- World news
Americans sentenced to 20 years in prison for aiding a coup attempt in Venezuela have been sentenced to 20 years in prison
The two former United States special forces fighters have admitted to carrying out the failed offensive by sea, in an attempt to oust President Maduro, amid tensions between Caracas and Washington that support the president's rival. They were convicted of conspiracy and terrorist acts. The investigation into the involvement of dozens more is ongoingTags
- United States
- Nicholas Maduro
IPSaturday, 08 August 2020, 22:00
A Venezuelan court has sentenced 20 former United States Special Forces to 20 years in prison for involvement in a failed offensive by sea in an attempt to oust President Nicholas Maduro. The prosecution announced yesterday (Friday) that Luke Danman and Iron Berry, both former decorated fighters, were found guilty of conspiracy, trafficking in illegal weapons and terrorist acts.
Former Green Berets members have admitted to participating in the May 4 operation. Venezuelan Attorney General Tarek William Saab said a third former U.S. soldier, who remained in the United States, led the operation.
"They have pleaded guilty to the facts," Saab wrote on his Twitter account, adding that the investigation into the involvement of dozens of other defendants is ongoing. The prosecutor did not disclose further details about the investigation.
"Operation Gideon" began at temporary training bases in neighboring Colombia, leaving at least eight dead among rebel forces, as well as 66 prisoners. Jordan Godro, a former Special Forces fighter who ran a private security company in Florida called Silverscorp USA, took responsibility for a failed attack.
The two Americans, who were arrested in the fishing village of Chuo, have since been featured repeatedly on the state television channel in Venezuela. This is in order to prove the claim that the United States is determined to overthrow Maduro's socialist government.
More on Walla! NEWS
"Operation Gideon" failed: Venezuela arrested 2 Americans who took part in the invasion
To the full article
The incident also raised allegations that opposition leader Juan Guido, who was backed by the United States, had authorized Godro through a written agreement to carry out the attack. Guido and U.S. officials have denied any involvement in the attack. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said Washington will make every effort to restore the freedom of Danman and Berry.
A day before the authorities announced the sentencing of the former fighters, the trial of six executives in the company "Sitgo", which operates in the state of Houston, opened. The six were arrested more than two years ago on charges of corruption.
Danman and Berry's trial was delayed for months, until former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson met in person with Maduro in the capital, Caracas, to promote their release and return to the United States.
Richardson claimed he was interested in working for free in order to release the convicts. "Lod Kenman and Iron Berry are U.S. veterans of the military, who deserve our support," he said. "We will continue a dialogue with the Venezuelans to find a way to bring them back to their families."
Both cases take place against the backdrop of hostility between Washington and Caracas. Last year the Trump administration expressed support for opposition leader Guido, who declared himself the official president of Venezuela and promised to overthrow Maduro. Guido blames Maduro for the state's socio - economic collapse, while the socialist leader claims that Washington is using Guido to profit from the country's vast oil reserves.