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The Invasion of Venezuela, Brought To You By Silvercorp USA

May 5, 2020

By Giancarlo Fiorella

Translations: Español

Please see part II of this bizarre saga.

The video begins with Jordan Goudreau posing confidently, flanked by a man wearing an armour plate and a Venezuela flag wrapped around his shoulder. The man introduces Goudreau in a stern tone. Goudreau begins to speak with the terseness of a battle-hardened warrior as he confirms that an amphibious operation into Venezuela is underway. Goudreau begins by saying:

At 1700 hours, a daring amphibious raid was launched from the border of Colombia deep into the heart of Caracas. Our men are continuing to fight right now. Our units have been activated in the south, east and west of Venezuela. Commander Nieto is with me—is co-located—and commander Sequea is on  the ground now, fighting. 

It is the afternoon of Sunday, May 3, 2020, and Goudreau is confirming that a botched attempt to infiltrate Venezuela with a team of expatriate soldiers (and later, two U.S. citizens) on a hopeless mission to topple the government of President Nicolas Maduro is his doing. By the time the video was first shared on Twitter, eight of Goudreau’s men were dead and two others captured as the boat they were on was intercepted at sea by the Venezuelan authorities. A second boat, soon on its way to Venezuela, would also be intercepted at sea the following day, resulting in the capture of eight of Goudreau’s men, including two American citizens.

Over a period of 48 hours starting on the morning of May 3, Goudreau’s Silvercorp USA would-be mercenary force would make headlines across the world as the spectacular failure of the operation came to light. 

Mr. Goudreau Goes To Colombia

Goudreau’s name appeared in relation to Venezuela on May 1, in an article published by the Associated Press. The article outlines Goudreau’s involvement in a far-fetched scheme to help raise a mercenary army with Cliver Alcalá, a former major general in the Venezuelan army and lifelong supporter of former president Hugo Chavez who had been living in exile in Colombia since 2018. 

The article explains that the goal of this force would be to infiltrate Venezuela and spark a rebellion that would topple Maduro from power. Under the best light, the article paints Goudreau, a former U.S. Army special forces operative and three-time Bronze Star recipient, as a misguided entrepreneur who saw an opportunity to make a lot of money for Silvercorp USA, his private security company, by signing a contract with the Venezuelan opposition to train Alcalá’s men. As the article makes clear, the plot was so far-fetched that opposition leader Juan Guaido’s intermediates eventually cut contact with him, and some who knew Goudreau in Colombia said that he was “in way over his head” (the article is jaw-dropping and you should read it).

Goudreau featured on the Silvercorp USA home page (Source: Silvercorpusa.com)

Aside from introducing Goudreau and his misadventures in Colombia to the world, the article brought to light the plot that he and Alcalá had plotted to infiltrate Venezuela with former Venezuelan soldiers. There is evidence that the Venezuelan government was aware of the plot as early as March 24, but if they had been blind to the scheme, they would have found out about it in the article on May 1. And, with Alcalá in detention in the United States on drug trafficking charges since late March, any move now, when he had maximum visibility, would have been ill-advised for Goudreau.

Yet that’s when these just slightly amphibious raids began.

Silvercorp USA And Jordan Goudreau

Goudreau’s Florida-based private security firm, Silvercorp USA, was established in March 2018, just weeks after the Parkland school shooting that left 17 dead and another 17 wounded. The first Instagram posts from Silvercorp USA show a bizarre montage of school shootings, followed by a narration from Goudreau.

Goudreau, speaking over B-roll footage and clips of the aftermath of school shootings, describes how Silvercorp provides training to law enforcement and teachers to respond to active school shooters. Silvercorp later expanded its ambitions to “embed counter-terror agents in schools disguised as teachers” (their School Protection Solution), Goudreau provided “private security” in Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria, and apparently worked as security at Trump rallies. 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:

An Instagram post from Silvercorp also shows Goudreau at this rally, with the geotag of Charlotte, NC: 

Goudreau is visible in videos showing the rally, walking the aisles behind Trump during his speech:

Silvercorp USA also apparently provided security for a Trump rally in Houston on October 22, 2018, but there are no clear photographs showing Goudreau at work.

All of this does not mean that Goudreau is part of the Secret Service. Trump famously employs private security for himself and during his rallies, and Silvercorp were likely contracted for this rally in Charlotte.

Goudreau and Silvercorp likely provided security at other Trump rallies, including one in Pennsylvania on 10 March 2018. If you can spot Goudreau or other Silvercorp staff providing security at a Trump rally, please send your findings in the comments, or tweet at us.

Operation Gedeon, Or Goudreau’s Boat People

In the early morning hours of Sunday, May 3, reports began to surface on Twitter of military activity out at sea off the coast of Macuto, a small city on Venezuela’s coast just north of Caracas. In one video shot before the sun had come up, a man films what looks like police vessels out at sea. There is a helicopter flying the area, and gunshots can be heard.

Shortly after 7:30 AM, Minister of the Interior Nestor Reverol gave a televised address during which he said that “terrorist mercenaries” had attempted a “maritime invasion” of the country, and that they had come from Colombia. Shortly thereafter, news would break that eight of the men on the boat had been killed and two had been captured alongside weapons and equipment:

Images of some of the equipment and weapons seized in the Macuto operation (Source: @RCamachoVzla)

The news from Minister Reverol was received with a healthy dose of skepticism by many Venezuelans, given the Maduro government’s long track record of blaming everything from power outages to its financial woes on the Colombian government.

All doubts about the veracity of the Maduro government’s claims regarding the failed incursion were laid to rest in the afternoon when a Venezuelan digital news outlet (@FactoresdePoder) published a video in which Goudreau claimed responsibility for the “amphibious raid”, and hinted that other operations were ongoing. Goudreau was joined by a man calling himself Javier Quintero Nieto, who said that the goal of the operation was to detain the leadership of the Maduro government and liberate the country’s political prisoners.

Goudreau and Quintero appeared in a video claiming responsibility for the failed raid on Sunday, May 3 (Source: @FactoresdePoder)

The same news outlet shared images of a contract that appears to have been signed by both Goudreau (on behalf of Silvercorp) and opposition leader Juan Guaido on October 16, 2019 — worth a staggering $212.9 million dollars. Pages 1 out of 8 and 8 out of 8 are missing from the set that the outlet shared, and so we do not know for certain every piece of information that was included in this document, including exactly what services Silvercorp would provide.

Images of an alleged contract between Silvercorp and the Venezuelan opposition leader worth $212.9 million for undisclosed services (Source: @FactoresdePoder)

Shortly thereafter, Goudreau was interviewed by Venezuelan journalist Patricia Poleo for Factores de Poder. In the bizarre interview, Goudreau said that despite having signed a contract with Guaido, “the opposition hurt us more than they helped us” in part because they never paid him. Goudreau said that the opposition failed to even pay him the $1.5 million retainer that he had asked for, but that he nevertheless decided to continue to render the services of his company because he is a “freedom fighter” and “this is what [freedom fighters] do.”

When he was pressed by Poleo to explain why launching an amphibious operation across open waters instead of attempting to infiltrate via the border with Colombia, Goudreau replied:

Are you familiar with Alexander the Great? The Battle of Gaugamela. Completely outnumbered. He struck to the heart of the enemy, and he won.

Goudreau ended the interview by saying that there were more “cells” active in the country, that the operation was ongoing, and that he was in communication with people inside the country who were telling him that they wanted to join the rebellion that he was attempting to start.

Airan And Luke

On the evening on Sunday, May 3, the Silvercorp Twitter account tweeted that a “strikeforce incursion” into Venezuela was still underway despite the losses earlier that day. The tweet also revealed that two members of this strike force were U.S. citizens, while also trying to get the attention of U.S. President Donald Trump:

Confirmation of the participation of two U.S. citizens in the operation came from the @Carive15 Twitter account, which Javier Quintero confirmed is the official portal of the operation. The account tweeted out an image of three haggard-looking men aboard a boat, two of whom are looking at the camera:

The tweet reads: “An allied unit has fallen. The BRAVE NORTH AMERICAN ALLIES LUKE AND AARON [sic] have just been arrested by the NARCO-REGIME. They are more Venezuelan than any coward from the regime. (Picture taken at 7:30 AM [and shared via] satellite communication) (Source: @Carive15)

The men also appeared in images shared by the Venezuelan authorities after their capture, including in this video which shows some of the captured would-be infiltrators.

Speaking during a televised address on Monday, May 4, Maduro showed the passports and other pieces identification of the pair. Screenshots of that section of his speech were shared by @TeleSurEnglish. These pieces of identification show that the men’s names are Luke Alexander Denman and Airan Berry.

Four screenshots from Maduro’s May 4 address showing some of the Luke and Airan’s identification (Source: @Telesurenglish)

Diosdado Cabello, the vice president of the ruling Partido Socialista Unido de Venezuela(PSUV), shared a video on his Twitter account on the afternoon of May 4, showing Adolfo Baduel, one of the men captured alongside Denman and Berry. In the video, Baduel says that he was accompanied by two U.S. citizens who said that they “work with the chief of security of Donald Trump”, seemingly confirming Silvercorp USA’s previous work as security at Trump rallies.

