LAWYERS FOR A FORMER Venezuelan military officer, who tried to topple President Nicolás Maduro in 2020 with the help of American former soldiers, have claimed that senior officials in the United States Central Intelligence Agency were aware of his activities “at the highest levels”. The court case centers on Major General Clíver Alcalá Cordones, a retired member of Venezuela’s Bolivarian Army, who is being tried in a Manhattan court. Alcalá is accused of being a member of a drug smuggling ring that worked closely with Colombian terrorist organizations to smuggle over 250 metric tons of cocaine to the US.
Prior to his arrest for drug trafficking, Alcalá had been living in Colombia since at least 2019, from where he allegedly masterminded the so-called “enfrentamiento en El Junquito” (“El Junquito raid”), or “Operación GEDEÓN”. GEDEÓN refers to a failed coup plot against Maduro, which was carried out on May 3 and 4 by a group of up to 60 armed men. It is alleged that the coup was launched from Colombia with the support of Silvercorp USA, a private security group led by Jordan Goudreau, a Canadian-born former sergeant in the US Green Berets. At least six coup plotters, who participated in the first phase of the operation, are believed to have been killed by the Venezuela military. Many more were arrested before being able to reach a network of safe houses that had allegedly been set up their supporters inside Venezuela. At least two of the arrestees, Airan Berry and Luke Denman, are American citizens and former soldiers.
On January 28, the Associated Press reported that lawyers for Alcalá have filed a letter that claims his “efforts to overthrow the Maduro regime have been well known to the United States government”. This is because these activities were “reported to the highest levels of the Central Intelligence Agency, National Security Council, and the Department of the Treasury”, according to Alcalá’s lawyers. The letter provides no details about which officials in the US government allegedly knew about Alcalá’s activities. In an accompanying document, however, the lawyers for the accused are seeking “documents and information” containing relevant communications between a number of US officials, including former Attorney General William Barr, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, senior White House officials, as well as the CIA station in Colombia.