of the operation. The Wall Street Journal published a report citing anonymous sources who claimed that the CIA and Colombian intelligence monitored paramilitary training camps headed by Alcala in Colombia. LINK