Unfinished Business

The afternoon of May 4 ended with the Venezuelan government claiming to have arrested two more individuals in connection to “Operacion Gedeon”, this time on land in the city of Puerto Cruz. The two men were allegedly arrested alongside a cache of equipment related to the operation, including armor plates and communications equipment. @RCamachoVzla tweeted some images of the haul:

Images of some of the equipment seized in Puerto La Cruz (Source: @RCamachoVzla)

One image in particular raised many more questions than it answered, as it shows an Airsoft rifle:

An Airsoft rifle pictured among the cache of equipment captured by the Venezuelan authorities in Puerto Cruz (note the orange tip). Note also an Amazon Kindle among the equipment that was seized (Source: @RCamachoVzla)

The logo on the weapon appears to be associated with the G&G Airsoft company as seen in this promotional video (kudos to Twitter user @AbraxasSpa for making this connection):

A logo on the weapon (Source: @RCamachoVzla)

 

The G&G Airsoft logo (Source: YouTube)

In an interview published on May 4, Javier Quintero claimed that “Operacion Gedeon” was still ongoing despite its early losses, and that there were more teams inside and outside Venezuela “awaiting instructions”. He acknowledged Goudreau’s participation in the operation. As of publication, there have been no new reports of arrests or any other action related to this operation. 

President Maduro claimed in a televised speech on the night of May 4 that the involvement of U.S. citizens in the plot to overthrow him was evidence that the Trump administration was directly involved in the plan. There have been no public comments on these unfolding events from the U.S. government so far.

Don’t forget to read part II (yes, it only gets weirder).

Giancarlo Fiorella

Giancarlo is an investigator and trainer for Latin America at Bellingcat. He is also a PhD candidate at the Centre for Criminology & Sociolegal Studies at the University of Toronto, where his research focuses on protest policing and civil conflict. For questions and story ideas, you can reach him via email at giancarlo@bellingcat.com, or on Twitter (@gianfiorella).

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96 Comments

  1. Dr. Robyn

    I’m having Bay of Pigs deja vue. The amazing idiocy of white guys gone Rambo is overwhelming.

    Reply
    • Lüko Willms

      Except that the mercenaries landing 1961 on Playa Giron numbered 1500, and came with half a dozen ships provided by the CIA, and had tanks on their ships.

      It was Marx or Hegel who said that everything occurs twice in history, first as tragedy, and then as a farce.

      Those Silvercorps lunatics have exposed the political intentions of the US Empire, but shows also its ludicrous character. The US Empire is in decline, and that Trump got elected as POTUS is a clear sign of that.

      Reply
      • Stephane

        Thanks to the “bo the TRAITOR”, the USA were on a downward spiral. Thanks to the DEMON-RATS, the US are still working on being the best country in the world, for people who love FREEDOM, are self-starters, ambitious, and willing to sweat and bleed for their success. Unlike you, who put down what the President is doing, and hate him. For what reason do you hate him? Because he is not part of the “absolutely corrupt left”? Because you want socialism instituted here in the US? Because you like the oppression the socialists put on the people? What makes you think you will not be “under their thumb”? There is no US Empire. But there is a Russian wanna be emperor, in the name of Putin, an EX-KGB ASSASSIN, who travelled the world to murder the dissidents of the USSR. There is an emperor in the name of KIM in NO-KO, who assassinated his brother. There is an empire in china, where anybody who wants to open a business there has to relinquish 52% of the business in china, give forever all intellectual properties to chinese generals, who then spread the wealth stolen to the membvers of the chinese politburo. And there is a small emperor called Maduro, who has taken the RICHEST South American country and rendered it the poorest. Even poorer than Haiti. Please do not show your imbecility. There are already too many doing that in the US Congress, and Senate: pelosi, schumer, nadler, Gates, who also try to stop the REAL AMERICAN people from thinking and having their own thoughts and make their own decisions.

        Reply
        • Topcliffe

          Those evil Dems trying to control your thoughts again? I hear tin-foil hats block those mind-control rays. Also, Trump and Putin are BFFs, so I don’t know what you’re on about.

          Reply
    • Servus

      So, the intended ´bay of pigs’ deja vu works? Or are you trying to make it work?

      Is there an idiocy too big be believable or useful for Russian propaganda purposes?

