8 May 2020   Leave a comment

For the last few days, I have been following a bizarre story about an abortive attempt to overthrow the government of Venezuela, replacing the current leader, Nicolás Maduro, with a US-backed candidate, Juan Guaidó. I have been reluctant to comment on it because the information was so sketchy that I could not be sure that any of the information was accurate. If true, it is an important story, but we should be cautious in interpreting what it actually means until more is reliably known. There is a good chance that we will never know what happened, but it will be interesting to see what the press is able to ferret out.

The story as we now understand it is outlined by The Washington Post which has taken the lead in reporting on it:

“Jordan Goudreau, a 43-year-old Special Forces veteran who ran a strategic-security firm on the Florida Space Coast, laid out a plan that could double as a screenplay for an episode of ‘Jack Ryan.’ Goudreau claimed to have 800 men ready to penetrate Venezuela and ‘extract’ Maduro and his henchmen, according to J.J. Rendón, the Venezuelan political strategist tapped by Guaidó to help lead the secretive committee.

“Guaidó ‘was saying all options were on the table, and under the table,’ Rendón told The Washington Post. ‘We were fulfilling that purpose.’

“By October, the plan had advanced to the point of a signed agreement, contingent on funding and other conditions. Rendón calls it a trial balloon, a test of what Goudreau could do that was never officially greenlighted. But the language of the agreement left no ambiguity on the objective: ‘An operation to capture/detain/remove Nicolás Maduro . . . remove the current Regime and install the recognized Venezuelan President Juan Guaidó.'”

The plan was apparently implemented last week, but it appears as if it was a colossal failure:

“Venezuelan officials said they had thwarted a predawn ‘invasion’ aimed at killing Maduro. Then Goudreau appeared in a video with a former Venezuelan military officer in battle fatigues. The men proclaimed the start of an operation to ‘liberate’ Venezuela, and Goudreau said participants had entered the country. But by then the mission — apparently infiltrated by Maduro’s agents — had already sustained a devastating blow, with eight men killed and two captured. On Monday, 11 others were detained, two of them Goudreau’s fellow former Green Berets.”

The Trump Administration has denied any involvement in the operation. But we should be reluctant to take the denial at face value. First, the Trump Administration has made it very clear over the last three years that it opposed the Maduro regime. US Secretary of State Pompeo answered questions about the affair on Wednesday:

QUESTION:  Good thing I have my contacts in today.  (Laughter.)  Would you be able to tell us, or does the U.S. know who may have initiated or bankrolled this operation in Venezuela from over the weekend?  And has the State Department started engaging the Maduro regime about the two Americans who are reportedly in custody there?

SECRETARY POMPEO:  So your first question, there – as I think the Secretary of Defense said, or maybe it was the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the President too, there was no U.S. Government direct involvement in this operation.  If we had been involved, it would have gone differently.  As for who bankrolled it, we’re not prepared to share any more information about what we know took place.  We’ll unpack that at an appropriate time.  We’ll share that information that makes good sense

The denial is cadged by the words “direct involvement”. It would have been very easy for Mr. Pompeo to deny flatly any involvement. NBC News provides some information about Goudreau:

“Much of how the plot came together remains murky, but a portrait has emerged of Goudreau, a decorated U.S. commando who has boasted about having protected President Donald Trump and has attended at least one Trump rally wearing an earpiece and scanning the crowd as if he were a security guard.”

Second, there is a very long history of US interference in the domestic politics of Central and South American states. As soon as Mexico declared independence from Spain in 1825, “President John Quincy Adams appointed Joel Roberts Poinsett as the first American minister to the newly independent republic of Mexico”. Poinsett (who introduced the plant to Americans known as the Poinsettia) organized Masonic Temples in Mexico to foster pro-US sentiment. He was so obnoxious that the Mexican government demanded that he be removed in 1829. Further US interference were obvious in Guatemala in 1954, in the Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba in 1961, and in Chile in 1973, to name just a few.

Goudreau provided a video on Twitter he which he talks about the operation which can be accessed here. I will try to follow this story as more details emerge. But, on the basis of what we know so far, it is clear that there was some truly crazy thinking going on.

A Photo From the Venezuelan Government Showing Individuals Who Were Involved in the Operation

US mercenary admits plot to abduct Nicolas Maduro on Venezuelan state TV

Posted May 8, 2020 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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