Daily US Times: Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro claimed two American “mercenaries” have been apprehended after a failed coup attempt launched over the weekend.
While addressing the nation on late Monday, Maduro brandished what he claimed were the US passports and drivers licenses of the two men, along with what he said were their ID cards for Silvercorp, a Florida-based security services company.
Mr Maduro claimed the attempt was failed.
He also showed a photo of two men what he said the American men after they captured and accused the pair of playing “Rambo” in a failed attack intended to remove him from power.
Maduro’s official Twitter account posted a footage showing several unidentifiable men in a boat with their hands in the air and a helicopter overhead. The men in the boat were not identifiable in one video, but a separate photo more clearly depicted two men who Maduro claimed were American.
Jordan Goudreau, the CEO of Silvercorp, told the Washington Post that two Americans acting within a larger force were captured Monday, along with six Venezuelans, after launching an operation to infiltrate Venezuela.
He also said other members of what he called “Operation Gideon” were captured or killed on Sunday.
Goudreau identified the Americans as Luke Denman and Airan Berry, whose names match those on the Silvercorp IDs displayed by Maduro. Goudreau, who is a former US Army Green Beret, said the two men were fellow former Special Forces members like himself.
US State Department has not commented yet.
Opposition leader Juan Guaido, who is recognized as Venezuela’s interim president by the US and more than 50 countries across the world- denied any connection to Silvercorp on Monday, and called for the human rights of those captured to be respected, Reuters reported.
‘Attack against our fatherland’
Maduro’s government announced on Sunday that mercenaries had attempted to enter the South American country on speed boats from neighboring Colombia. The government said eight people had been killed and two detained.
Monday’s arrests come after that.
Later on Sunday, Goudreau released a video identifying himself as an organizer of the invasion, alongside dissident Venezuelan military officer Javier Nieto.
Goudreau said in the video that fighters on the ground continued to carry out operations in different parts of the country.
A U.S. official, on condition of not being named, said the U.S. government had no involvement with the incident. Another source familiar with U.S. intelligence analysis and reporting also said that U.S. agencies have nothing to do with any military incursions in Venezuela.