There are secret operations that are effective and there are secret operations that were pitifull at best. Such is the case of the Silvercorp plan to oust Maduro in Venezuela with nowhere near enough resources. It ended with two former United States SF members and 11 former Venezuelan troops in the custody of the Nicolas Maduro regime. The plan itself never got off the ground, or the water, as the case may be, although some are claiming there are still teams inside Venezuela working the plan.
— teleSUR English (@telesurenglish) May 5, 2020
This is how members of the eight-man #OperationGedeon terror cell went down today in Chuao, Aragua state, in a civic-military-police takedown led by local fishermen. Courtesy: Luis Hugas. pic.twitter.com/N7U6IKlaCn
— Camila (@camilateleSUR) May 5, 2020
.@NicolasMaduro: Among the terrorist captured today they were 2 U.S. military officials from Texas. According to a member of the band they are "intermediaries with Trump's head of security". Their names are Luke Denman and Aaron Barry, members of the company Silver Corp. pic.twitter.com/dsTp0oaOIq
— teleSUR English (@telesurenglish) May 5, 2020
(Correct names: Luke Denman and Airan Berry, not Aaron. Both are US Green Beret veterans.)
— Eligio Rojas (@ELESPINITO) May 5, 2020
Parte del armamento incautado pic.twitter.com/dUXUYgml2z
— Roman Camacho (@RCamachoVzla) May 4, 2020
Please not that one of the “weapons” in this picture was an “Airsoft” gun manufactured by G&G Airsoft, according to Bellingcat. It raised the question: were they trying to oust Maduro without resources?
Operation Gideon: The Plan
The scheme involved members of the Florida based Silvercorp USA, which is owned by a decorated former Special Forces-Green Beret member named Jordan Goudreau, and Venezuelan troops that deserted in order to support Juan Guaido. Goudreau received three bronze stars for valor during combat tours to Iraq and Afghanistan, so is not a novice. He has been described as someone who was “in over his head.”
There are conflicting reports as to the actual number of fighters involved in the plan. But Goudreau took up with former Venezuelan General Cliver Alcalá, who is currently in custody in the United States for narcoterrorism. Alcalá claimed to have 300 fighters ready and waiting for orders. There may have only been around 60, according to Fox. Silvercorp USA was going to train them.
Over two days of meetings with Goudreau and Toledo at the JW Marriott, Alcalá explained how he had selected 300 combatants from among the throngs of low-ranking soldiers who abandoned Maduro and fled to Colombia in the early days of Guaidó’s uprising, said three people who participated in the meeting and insisted on anonymity to discuss sensitive conversations.
Alcalá said several dozen men were already living in three camps he maintained in and around the desert-like La Guajira peninsula that Colombia shares with Venezuela, the three said. Among the combatants in the camps was an exiled national guardsman accused of participating in a 2018 drone attack on Maduro.
Goudreau told Alcalá his company could prepare the men for battle, according to the three sources. The two sides discussed weapons and equipment for the volunteer army, with Goudreau estimating a budget of around $1.5 million for a rapid strike operation.
Goudreau told participants at the meeting that he had high-level contacts in the Trump administration who could assist the effort, although he offered few details, the three people said. Over time, many of the people involved in the plan to overthrow Maduro would come to doubt his word.
From the outset, the audacious plan split an opposition coalition already sharply divided by egos and strategy. There were concerns that Alcalá, with a murky past and ties to the regime through a brother who was Maduro’s ambassador to Iran, couldn’t be trusted. Others worried about going behind the backs of their Colombian allies and the U.S. government.
Ths plan was to land by boat in Venezuela from Colombia,”sweep” across the country, raiding armories, causing Maduro’s military to fall, even capturing Maduro himself. The first group of 8 were captured by the people of the fishing village Chuao, the others captured in Puerto Cruz. The plan wasn’t just ill-advised, it had no chance of success without the intervention of the United States military and backing… something they did NOT have. Of course, Maduro claims the US was supporting it.
The Silvercorp group says it had a signed contract with Guaido for $212 Million, that never materialized.
Propaganda Boost for Maduro
Because Goudreau bragged about having high level connections to the Trump administration, the people who were arrested parroted that information back to Maduro. The dictator was then able to claim that the Trump administration was “fully and completely involved in this defeated raid.” They claimed that the two former Green Berets were “intermediaries” with the Trump head of security.
The plan was too weak and the execution nothing like a real Special Forces Covert Operation.
In fact, Goudreau’s company appears to have provided security for a Trump Rally in Charlotte, NC in October of 2018, and the possibility of one in March 2018 in Pennsylvania. But did that translate into the kind of contacts Goudreau claimed? Not likely. Drew White, a former partner, who knew of the regime change plot, broke off connections with Goudreau. “Nothing he said lined up.”
Goudreau looks like the fool who plotted a failure. But whether he is that or not is unknown. He is mostly guilty of trying to oust a dictator without enough resources to do it, and overstating his plans. Now there are two Americans in custody of the Maduro regime that need to be brought home. Both the United States and Colombia are investigating.
Featured photo: Maduro photo via Twitter