Botched Venezuela Operation Is a Boon for Maduro

By Amy Mackinnon

“Obviously the Maduro regime knew about it in advance,” said AS/COA's Eric Farnsworth to Foreign Policy.

Two former U.S. special forces soldiers were among 17 people arrested in Venezuela this week and accused of trying to topple the country’s embattled president, Nicolás Maduro. A Florida-based private security contractor allegedly orchestrated the murky operation and live-tweeted the incursion. “A daring amphibious raid was launched from the border of Colombia deep into the heart of Caracas,” said Jordan Goudreau, the founder of the security contractor Silvercorp, in a video on Sunday

By the time the video was posted online, eight operatives had been killed after being intercepted by the Venezuelan military. A second boat of would-be invaders was captured on Monday. The plot appears to have been infiltrated by Venezuelan intelligence. It was also picked up the Associated Press, which published a detailed account of Goudreau’s plans three days before the attack. One former U.S. diplomat has described the story as a “Keystone Cops Bay of Pigs.”...

The bungled operation has enabled Maduro to take aim at his most despised adversaries: the Venezuelan opposition, the United States, and Colombia—where the fighters were reportedly trained. “Obviously the Maduro regime knew about it in advance, but you have to wonder: Were they somehow egging it along?” Eric Farnsworth, the vice president of the Council of the Americas, told Foreign Policy...

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