By Leni Villagomez Reeves
On May 3 and 4, two groups of armed men left Colombia on boats to attempt to land in Venezuela, seize Maiquetia International Airport, kidnap President Nicolás Maduro for transport to the United States and install Juan Guaidó as head of the government. They were captured or killed by Venezuelan armed forces.
Some of them were U.S. Special Forces veterans, and it turned out that this attack was organized by Jordan Goudreau, a former U.S. Green Beret who contracted with Guaidó’s highest-level staff members for this operation, which they called Operation Gideon. Goudreau didn’t show up for the actual fighting. He let his buddies go without him and stayed home to attempt to collect what Guiadó and his advisors signed on for: a $213 million fee, including a $10 million bonus promised for successful completion.
A portion of the endeavor’s 43-page contract, partially redacted by Guaidó’s crew, was given to the Washington Post. An excerpt:
Page 39—ATTACHMENT N CHAIN OF COMMAND
The chain of command for this operation is as follows:
- Commander in Chief—President Juan Guaidó
- Overall Project Supervisor—Sergio Vergara
- Chief Strategist—Juan Jose Rendón
- On Site Commander—To be determined
Signatures on that 43-page contract included Sergio Vergara, Comisionado, High Presidential Commissioner for Crisis Management; Juan Jose Rendón, Comisionado, High Presidential Commissioner General Strategy and Crisis Management; and Jordan Goudreau, CEO of Silvercorp USA.
A recording of the signing of the contract establishes that Guaidó participated in the contract although he was not physically present to sign it. His statement that he denies “any link, commitment or responsibility with the company Silvercorp or its actions” has no credibility.
Who are the signatories?
The signatories are members of Guiadó’s U.S. government-recognized pretend government of Venezuela at the highest level, members of his Crisis Strategy Commission. They had to resign following the debacle, of course.
Rendón said the commission had never been interested in “participating in violent activities,” whereas Vergara said he had not been aware of the so-called Operation Gideon. (Funny about the witnessed signatures on the contract and the recording validating these signatures.)
Rendón was appointed in 2019 by Venezuelan “acting president” Guaidó to lead the Strategy Committee to search for new options to overthrow Maduro. He is from Caracas, Venezuela, and has been a political consultant and activist for right-wing candidates in Venezuela, Colombia, Honduras and México. He has been living in Miami since 2016. Rendón was given the flag of the United States, after it was raised in his honor by the U.S. Congress, in recognition of his 25 years of work as a political consultant.
Vergara is a Venezuelan lawyer, a diputado to the Asamblea Nacional of Venezuela for the 5th Circuit of Táchira. He is an important figure of the Mesa de la Unidad Democrática party, which is led by Guaidó. He is currently based in Colombia. He was appointed by Guaidó to co-lead the Strategy and Crisis Management team—in other words, to overthrow the government and install his boy.
Follow the Money
There are some big dollars in this contract. Some excerpts:
Page 1. Attachment A:
Administration will pay a non-refundable retainer to the Service Provider in the amount of $1,500,000.00 (USD).
Page 2. Section 3b:
Administration agrees to pay Service Provider each month after project completion (the exit/removal of current Venezuelan Regime and the entrance/installation of recognized Venezuelan government a minimum of $10,860,000 USD, and average of $14,820,000 USD and a maximum of $16,456,000 USD).
Page 2. Section 4a:
Service Provider Advisors will advise and assist the Partner group in planning and executing an operation to capture/detain/remove Nicolas Maduro (hereinafter “Primary Objective”), remove the current Regime and install the recognized Venezuelan President Juan Guaidó.
If “Administration” doesn’t have cash they can pay it off in “barrels of oil.”
Section 7n. The Administration shall pay a success bonus to the Service Provider in the amount of $10,000,000 USD. This bonus is contingent on a successful Project Completion Operation (the exit/removal of the current Venezuelan regime and entrance/installation of recognized Venezuelan government).
“Administration” means Guaidó and his gang. They do have the money, stolen from the people of Venezuela, to cover this. In April 2020, the U.S. government seized $342 million in Venezuelan assets that its central bank had held in an account at Citibank.
The United States turned the assets of Venezuela over to Guaidó. Washington has helped Guaidó seize control of other Venezuelan assets held in the United States, including Citgo, the U.S.-based subsidiary of state oil company PDVSA.
In real life, Rendón admits to giving Goudreau $50,000.
Meanwhile, Back at the Trump Regime
“There was no U.S. government direct involvement in this operation,” says Mike Pompeo, the U.S. Secretary of State. Asked who might have bankrolled the operation, Pompeo said:, “We’re not prepared to share any more information about what we know took place.”
Mercenary soldiers are only pitiful once they’ve been disarmed.
Venezuelan courts will try 31 suspects, including two former U.S. soldiers detained after government security forces defeated an amphibious coup attempt on May 3, according to Venezuelan Attorney General Tarek William Saab. (He also announced arrest warrants for U.S. Special Forces veteran Goudreau, head of the U.S. private security firm Silvercorp, which organized the May 3–4 raids at Macuto and Chuao, and U.S.-based Venezuelan political operatives Rendón and Vergara on charges of terrorism, conspiracy and arms trafficking. All are safe at home in the United States.)
U.S. Special Forces veterans Luke Denman and Airan Berry, who were arrested with six Venezuelan nationals in the fishing village of Chuao in Aragua state, are charged with terrorism, illegal arms trafficking and conspiracy.
U.S. Sponsored Another Failed Coup One Year Ago
On April 30, 2019, a group of several dozen military personnel and assorted civilians joined Guaidó in his call for an uprising against Maduro. It was clear that this was a U.S.-backed right-wing attempt to gain control of Venezuela and its oil reserves. Then U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton was openly directing the attempts to promote uprisings and a military coup.
Indeed, the far-right in Venezuela has been receiving financial and logistical support from the United States for the past 20 years. The vast majority of the Venezuelan military did not cooperate, however, and remained loyal to their country and its president. The coup attempt failed.
In May 2018, Maduro was reelected as president of Venezuela, with 67.8% of the votes; many opposition candidates and their supporters chose to boycott the election, and turnout was just above 46% (for comparison, turnout in the U.S. 2016 Presidential election, in which the candidate with the most votes was declared the loser, was just above 58%).
Many of the opposition candidates centered their campaigns on the economic difficulties Venezuela increasingly has faced since the United States, in December 2014, imposed sanctions severely restricting Venezuela’s ability to engage in commerce with U.S.-influenced and -controlled economies around the world. Venezuela’s economy is based on oil exports, so international commerce is essential.
Leni Villagomez Reeves is a local physician and activist. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.