As we’ve recently observed, Washington’s push to oust Maduro is by no means over, even if seemingly less intensified as well and central to media coverage. Currently for example, there’s some level of build-up of US naval ships in the Caribbean ordered by the administration off Venezuela’s coast for what the White House had described early last month as “counter-narcotics operations”.
And now the Associated Press has unearthed the stunning details of a prior failed coup attempt that seem straight out of a Hollywood script, given it involved a plot centered on about 300 “heavily armed volunteers” who unsuccessfully tried to topple Nicolas Maduro in a “private coup” allegedly funded by US billionaires.
The American overseer of the whole operation was a former Green Beret who ran secret training camps in neighboring Colombia, with the aim to infiltrate the group into Venezuela in order to fuel momentum for a broader ‘armed popular uprising’ à la covert CIA-style Syria regime change ops.
The details are as follows according to the AP:
The plan was simple, but perilous. Some 300 heavily armed volunteers would sneak into Venezuela from the northern tip of South America. Along the way, they would raid military bases in the socialist country and ignite a popular rebellion that would end in President Nicolás Maduro’s arrest.
What could go wrong? As it turns out, pretty much everything.
The ringleader of the plot is now jailed in the U.S. on narcotics charges. Authorities in the U.S. and Colombia are asking questions about the role of his muscular American adviser, a former Green Beret. And dozens of desperate combatants who flocked to secret training camps in Colombia said they have been left to fend for themselves amid the coronavirus pandemic.
And like other more recent disastrous failed plots to oust the socialist strongman in Caracas, such as last year’s short-lived rebellion a small group of Juan Guaido loyal officers, AP reports the “The failed attempt to start an uprising collapsed under the collective weight of skimpy planning, feuding among opposition politicians and a poorly trained force that stood little chance of beating the Venezuelan military.”
It’s unclear the extent to which it had the official backing or coordination with US intelligence, or the degree to which it was an entirely private, ‘rogue’ undertaking, though Venezuelan state media has slammed the newly emerged plot as another failed CIA coup attempt.
Though at times while pitching and discussing his plan, ex-Green Beret Goudrea — who in 2018 established his private security firm Silvercorp USA — had contact with individuals linked to President Trump (such as a veteran personal bodyguard of Trump’s) as well as a who’s who of shady defected Venezuelan military officers, the AP report claims that any Washington officials or people of influence who caught a whiff of his bizarre plan rejected it and distanced themselves from it.
lt all began, according to the AP, after April 2019 with what’s colorfully described as a “Star Wars summit of anti-Maduro goofballs”. The report details:
Planning for the incursion began after an April 30, 2019, barracks revolt by a cadre of soldiers who swore loyalty to Maduro’s would-be replacement, Juan Guaidó, the opposition leader recognized by the U.S. and some 60 other nations as Venezuela’s rightful leader. Contrary to U.S. expectations at the time, key Maduro aides never joined with the opposition and the government quickly quashed the uprising.
A few weeks later, some soldiers and politicians involved in the failed rebellion retreated to the JW Marriott in Bogota, Colombia. The hotel was a center of intrigue among Venezuelan exiles. For this occasion, conference rooms were reserved for what one participant described as the “Star Wars summit of anti-Maduro goofballs” — military deserters accused of drug trafficking, shady financiers and former Maduro officials seeking redemption.
Among those angling in the open lobby was Jordan Goudreau, an American citizen and three-time Bronze Star recipient for bravery in Iraq and Afghanistan, where he served as a medic in U.S. Army special forces, according to five people who met with the former soldier.
Those he interacted with in the U.S. and Colombia described him in interviews alternately as a freedom-loving patriot, a mercenary and a gifted warrior scarred by battle and in way over his head.
The 43-year old Goudreau soon landed a spot helping to organize security for the February 2019 controversial ‘Live Aid freedom-type’ opposition supporting concert put on by British billionaire Richard Branson, held on the Venezuelan-Colombian border.
Goudreau had later written of the event: “Controlling chaos on the Venezuela border where a dictator looks on with apprehension,” according to an Instagram post showing him working the concert, which attempted to gem up popular support for ousting Maduro.
The invasion plans involving 300 trained and armed rebel soldiers hinged on Goudreau working closely with a ringleader of the Venezuelan military deserters, Cliver Alcalá, previously a retired major general in Venezuela’s army, as AP continues: