“Operation Gedeon” was an attempt in 2020 to oust President Nicolas Maduro and destabilize Venezuela. Steve Balestrieri noted "as the coup plot unraveled, most of those involved pointed at Goudreau as a kind of a loose cannon, a smooth-talker, long on promises but short of coming through. That isn’t a shocker: While a successful operation has 1,000 fathers, a failed one is an orphan. And Goudreau is an easy target to pin the failure to. He’s now being portrayed as a “patriotic, gung-ho American, in over his head.” He makes a convenient target, while the rest run for cover."
Gedeon, or Gideon, also named Jerubbaal and Jerubbesheth, was a military leader, judge and prophet whose calling and victory over the Midianites are recounted in chapters 6 to 8 of the Book of Judges. These versus relate the reduction of Gideon’s army from thirty-two thousand to ten thousand, then to only three hundred. Judges 7 verse 2 "The LORD said to Gideon, “You have too many men. I cannot deliver Midian into their hands, or Israel would boast against me, ‘My own strength has saved me.’" Three hundred men against the countless swarms of Midian! Yes, but the few choice, brave, active men and God were in the majority. God is not always on the side of big battalions. Although the Bible describes him as timid, Gideon is known as the greatest of all the 15 judges.
On 03 May 2020, Venezuela claimed a group traveling on speedboats and embarking from Colombia tried to land before dawn in the northern coastal state of La Guaira but were intercepted by the military and special police units. Diosdado Cabello, deputy leader of the ruling Socialist Party, claimed the operation was "orchestrated" by the US and its Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), with Colombian support.
Venezuela's Minister of Defense, Vladimir Padrino Lopez, condemned the attempted terrorist incursion, planned and organized from Colombia, which sought to generate chaos in the country and assassinate Venezuelan leaders. "The attack was timely detected thanks to the intelligence and counter-intelligence agencies, which guarantee the active surveillance of our geographic space," Padrino explained. The reaction of the Armed Forces was immediate. In the confrontation, several mercenaries were killed, and others were captured. Unfortunately, "Imperialism uses youth as cannon fodder," he said.
Two Americans were detained in Venezuela on 04 May 2020 on suspicion of plotting to topple President Nicolas Maduro's government, which has accused US-backed opposition leader Juan Guaido of bankrolling the scheme. The arrests came a day after the government said it foiled an "invasion" from the sea, killing eight assailants and capturing two others. Maduro appeared on state television to show the passports of Luke Denman, 34, and Airan Berry, 41, and told the Venezuelan military high command that the pair were members of the US security forces. Attorney General Tarek William Saab earlier told reporters that "hired mercenaries" had signed a $212 million contract with Guaido using funds "stolen" from state oil company PDVSA.
The Canadian-born Goudreau, an Iraq and Afghanistan veteran, was accused of training a mercenary force to invade Venezuela that disbanded after Colombian authorities seized a weapons shipment meant for the group. Saab also shared on social media a video of Goudreau, who now runs a private security firm called Silvercorp USA, in which the former soldier claimed that an operation against Maduro's regime is ongoing. Guaido's press team released a statement on denying the accusations and insisting it had no agreements with private security firms. The company’s website brags about having operations in more than 50 countries, with an advisory team made up of former diplomats, experienced military strategists, and heads of multinational corporations.
Goudreau’s story with Venezuela goes back to February 2019, when he worked security at a concert in support of Guaido organized by British billionaire Richard Branson on the Venezuelan-Colombian border. “Controlling chaos on the Venezuela border where a dictator looks on with apprehension,” he wrote in a photo of himself on the concert stage posted to his Instagram account as an AP investigation reported.
Soon after he met Lester Toledo, then Guaido’s coordinator for the delivery of so-called humanitarian aid. In Bogota, it was Toledo who introduced Goudreau to Cliver Alcala, the ringleader of the Venezuelan military deserters that are hiding in Colombia and who is now in U.S. custody on charges of drug trafficking. According to Goudreau, his plan had been coordinated with Guaido who signed a contract on Oct. 16, 2019, for US$212 million. Miami-based opposition Venezuelan journalist Patricia Poleo published the document, which she purported to be a copy of the original contract.
