On Sunday May 3rd, Venezuela reported it had detained 2 former US Green Berets with 13 Venezuelan expats and killed 8 others near Caracas. They had been attempting to capture President Nicolas Maduro and incite a populist revolution according to the Venezuelan military.
The men, who worked for a American Security Contractor called Silvercorp USA, have confessed attempting to overthrow the government of Venezuela. They said they were working for the Trump administration. They also have stated they were working for an organized opposition movement of Venezuelan citizens and former soldiers. Silvercorp USA is owned by Jordan Goudreau and was working with retired Venezuelan Capt. Javier Nieto.
According to the New York Post Goudreau has contradicted his own claim and stated he had a contract with opposition leader Juan Guaidó, the president recognized by the United States and other nations. The $213 million contract he shared with the reporter was for general services and did not specify an armed incursion as part of the deal.
An interview with former US Navy Seal Ephraim Mattos by the New York Times provides more insight into the situation. Mattos states when visiting a Silvercorps training area in 2019 there were 150 people preparing for the operation. He said it didn’t seem like a US funded operation and there was a shortage of food. The unit seems to have decreased in size to 60 combatants.
The article also states the Columbian government had seized a cache of weapons the group had hidden in their country in preparation for the raid. According to Al-Jazeera however, the Venezulans had seized three abandoned Columbian light armed patrol boats they claim were part of the endeavor. The Columbian government has not commented so far.
Former Venezuelan General Alcala who had stated in March he was organizing armed resistance to Maduro’s government was also implicated. He has since surrendered to the United States on drug charges. Basically Alcala outed the operation months before it began. Goudreau went with the op anyway.
Maduro has made past claims of US backed groups attempting to assassinate him in the past. None of them have had any credence until now. This doomed incursion has added credibility to a Socialist tyrant.
International politics is messy. It’s a incestuous mishmash of personalities, objectives and banter. Revolutions are worse. There is a monopoly on revolutions. They do not succeed without the backing of Nation States, money and political lobbying. That is why, during the cold war. all governments and anti government organizations adopted an either capitalist or communist ideology. In this way they were backed by the United States or the Soviet Union.
Goudreau and his cohorts were obviously out of their element. They lacked intel and firm backing by forces in country. Being a Green Beret in wartime operations of Afghanistan or Iraq is not the same as being one during peacetime. In peacetime operatives go to places they aren’t supposed to in a covert manner. That they had been outed and interviewed by the press prior should have been enough to dissuade them to pursue the issue.
The United States is not big on private operations designed to overthrow governments. Hmong General Vang Pao learned this the hard way. On 4 June of 2007 Pao and others from the US Hmong refugee society were arrested for plotting to overthrow the communist Pathet Laos government in violation of the US Neutrality Act. Pao had been taking donations from Hmong people living in the United States for years. He had been a valuable US asset and ally during the Vietnam Conflict. The Marxist Lao government is guilty of serious human rights violations and Pao hoped to supply and later reinforce armed resistance groups in the country.
Chhun Yasith, a Cambodian refugee, had come to the United States in the 1980s. He returned to his country to join anti government movements but decided that a pacifist approach would result in no real change. He came back to the United States and formed the Cambodian Freedom FIghters or CFF. In November of 2000 his group launched an attack in Phnom Penh that resulted in an interpol arrest warrant issued the by the Cambodian government. He was subsequently arrested by the United States, tried in Los Angeles and sentenced to life in prison. Better than being deported to Cambodia but still.
There’s also the tale of POWs in Vietnam. In 1979 US Marine Private Bobby Garwood was released by the Vietnamese government. He had been captured by the Viet Cong in 1965. He claimed there were other POWs still being held by the Vietnamese. The military labelled him a traitor to shut him up.
Then in 1984 Ohio congressman Douglas Applegate announced he had found CIA documents showing there were still Americans POWs in Vietnam. Because the documents included satellite images using technology deemed secret the DIA had his statements stricken from the Congressional Record.
in 1986 the Wall Street Journal said Hanoi had offered to send 57 live American POWs home for $4 million, the US refused the offer. Reagan’s security advisor Richard Allen put together a rescue mission instead. The mission was to be led by Bo Gritz and some other mercenary types, and would be supported by Delta Force. The operation was shut down by the Pentagon so Gritz decided to go it alone. He and some partners went to Laos. The plan was to sneak across the border into Vietnam to find evidence. Their covert op was outed by Radio Free America, who announced their arrival with great fanfare. Bo returned home empty handed but inspired a movie called Rambo.
In 1993 Senator John Kerry’s committee on POW/MIA affairs came to a conclusion that there was no direct evidence of living POWs in SE Asia but there was no way to debunk the claims either.
So, before taking on any anti Marxist adventures, make sure you have solid support of the powers that be. Look to the example of Erik Prince and his operations in China, the UAE and the Congo.