CARACAS – A former US special forces soldier claimed responsibility for a failed attempt to invade Venezuela in a plot to overthrow President Nicolas Maduro. Jordan Goudreau, a former Army Green Beret, said he directed the secret military operation with the backing of US puppet Juan Guaido in the anti-Maduro coup called “Operation Gideon”, Sky News reported.
Venezuela’s government announced it had killed at least eight of the attackers and arrested two others from the attack on Sunday involving a group of armed men. The incident took place in La Guaira, about 20 miles from Caracas, and is understood to have launched from neighboring Colombia.
“A group of terrorist mercenaries, organized and trained in Colombia, tried to disembark with war material off the coast of La Guaira,” a statement released by the Bolivarian National Armed Forces (FANB) read.
Socialist party chief Diosdado Cabello said on state television that the attack was carried out by Colombia with US backing in a plot to overthrow Maduro. Goudreau and Javier Nieto, a retired Venezuelan captain, posted a video from an undisclosed location saying they had launched the attack.
An investigation by the Associated Press found that the pair had been working to train dozens of deserting Venezuelan soldiers at secret camps inside Colombia. The goal was to mount a cross-border raid that would end in Maduro’s arrest. Both men, who live in Florida, declined to speak to journalists on Sunday.
Wearing a New York Yankees baseball cap, Goudreau stated in the video, “A daring amphibious raid was launched from the border of Colombia deep into the heart of Caracas.”
He stands next to Nieto in the clip, who is dressed in an armored vest with a rolled-up Venezuelan flag pinned to his shoulder. Goudreau claimed that cells of his men were still on the ground and activating inside Venezuela, and added he hoped to join the rebels soon. He also invited Venezuelans and Venezuelan troops to join the would-be insurgency.
In an interview with Miami-based journalist Patricia Poleo, Goudreau provided a contradictory account of his activities. He also spoke about the support he allegedly had – and then lost – from Guaido. Goudreau also revealed what he claimed was an eight-page contract signed by Guaido and two political advisers for alleged “general services”.
Venezuela’s Interior Minister Nestor Reverol denounced the US-backed mercenary terrorists who were threatening to destabilize the country’s institutions and create chaos. He added that the defensive operation was ongoing and there could be further arrests in the coming days.