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Raid of alleged mercenaries in Venezuela was "infiltrated and financed" by Maduro

The United States and Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó now say that the regime of Nicolás Maduro regime was behind the armed raid on the Venezuelan coast on May 3. But they have yet to provide proof. (Leer en español)
13 May 2020 – 07:12 PM EDT
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The interim president of Venezuela, Juan Guaidó, now says that Nicolás Maduro was behind the armed raid on the Venezuelan coast on May 3, although he has not provided evidence yet to back up this version of events.

"We have gathered information and evidence that the dictatorship is behind Operation Gideon," Guaidó said in a statement Tuesday evening, referring to the failed attempt to capture Maduro by a group of 60 men, including two U.S. alleged "mercenaries," both former members of the U.S. Army Special Forces.

"Alleged invasion"

In a call with journalists on Wednesday, Michael Kozak, the acting undersecretary for Latin America at the State Department, also indicated that the United States does not believe a word of Maduro's account of the operation. Kozak didn't go into details either, and only referred to " this alleged invasion of the country, which they seem to have had something to do in creating themselves."

Kozak emphasized that the efforts of the President Trump government "are focused on the diplomatic-economic front and the rest is a distraction from that."

An alleged frontman

Guaido said he has information about the financing of Operation Gideon through "a frontman connected to one of the dictatorship's spokesmen."

He said he could not provide the names of those involved so as not to hinder the ongoing investigation.

"Who does this Operation (Gideon) suit?" he asked. As an "operation infiltrated and financed by the dictatorship," Guaidó said he asked the United Nations Organization (UN) Commission on Human Rights to investigate the operation for crimes against humanity.

Silvercorp USA

He also reiterated the actions of the alleged organizers of the invasion, Jordan Goudreau and his South Florida "risk management" company Silvercorp USA, "have nothing to do with the legitimate government."

Although he acknowledged that two members of a so-called 'Strategy Commission', part of his interim team, met with Silvercorp USA, “the approach with that company did not go beyond an exploratory phase, after which I ordered not to go forward with any type of contact, much less any operation."

The members of the commission, Sergio Vergara and JJ Rendón resigned on Monday.

Orchestrated

Guadó's team, and U.S. officials, suspect that the raid was an orchestrated event, probably managed by Cuban intelligence agents, who have a strong presence in Venezuela, similar to a failed Caracas plot in April 2019.

According to that theory, Goudreau was deceived into thinking that he would find support within the Venezuelan armed forces when his mini invasion force came ashore.

Otherwise, US officials question why Goudreau would have gone ahead with the operation just 48 hours after a lengthy Associated Press report that revealed much of his plans.

Infiltrated

Maduro proudly acknowledges that his agents had infiltrated the Goudreau operation long before it began, but deny having anything to do with fomenting the operation.

The fiasco has prompted calls for the resignation of Guaidó, just a year after the another hapless rebellion in Caracas.


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