May 7, 2020 - World

Two Americans held in Venezuela after botched invasion

Dave Lawler, author of World

Maduro with loot seized from the attackers. Photo: Presidential Palace/Anadolu Agency via Getty

The invasion force planned to slip into Venezuela in teams, make contact with paramilitaries and potential turncoats, and eventually take Nicolás Maduro by force.

Driving the news: That plan collided with reality before they even reached the shore. Now, two U.S. special forces veterans are in Venezuelan custody.

How it happened: Sunday’s botched invasion was organized by Jordan Goudreau, a former Green Beret who runs a Florida-based security firm. He has claimed the mission was backed by Juan Guaidó, the Venezuelan opposition leader.

  • Guaidó denied that, but the Washington Post reports that members of the opposition did sign a deal with Goudreau last October “to capture/detain/remove Nicolás Maduro … and install the recognized Venezuelan President Juan Guaidó.”
  • The Post reports that the relationship broke down months ago, and Guaidó’s allies “considered the operation dead.”

The operation was as leaky as it was amateurish.

  • The AP reported on the plot days before it was put into action, and Maduro has claimed to have known everything about it — down to "what they ate and drank."

Fernando Cutz, a former South America director on the National Security Council, says this all sounds like something you’d hear in South Florida’s growing “anti-Maduro bubble.”

  • “It seems to me that this is what happens when the bubble goes wrong. When you start to believe too many of these stories you hear while you’re drinking an espresso at the bakery in Doral.”
  • “That Maduro is already on his way out, and 100% of Venezuelans are against him, and the moment one American savior shows up with a gun the people will rally in the streets and remove him by force.”

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