Daily US Times: Venezuela’s state TV has shown a video of a detained US citizen named Luke Denman, apparently confessing to plotting to overthrow President Nicolás Maduro and bring him to the US.
Mr Denman is one of 13 people arrested over the weekend, what Maduro claimed that they are “mercenaries” whose armed incursion was foiled.
Mr Maduro has often accused US President Donald Trump of trying to invade Venezuela and overthrow him, but earlier this week, Mr Trump denied any US involvement.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said his government will use “every tool” to secure the return of the Americans.
What did Venezuelan TV broadcast?
State TV broadcast a video of 34-year-old Mr Denman on Wednesday, where he appeared to explain that he was hired to train Venezuelans in Colombia before returning to Caracas and taking control of an airport to allow Mr Maduro to be taken out of the country.
The former special operations forces member is seen as saying: “I was helping Venezuelans take back control of their country.”
Denman said to carry out the operation, he and Airan Berry, 41, were contracted by Jordan Goudreau, an American military veteran who leads a Florida-based Silvercorp USA firm.
Venezuela said it would seek extradition of Mr Goudreau, who has meanwhile admitted that he was involved in the operation.
Silvercorp signed a contract with opposition leader Juan Guaidó, according to Mr Maduro. Juan Guaidó is seen by the US and many European countries as Venezuela’s legitimate leader.
After the video of Mr Denman was broadcast, the Venezuelan president said during a press conference that Donald Trump is the direct chief of this invasion.
Maduro said the Americans would have a fair trial, but did not reveal any whereabouts of the detained men. It is not sure if they have access to a lawyer.
It is unclear if they have access to a lawyer.
Who are the detained US citizens?
Not much is yet known about Mr Berry and Mr Denman. Venezuelan military high command have said the pair are members of the US security forces, but US media suggested they are former members. This has not been confirmed yet.
Caracas says that 11 other people were arrested, and eight armed men killed during the alleged coup attempt.
What is the background to this?
Mr Goudreau, who leads Silvercop, has also repeatedly made claims about past associations with Mr Guaidó. But on Monday, Mr Guaidó denied having anything to do with the ex-Green Beret. In a statement, he said he had “no relationship nor responsibility for any actions” taken by the US war veteran.
He also accused President Maduro’s administration of trying to distract people from recent outbreaks of violence – including a gang battle in Caracas on Saturday night and a deadly prison riot on Friday.