      Reply
  2. Guy

    The only way that this makes any sense at all is that it was an operation initiated by either a low level person on Guaido’s staff or a similar person in Trump’s White House. As it progressed the people higher up said, “You can’t do this, there are laws against this sort of nonsense with lots of jail time. Besides, it seems that everyone knows about it!” The problem then became how to abort the op.

    “If we don’t give them any money, they’ll just go away.” Normally a sound strategy, but not in this case. “What the …, those idiots at Silvercorp are going ahead with out getting paid. This will be a disaster.”

    “Let’s leak the plan to the wire services. When they find out that the op is blown they won’t launch.” Reading about your planned invasion of another country in the press would cause a normal person to abort or at least re-schedule. Not this crew.

    So the final option would be to arrest the people from Silvercorp. Except that the Trump administration has invested so much in demonizing Venezuela that it just wouldn’t go down well on Fox News to be arresting “Freedom Fighters” who were about to liberate the country.

    “Maybe we’ll get lucky and their boat will break down.” They didn’t get lucky.

    Reply
    • Jesús Couto Fandiño

      https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/the_americas/from-a-miami-condo-to-the-venezuelan-coast-how-a-plan-to-capture-maduro-went-rogue/2020/05/06/046222bc-8e4a-11ea-9322-a29e75effc93_story.html?arc404=true

      Thats close to your idea. And basically, sounds plausible but one has to have into account that at this point, the battle is ongoing on the battlefield of newspapers, Twitter, and all the rest. I mean, Jesus Christ, for such a secret clandestine deal everybody signs like it is Hamilton.

      In Venezuela, the thing has getting so ridiculous that Maduro is saying that the now 7-days-going shooting match in Petare is because the DEA is inside with terrorists and stuff (which makes you wonder why THAT focus was not stamped out like the rest?), and then you have one of the leaders of the involved gangs giving interviews saying that nooo they are all Venezuelans, he is just a good guy trying to do good for his neighbourghood, and also not anti-Maduro.

      Again, whatever level of this clusterfuck that is “real”, has only worked for the advantage of Maduro, and the disgrace of several more people, as reports already point out to tortures – not of the Americans in this group, of course. Of Venezuelans that could have a relationship with somebody that could have a relationship with …

      Reply
  3. Daniel W

    The majority of Venezuelan prisons are run by inmates…..with guns. Can you say the only women on a pirate ship?

    Reply
  4. Luke Weyland

    Many politicians who once supported Guaido, such as the current National Assembly President now support change only via the ballot box. This is the propose place to do things.

    Reply
    • Jesús Couto Fandiño

      You mean the guy that suddenly decided Guaidó was not that great after being exposed as using his position to try to lobby international governments for a Chavista-linked billionaire involved in the CLAP corruption to have any sanctions against that guy lifted, and then suddenly was declared “New AN President” with the votes of the PSUV, while the rest of the members of the AN could not enter the session as troops from the government blocked them and colectivos harassed them?

      Then there is the question of, of course, what ballot box. I mean, is not like people in Venezuela didnt vote already, several times (or protested to have a Constitutional recall vote and got shot and killed for their trouble) and apart from the whole acts of manipulation and tampering and outright vote-buying, every time a result comes out that means the PSUV loose power, they somehow are nullified. Elected a new Assembly? The Court invents some pretext to say they cant legislate, or a new “Constitutional” Assembly is created that takes years and still no new Constitution, but rules that they can legislate in the meantime. Elect an opposition governor or mayor? Maduro creates a parallel position appointed by himself and gives that one all the power and the elected one all the trouble. Etc.

      I dont know what is the way the country will be free of Maduro and the rest, or at this point, if it will ever. But lets not be naive, it is not like elections havent been tried, protests havent been tried, trying to get the military to stop supporting him hasnt been tried.

      I just wish nobody tries more stupid, ill-planned, compromised and hopelessly flawed stuff that only gives Maduro more power. But while I dont like at all the situation and would love to believe in “the ballot way”, nobody has found yet how to get the Maduro gang to even remotely accept the possibility of a clean election and acknowledging the results, so far.

      He, in the meantime, has very much found a way to create several puppet “opposition”, like the guy you mention, Luis Parra.

      Reply
  5. Rod D.

    US Nazi Government must stay the F out of LATAM, they have exploited, ravaged our people and committed blatant crimes against humanity using the COLD war as a pretext.

    Look at the US-lead atrocities commited in Iraq where over 1,000,000 people have been murdered using “WMDs” as a pretext. We now know the “WMDs” were never there as it was made up by CIA purely for war profiteering and control of OIL and GAS pipelines….