The U.S. mercenary was allegedly responsible for training a contingent of 300 Venezuelan army deserters in three makeshift camps alongside the Colombian-Venezuelan border who were to enter Venezuela in a heavily armed caravan and seize the capital within 96 hours. In a video released on social media, Goudreau confirmed that the amphibious landing attempt on Sunday had been launched from Colombia as part of “Operation Gedeon” and that “other units” were active in the “south, west, and east of Venezuela.”
Alongside retired National Guard Captain Javier Nieto Quintero - who was involved in the failed attempt to kill Maduro with a drone in 2018 - they claimed that the operation is aimed to “capture” high-ranking officials and “liberate” the Venezuelan people.
Operation Gedeon was doomed from the start:
- Guaido believed the mission to be suicidal.
- Maduro has solid military backing him, so this plan had little chance of being successful.
- Major General Cliver Alcalá Cordones, who was intended as the Venezuelan face for the plan, was jailed by the United States on narcoterrorism charges just as the operation began. Alcala, described as the ringleader of Venezuelan army deserters, handed himself over for extradition to the US on 27 March 2929 in Colombia. Prior to his extradition, Alcala had been detained by Colombian police after a major weapons cache was found near his home.
- There was never enough money or weapons and equipment for the 300 hungry, untrained men tasked to cross the border, who disbanded in March 2020, but the former Green Beret pushed ahead with an underfunded operation with just 60 fighters.
- The government had infiltrated the coup participants for some months before the force dispersed.
A shadowy group of US billionaires led by Roen Kraft, an eccentric descendant of the cheese-making family, promised support for the 'private coup' and also met with Schiller and Goudreau. Kraft allegedly lured prospective donors with the promise of preferential access to negotiate deals in the energy and mining sectors with an eventual Guaidó government.
Goudreau’s Florida-based private security firm, Silvercorp USA, was established in March 2018. In a video on the Silvercorp website, Goudreau can be seen wearing an earpiece and apparently providing security at a Trump rally in Charlotte, NC at Bojangles Coliseum from October 26, 2018. Trump famously employs private security for himself and during his rallies, and Silvercorp were likely contracted for his rallies. In May 2019 Goudreau met with US President Donald Trump’s personal bodyguard, Keith Schiller, as well as Lester Toledo, a senior representative of Venezuelan self-proclaimed “Interim President” Juan Guaido, in Miami.
'We'll find out. We just heard about it,' Trump said when asked about the incident and the Americans' arrests. 'But it has nothing to do with our government.' Venezuelan Attorney General Tarek William Saab said that in total they've arrested 114 people suspected in the attempted attack and they are on the hunt of 92 others.
Those who knew Goudreau in Special Forces told AP the following, “[He was] always at the top of his class: a cell leader with a superb intellect for handling sources, an amazing shot and a devoted mixed martial arts fighter who still cut his hair high and tight.”
Miami-based Guaido advisor J.J.Rendon, had been previously accused of working with far-right former Colombian President Alvaro Uribe and USAID to foment deadly street violence in Venezuela. “Rendon said his work for Guaidó is confidential and he would be required to deny any contract, whether or not it exists,” AP reported.
Diosdado Cabello, president of Venezuela’s Constituent Assembly and second-in-command of the United Socialist party of Venezuela, the Latin American nation’s ruling party, revealed details about who was behind the botched mercenary invasion over month before it took place. Cabello laid out the details of the plot on 28 March 2020 on Venezuelan national television. However, the presentation, which proved surprisingly prescient, detailed, and accurate, received almost no media attention at the time.
In the program, Cabello stands before a pair of large cork boards and a chart featuring the photos and names showing the elaborate ties between opposition figures, defectors from the military, weapons stocks in Colombia, and three ‘gringo’ Americans in the middle of it all, agents dubbed ‘Yordan,’ ‘Lut’ and ‘Aro’. ‘Agente Yordan’ is revealed to be none other than Jordan Goudreau, the former US Green Beret trooper and Silvercorp USA founder. Cabello presents several photos of the soldier turned soldier of fortune, and mentions Silvercorp by name. “Without a doubt [Silvercorp] is a shell company that gives services to others, that’s how they do it. It’s a front for the CIA,” Cabello suggests. “The reality is that Silvercorp USA is used to undertake clandestine operations in various countries in the world, especially to finance groups of mercenaries and destabilize legitimate governments,” he adds. Cabello goes on to indicate that authorities have information about the participation of two other Americans, later revealed to be former Green Berets Luke Denman and Airan Berry, in the plot.
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