FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Guaidó and the Failed Military Operation Against Venezuela: a Story of Betrayal and Financial Corruption

Now that we have had a few days to study the failed, illegal paramilitary incursion by a group of American and Venezuelan mercenaries into Venezuela, some key details have emerged in this incredible story. They reveal the internal dynamics of the fractured, demoralized, and financially corrupt nature of the hardline sectors of the opposition. Much of the information was provided by the former U.S. soldier Jordan Goudreau, hired for “Operation Gideon” by Juan Guaidó himself along with advisors Sergio Vergara, Juan José Rendón, and with the advice of attorney Manuel Retureta, all of whom signed the service plan to launch the paramilitary operation (called “General Services Agreement”).

A dozen paramilitaries were captured from Sunday May 3 to Monday May 4 in the coastal area of La Guaira and Chuao[1] with the help of fishermen. They include deserters from Venezuela’s armed forces and police, along with former U.S. soldiers. Eight of the mercenaries were killed by the country’s security forces.[2]

The trove of evidence makes it impossible for Guaidó and his advisors to deny their involvement in the contract for services. Not only are copies of the 8-pages General Services Agreement circulating on the internet, also included in this article,,[3] there is also a recording of their phone conversation while they were signing it.[4]

A picture containing outdoor, road, building, man Description automatically generated Mercenaries captured in Chuao (Photo-credit: Government of Venezuela).

A multi-million dollar contract

U.S. mercenary Jordan Goudreau, owner of Florida Silvercorp USA Inc, which has been around for two years, is revealing all the inside information for the simple reason that Guaidó never paid the agreed upon fee, including a retainer of US$1.5 million. He claims that he only received US$50,000[5] through Rendón.

A native Canadian, Goudreau is a U.S. Army combat veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan. According to his simple website that centers around his personal image, Jordan Goudreau “has also planned and led international security teams for the President of the United States as well as the Secretary of Defense.”[6] According to a profile AP wrote about him,[7] that claim seems to be an exaggeration of his friendly relationship with Keith Schiller, who served as chief of security and bodyguard to Trump. Several interviews conducted by AP of people close to the mercenary suggest that Goudreau is politically naive, impulsive, and harbors delusions of grandeur.

Airing it all out in public

From all the extensive videotaped interviews of Goudreau, it is apparent that on the heels of a failed operation fraught with incompetence and which resulted in the deaths of several mercenaries, the soldier of fortune is rushing to reveal all to the world press in order to redirect blame towards Juan Guaidó. It is also clear that his public statements are motivated by the fact that his fees were not paid and he has no obligation to maintain confidentiality, because “At this point the contract has been completely fractured and nothing has been upheld on the side of the opposition (…) I have done everything that the contract outlines.”[8]


A big arsenal of weapons was confiscated from the mercenaries. (Photo-credit: Government of Venezuela)

The actual contract has over 70 pages according to Goudreau. The shorter General Services Agreement promises Silvercorp payment of over US$200 million[9] for overthrowing the government of Nicolás Maduro. According to the contractor, the money comes from the ample funds the U.S. has illegally confiscated from the Citgo oil company, owned by the Venezuelan State, and which has been transferred to Guaidó’s account.[10] Goudreau also cited the Rio Treaty (The Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance, TIAR) as justification for the operation, which is the agreement the Venezuelan opposition has fruitlessly been trying to invoke in the Organization of American States (OAS) to spur military action against Venezuela.[11]

Goudreau criticizes Guaidó on moral grounds

The mercenary also questioned Guaidó’s character:

“They hurt us more than they helped us. At the beginning they said they were going to help us. You have these guys with access to millions of dollars. They were given 90 million dollars, 9 million of which were allocated towards defense. Look, they are going to deny all this. They knew there were guys in the frontier. You have 60 Venezuelans who were hungry, training, thinking about liberation, and they went and did it. Meanwhile your opposition government is making tons of money. I think there is a problem.” When asked why he thinks Guaidó withdrew support for the attack, Goudreau added, “I think there is a lot of money involved right now. When people are making money, they are comfortable. I don’t think there is a real incentive to free” the country.[12]

