Guaidó advisers quit following bungled Venezuela raid

Juan Guaido

FILE – In this March 4, 2020 file photo, opposition leader Juan Guaido listens during a legislative session being held at a religious, private school in Caracas, Venezuela, an alternative location due to the government continuously blocking their access to National Assembly chambers. Guaidó said Monday, May 11, 2020 that two U.S.-based political advisers have resigned following a failed incursion into Venezuela aimed at capturing President Nicolás Maduro. (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos, File)

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó said Monday that two U.S.-based political advisers have resigned in the fallout from a failed incursion into the Caribbean nation led by a former-Green Beret aimed at capturing President Nicolás Maduro.

Guaido said he accepted the resignations of Juan José Rendon and Sergio Vergara, who had signed an agreement for a mission to arrest Maduro with U.S. military veteran Jordan Goudreau. While that deal fell apart, Goudreau has taken responsibility for going ahead with a failed attack launched May 3 on a beach outside the capital, Caracas.

Rendon said he gave Goudreau $50,000 to cover some initial expenses, but both say the contract was never fulfilled and he received no more funds.

The would-be invasion quickly became a publicity coup for Maduro, whose security forces intercepted most of the attackers.

Guaidó’s team said in a statement that he “accepted the resignation of the officials and thanked them for their dedication and commitment to Venezuela.”

Maduro says the objective of the raid was to kill him, but instead officials say they killed at least six of the accused “mercenaries” and arrested dozens of others, including two former U.S. soldiers associated with Goudreau’s Florida-based firm Silvercorp USA.

Guaidó, who is backed by the Trump administration among nearly 60 other nations as Venezuela’s rightful leader, has denied having anything to do with the alleged attack, but has come under pressure from at least one opposition party in Venezuela to explain what happened.

Goudreau has presented what he said is a secret recording of Guaidó himself attended, by speakerphone, the meeting at which the deal was signed. Goudreau said he was never fully paid, but went forward with the mission to help liberate Venezuela from Maduro, working with a former Venezuelan Army Gen., Cliver Alcalá, who was recently extradited from Colombia to the U.S. to face drug charges.

Venezuelan Attorney General Tarek William Saab recently said Venezuela will seek the capture of Goudreau and the two former Guaido advisers. Goudreau said about 60 people were involved in the incursion and Venezuelan officials say they have arrested at least 40, including 14 in the last two days.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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