    Iraq has been set back 100 years!
    The same was done to nearly all nations in Latin America, many of which have not recovered..

    A few examples come to mind

    Masacre de las Bananeras
    Guatemala Experiments
    CIA killing of Archbishop Oscar Romero
    US Panama Canal Enrichment via exploitation & abuses
    Chile
    etc…
    etc….

    Let Latin American deal with its geopolitical problems and stay the F out.

    This is yet another failed Bay of Pigs invasion.

    Reply
    • debra

      I’m in total agreement! The timing of all this is ominous. The beginnings of a corporate military? Mercenaries have always had their day in the sun but this seems more rogue than usual.

      Reply
    • Joe dirt

      Any meddling the United States does unofficially officially is done in the name of freedom and to make the world a better place safe from Evil as Sadam Hussein. Or madman Chavez or Madero and as long as this evil exists, we need to be there to eradicate it.

      Reply
    • Jeremy

      You are welcome to leave the United States of America. Furthermore, your figures on the death toll in Iraq is high by a factor of 10 – check out the “Iraq Body Count”. So much liberal nonsense published, read, and never personally investigated – much like this garbage article. Written too soon for any true deep research and only used to try and steer the sheeple that read it and to undermine the current sitting president. There was a day and age when that position was revered and honored, but you keyboard activists are killing any decency and moral character that the USA was once known for. So, with all your uproar for these other countries please do us all the favor of leaving what is still the best country in the world. Get out from behind your keyboards, set the bag of chips down, and leave the place you love to hate so much – the rest of the world will, I am sure, receive you with a warm smile and hug!

      Reply
      • Topcliffe

        You were free to leave the country during the Obama administration, so why didn’t you? Maybe — just gonna throw this out there — people who oppose Trump love their country as much as you and are willing to stay and make the effort to bring about positive change. Nah, that’s just too crazy. Everyone who disagrees with you must be some America-hating cartoon villain. Makes much more sense.

        Reply
  6. London CT Publishing

    At Google UK or Bing UK browser type the following:
    Andrew Dedman MI5….
    Same story different base!

    Reply
  7. Jesús Couto Fandiño

    According to Chavista spokesman Jorge Rodriguez, the Macuto guys, 12 in total, had as objectives the HQ of the DGCIM (military intelligence, so mostly torturing any officer suspect of not being loyal enough nowadays), the HQ of the SEBIN (political police or the same as previous), the Presidential Palace, and then later going for the big names of the Chavista government.

    12 guys.

    Either Jorge lies a bit (understatement of the century) or they are absolute idiots, or both things at the same time.

    Reply
  8. int19h

    There’s one other thing about that photo of the weapons cache that is strange. The bottom right photo shows a bunch of AR stocks… except if you look closely, it’s not actually a stock, but rather something called “stabilizing brace” – this specific one is KAK Shockwave.

    What’s strange about it is that those things exist *solely* to work around restrictive American laws pertaining to short-barreled firearms. Unless you’re a civilian gun owner in US, there’s literally no point in owning such a thing in lieu of a proper stock – even the most basic stock will be more durable and comfortable, and cheaper to boot.

    So then, why were they chosen? The answer to this question is probably the same as why there’s an airsoft rifle in the pic.

    Reply
  9. Dark Politricks

    The amount of money involved upon the contract undoubtedly points directly at the CIA bears all the hall marks,another point these guys are working next to and alongside to Trump,this is evidence itself as nobody employed by Trump would be acting in his best personal interests without Trump knowing, Trump wouldnt allow these men to take off and start a private war without knowing about it.Think – you cant have guys running around the world starting wars that you dont know about and at the same time have them protecting you.THIS COULD COST TRUMP HIS PRESIDENCY WHY? WELL ITS EXACTLY WHAT PRESIDENT NIXON DID!!!!!!! now watch the American press and remember where you read this first! if nobody in America publishers what we are saying here then start asking yourselves why?? (London CT Publishing)…interesting to see what the Democrats in America do next …time for impeachment again?????

    Reply
  10. Dark Politricks

    ” Three Democrats on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee are demanding answers from the Trump administration about how much it knew about an attempted raid to capture Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro, an operation they said potentially violated U.S. law and ran counter to American support for negotiations to end the South American country’s political standoff.

    In a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Attorney General William Barr and Richard Grenell, the acting director of national intelligence, the lawmakers led by Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut expressed ‘alarm’ about the raid led by a former Green Beret and which has resulted in the detention in Venezuela of two American citizens.

    Reply

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