The opposition’s growing disenchantment with Guaidó

Despite all the evidence against him, particularly the contractor’s complaints of non-payment and his apparent signature on the contract for services, the self-proclaimed president of Venezuela was quick to deny any involvement with the paramilitary operation.[13]

A close up of a newspaper Description automatically generated Identity documents that prove the presence of US former soldiers among the mercenaries. (Photo-credit: Government of Venezuela)

All of these revelations have two implications. First, they confirm the continuous charges made by the Maduro administration in recent years of the existence of a real paramilitary threat coming from Colombian soil.[14] Second, it drives a wedge of criticism among many in the opposition, particularly in the U.S., who have been coming down hard on Guaidó for abandoning the former Venezuelan military officers.[15] Even the journalist who interviewed Goudreau on video, Patricia Poleo, who is against the ChavistaMaduro government, is being harshly criticized by the most extremist elements of the opposition.[16]

Criticism and scandal are familiar themes. This case is reminiscent of the abandonment of dozens of Venezuelan military deserters in Colombia, some with their families, after the frustrated fake “humanitarian aid” operation that was staged in February 2019 along the Colombian-Venezuelan border. On that occasion it came to light, and was confirmed by the Colombian intelligence services, that Guaidó’s team stole thousands of dollars that had been raised for that campaign. The Venezuelan deserters who were inspired by the opposition were abandoned in unpaid hotel rooms.[17]

The opposition is clearly willing to use paramilitary violence

This case proves several fundamental points: That Guaidó is handling large sums of money; his constant attacks on the Venezuelan government are to limited effect; and he has not managed to break the unity of the Venezuelan military. It is also clear that he is financing semi-clandestine private activities, with nothing to show for it so far. And he is willing to hire mercenary forces to launch adventurous military attacks that risk the lives of the participants and of civilians in Colombia and Venezuela.

While the moderate opposition forces continue to engage in talks with the government of Nicolás Maduro, an increasingly isolated hard-line faction continues in its efforts to uphold the U.S. sanctions, to validate foreign military intervention, and to launch paramilitary attacks.

It is also clear that incompetence and low morale are having a significant impact on the extremist opposition in Venezuela, which for some unknown reason, abandoned the group of mercenaries at the start of their attack on this Caribbean nation. The case is like so many such operations in the history of U.S. intervention in Latin America, when groups of mercenaries are abandoned at the last minute for reasons of political pragmatism, realistic military calculations predicting failure, money grabbing scandals, or simple military incompetence.

A picture containing text, newspaper Description automatically generated
Contract (“General Services Agreement”) signed by Guaidó for more than 200 million dollars, to hire the services of mercenaries with the goal of overthrowing president Maduro, according to Jordan Goudreau statements (images provided by Goudreau to the press).

Leaving obvious clues: operational naiveté and the end of Guaidó

All of the recent scandals surrounding Guaidó have led to a significant withering of his support. There has been clear disappointment in his lack of results, while all the hundreds of millions of dollars the U.S. government has placed at the shadow government’s disposal have not paid off. It also shows that Guaidó is politically immature and inept, leaving such clear traces as a mercenary services contract signed in his handwriting at a law firm that cannot refute the legal evidence.

There is no doubt that this marks the beginning of the end of Guaidó’s influence with the hard liner sector of the  Venezuelan opposition and could perhaps bolster the position of the moderates who prefer a political solution over sanctions, violence, and outside intervention. This unfunded, ill-prepared military attack fraught with errors cost human lives—about eight soldiers perished, many of them young former soldiers and police officers shown on the videos of the ex-military fighters before the attack began.[18] All those who plotted to support or abandon this military action bear the blame.

The words of Jordan Goudreau leave no doubt about what much of the opposition is feeling now, after the failure of this pseudo-military adventure: “I have been a freedom fighter my whole life. I fought in Iraq, in Afghanistan, I am a decorated soldier. I have been shot at. But I have never ever in my life seen the back stabbing and the level of complete disregard for men in the field.”

This article was translated from the original in Spanish by Jill Clark-Gollub, COHA Assistant Editor/Translator.

