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Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has denied claims that the U.S. government was involved with the failed coup attempt against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and has further pledged to use “every tool” available to bring home two American men who were part of the mercenary team that tried to perform the coup.
“There was no U.S. Government direct involvement in this operation. If we had been involved, it would have gone differently,” he bluntly said at a press briefing Wednesday, the implication being that Maduro would be long gone had the U.S. been behind it.
“We want to get every American back. If the Maduro regime decides to hold them, we’ll use every tool that we have available to try and get them back. It’s our responsibility to do so,” he added, referring to Americans Luke Denman, 34, and Airan Berry, 41.
Listen (disable your adblocker if the video doesn’t appear):
The remarks were made after Venezuela’s state-run TV posted stunning video footage showing Denman claiming to investigators — presumably under coercion — that U.S. President Donald Trump was responsible for the mercenary team’s plot.
He specifically claimed he and his team members — including Berry and six Venezuelan mercenaries — were given the orders by former Green Beret Jordan Goudreau, who in turn had received his orders directly from the president.
When asked by investigators to identify “who commands Goudreau,” Denman explicitly replied, “President Donald Trump.”
In his confession, U.S. Texan mercenary Luke Denman said that Jordan Goudreau — the founder of the private security firm Silvercorp, which led the failed invasion of #Venezuela — was under the direct command of President Donald Trump.
— Michael Fox (@mfox_us) May 6, 2020
Denman also implicated Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó, who’s been recognized as the nation’s rightful president by more than 50 countries.
“Mr. Denman said he and Mr. Berry were contracted by Jordan Goudreau, an American military veteran who leads a Florida-based security company called Silvercorp USA, to train about 50 Venezuelans in Colombia in January for the operation,” ABC Online reported.
“Mr. Goudreau supplied the group with equipment, Mr. Denman said. He also said Silvercorp had signed a contract with Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó to seek Mr. Maduro’s removal.”
View the full footage below:
Guaidó has also denied any involvement in the plot.
“Mr. Guaidó’s team said they had ‘no relationship with any company in the security and defense branch,’ including Silvercorp,” ABC Online confirmed.
The dual denials by Pompeo and Guaidó strongly suggest Denman was coerced into making false accusations. So does Maduro’s own rhetoric.
The Venezuelan president, who has never been on friendly terms with America, was quick to exploit the failed coup to incite more anger against the U.S.
“Donald Trump is the direct chief of this invasion,” he reportedly said in a televised virtual press conference after the release of the Denman video.
This is a tactic he’s been employing for years, including even when former President Barack Hussein Obama was in office. After Obama designated members of Venezuela’s socialist political elite as threats and placed sanctions on them in 2015, Maduro had “a field day” by using the move to play “on Venezuelans’ deep hatred for US intervention,” as reported at the time by Business Insider.
Goudreau meanwhile has confirmed at least some parts of Denman’s story, though oddly enough, some of the confirmation came before the arrest Monday. On Sunday he reportedly published a video from an undisclosed location claiming he was behind an anti-Maduro plot he’d dubbed “Operation Gideon.”
“A daring amphibious raid was launched from the border of Colombia deep into the heart of Caracas,” he said. “Our units have been activated in the south, west and east of Venezuela.”
Standing beside him in the video was retired Venezuelan Capt. Javier Nieto.
Another confirmation of sorts came afterward.
“In an interview later with Miami-based journalist Patricia Poleo, he presented a contradictory account of his activities and the support he claims to have once had — and then lost — from Juan Guaidó, the opposition leader recognized as Venezuela’s interim president by the U.S. and some 60 countries,” the Associated Press reported.
“He provided to Poleo what he said was an 8-page contract signed by Guaidó and two political advisers in Miami in October for $213 million. The alleged ‘general services’ contract doesn’t specify what work his company, Silvercorp USA, was to undertake.”
Note that he made no remarks pertaining to Denman’s claims about Trump’s involvement.
However, The Washington Post claims to have seen an Oct. 10th text message sent from Goudreau to a top member of Guaidó’s team, J.J. Rendón, in which Goudreau claimed D.C. politicians were aware of his plans.
“Washington is fully aware of your direct participation in the project and I don’t want them to lose faith,” the message to Rendón reportedly read.
But it’s not clear what was meant by “Washington.”
Plus, as noted by a growing chorus of voices, the evidence still suggests Denman’s statements about the president were made under coercion:
Luke Denman on Venezuelan TV announced that he was acting on behalf of President Trump. We all know this was coerced by Maduro’s thugs. Our President wouldn’t send 2 people, he would send an army. Fodder for tonights MSM.
— Brigitte Karkabi (@BKarkabi) May 6, 2020
There is a video put out by Venezuelan state TV of Luke Denman being questioned. Clearly coerced into his statements. When he is asked who commands his activity and he answers “President Donald Trump.” He looks up and to his left; he is remembering what he was told to say.
— drewski429 (@drewski429) May 6, 2020
dumb media … who are siding w/ president of Venezuela who is trying to undermine USA, if that was ‘The Plan’ USA wouldn’t put Maduro on plane back to USA. USA hostage Luke Denman paraded on Venezuelan TV forced to read script of Pres of Venezuela thttps://mol.im/a/8293817
— Susan Farley (@USS_NYC) May 6, 2020
You mean they forced by being paraded in front of the camera to spin this propaganda for the world to see. Maduro, your days are numbered. At least Hitler had balls and went out his way, you’re a coward
— waitwhat? (@stef_saywhat) May 7, 2020
Forced confession. If the US really wanted to take out #Maduro , it would send few more than a couple of knuckleheads!
— SGJ (@sgjdoc) May 7, 2020
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