On May 3rd, in the port of La Guaira near the capital of Caracas, Venezuelan security forces apprehended the culprits of an apparent coup attempt. In the attempt 8 were killed and 13 more were captured, with two being U.S. citizens and former green berets.
The mercenaries captured, former green berets Airan Berry and Luke Denmam, which were identified thanks to carrying their identification during their raid to topple a government. Silvercorp’s founder and owner, Jordan Goudreau, also a retired green beret, proudly tweeted (his twitter is now deleted) before the raid in how he had orchestrated a coup to overthrow President Maduro, even @ Donald Trump in the tweet. The raid failed before it even started and has now been dubbed the “Stupid Bay of Pigs.”
Going back to the beginning, just to try and clarify the absolute joke of a coup perpetuated by someone who was completely out of their league, we have to understand how this all came to be. One of the “masterminds” behind the raid, Jordan Goudreau, saw his moment to be the John Rambo for the oppressed Venezuelan people. His journey began when he founded his company, after retiring from service with three bronze stars, after the Parkland school shooting. Goudreau saw a lucrative avenue not yet taken by private military contractors, schools. He planned to place ex-special forces as teachers and charge parents, not the school district but parents, $8.99 a month (as Goudreau pointed out it’s just like a Netflix subscription). While it didn’t seem to work well, there are no accounts of anyone paying for this “service”, his company did find some luck in providing security to a Donald Trump rally in North Carolina in 2018. But Goudreau and Silvercorp’s big score was when they did security for a concert between the Columbia-Venezuela border in which he met soon-to-be partner in crime Cliver Alcala.
Former Venezuelan general now dissident Cliver Alcala had been planning to overthrow Maduro for a while. Alcala had 300 former Venezuelan soldier’s that were loyal to him and encamped in Columbia waiting for the fateful day. Alcala, wanted in the U.S. for drug-trafficking and arming guerillas for drugs, met with Goudreau to lay out the plan. Goudreau also mentioned countless times he had ties to the Trump Administration, although there is no evidence and they claim to have had no contact with Silvercorp or Goudreau involving the coup. But this operation was missing just one more thing, finances. To get the money the two men turned to J.J. Rendon.
Rendon, who was working with Guaido (the U.S. backed oppositional opponent to Maduro) were trying to figure out where to go after their own failed takeover of Venezuela went south. One plan was to hire private security companies, or as their known everywhere else as mercenaries for hire, but saw that at a minimum were asking for upwards of $1 billion (the business of war is lucrative). This is where the two parties met, with Goudreau offering his services for a measly $213 million and a retainer for $1.5 million. Goudreau offered to supply 800 men (Alcala only had 300) and arm them with American weapons, night vision goggles, uniforms, cameras, etc. They signed the deal in October. Signed not only by Rendon and Goudreau, but also by Guaido himself. After this total disaster Guaido has claimed no responsibility and adamantly refuses any involvement in the coup. While the contract was signed, none of it came to fruition. This was due to Goudreau acted “strange” as Rendon would recall. Goudreau was unable to provide any evidence that he could muster up any of the desired requests from the contract and finally ended with Rendon giving him $50,000, just to see if he needed more time. Nope, Goudreau, who had asked for over $200 million to carry out the coup, went ahead with the plan with only $50,000. Buying a luxury car was all the money Goudreau needed to fulfill his dream of toppling a regime.
While to most the deal had fallen flat, for the rebels awaiting in Columbia they were none the wiser. The rebels, who were told by Goudreau that they had the full backing of the U.S. government were left starving and had to drink from the nearby river for months. Believing Goudreau to be C.I.A. and having full trust in their leader Alcala, the rebels endured. Then came march, which was supposed to be when the raid would be conducted, but it wasn’t. Along with Goudreau providing no weapons or equipment, Alcala, along with Maduro and other top officials, were charged with narcoterrorism, and a weapons cache for the raid was seized by Columbian officials. Yet the efforts carried on. Even on May 1st, the Associated press released an article on the current failures of the coup, yet Goudreau still carried on and on the same day initiated what he called “Operation Gideon”.
Obviously, the raid failed. Promising an incursion of 800 men, or even Alcala’s 300, the coup was left with only 60. They boarded two fishing boats, the 60 starving, ill-prepared, and under equipped rebels only accompanied by two American mercenaries rather than what they thought would be the full might of the U.S. military. But their plans were thwarted almost immediately, as while Goudreau live tweeted the whole event, plus various other leaks, Maduro was awaiting them with helicopters, police boats, and some random angry fisherman. Two former green berets and a bunch of rebels were ousted by some people who were trying to fish. Along with the thirteen captured, an airsoft gun and airsoft masks were also a part of the coup’s arsenal.
While the raid happened about a week ago, the fate of those captured and those involved is still unknown. While Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said they will do what they can to get the two Americans back, the reality is that it is unlikely. What can only be attributed to terrorist activity, the two mercenaries plus the 11 rebels will probably be tried for terrorism and a failed coup attempt. Not only does this add to a long list of American imperialism and interventionism in Latin America it also bolsters Maduro and his supporters. Similar to another failed coup, although this was actually backed by the U.S. government, the infamous “Bay of Pigs” saw Castro gain much more support from the people. This failed coup gives Maduro clear advantage in instilling his regime further into the roots of Venezuela. Maduro claims the U.S. government orchestrated the whole thing with the plan of deposing him for the U.S. backed Guaido to be instilled as a puppet.
Goudreau has yet to turn himself in, while the F.B.I. are now investigating not only this case but of supposed arms trafficking as well, and the rest are awaiting what will happen with those captured. This failed coup would be funny if not for the needlessly lost lives and further embarrassment of U.S. foreign policy. Venezuela and its people only suffer more thanks to this as Maduro and his regime carry on with newfound strength.