End Notes

[1] “Hijo de Raúl Baduel se encuentra entre los detenidos en la embarcación de Chuao”,

https://www.elnacional.com/venezuela/hijo-de-raul-baduel-se-encuentra-entre-los-detenidos-en-la-embarcacion-de-chuao/

[2] “Ocho paramilitares fallecidos en incursión frustrada por La Guaira desde Colombia”, http://www.avn.info.ve/node/481798

[3] Ver varias fuentes: https://venezuelanalysis.com/news/14861, https://pbs.twimg.com/media/EXImw1yWkAA1a2B?format=jpg&name=medium, https://dialogosdelsur.operamundi.uol.com.br/america-latina/64517/venezuela-revelan-el-contrato-firmado-por-guaido-para-ejecutar-golpe-de-estado

[4] “Jordan Goudreau’s telephone conversation with Juan Guaidó, prior signed contract”, https://anoncandanga.com/jordan-goudreaus-telephone-conversation-with-juan-guaido-prior-signed-contract/

[5] “Ex-Green Beret Says Attempt to Oust Maduro Ongoing After Setback”, https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/ex-green-beret-says-plan-to-oust-venezuela-e2-80-99s-maduro-is-ongoing/ar-BB13AKhH

[6] https://www.silvercorpusa.com/about-jordan-goudreau

[7] “Ex-Green Beret led failed attempt to oust Venezuela’s Maduro,” https://apnews.com/79346b4e428676424c0e5669c80fc310

[8] “PRUEBA DE QUE GUAIDÓ FIRMÓ EL CONTRATO”, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1-L2VQPnZMI

[9]“Venezuela: revelan el contrato firmado por Guaidó para ejecutar golpe de Estado”, https://dialogosdelsur.operamundi.uol.com.br/america-latina/64517/venezuela-revelan-el-contrato-firmado-por-guaido-para-ejecutar-golpe-de-estado

[10] “Venezuela.- El ex boina verde acusado de la incursión naval en Venezuela dice que el plan contra Maduro sigue en marcha”, https://www.notimerica.com/politica/noticia-venezuela-ex-boina-verde-acusado-incursion-naval-venezuela-dice-plan-contra-maduro-sigue-marcha-20200505120944.html

[11] “PRUEBA DE QUE GUAIDÓ FIRMÓ EL CONTRATO”, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1-L2VQPnZMI

[12] “CÓMO IMPIDIÓ GUAIDÓ LA SALIDA DE MADURO | EXCLUSIVA OPERACIÓN GEDEON”, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mGsao-iBZGk

[13] “Guaidó niega vínculos con intento de invasión en Venezuela”, https://www.chicagotribune.com/espanol/sns-es-coronavirus-guaido-niega-vinculo-intento-invasion-venezuela-20200505-uiditc4i6nbdda3nyx24n26zee-story.html

[14] “Acusación de “campamento paramilitar” de Venezuela a Colombia”, https://www.trt.net.tr/espanol/espana-y-america-latina/2019/09/01/acusacion-de-campamento-paramilitar-de-venezuela-a-colombia-1261825

[15] “VIDEOS EXCLUSIVOS | Preparativos Operación GEDEÓN”, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PJGudB6zJv4

[16] “Patricia Poleo RESPONDE | Entrevista de Alejandro Marcano”, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VJ_p6ZyS7Pg&t=1s

[17] “Guaidó’s Star Fades as his Envoys to Colombia Allegedly Commit Fraud with Humanitarian Funds for Venezuela”,  http://www.coha.org/guaidos-star-fades-as-his-envoys-to-colombia-allegedly-commit-fraud-with-humanitarian-funds-for-venezuela/

[18] “VIDEOS EXCLUSIVOS | Preparativos Operación GEDEÓN”, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PJGudB6zJv4&t=549s

This article was originally published by the Council on Hemispheric Affairs.

More articles by:

Patricio Zamorano is a Senior Analyst at the Council on Hemispheric Affairs.

July 13, 2020
Gerald Sussman
The Russiagate Spectacle: Season 2?
Ishmael Reed
Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Perry Mason Moment
Jack Rasmus
Why the 3rd Quarter US Economic ‘Rebound’ Will Falter
W. T. Whitney
Oil Comes First in Peru, Not Coronavirus Danger, Not Indigenous Rights
Ralph Nader
The Enduring Case for Demanding Trump’s Resignation
Raghav Kaushik – Arun Gupta
On Coronavirus and the Anti-Police-Brutality Uprising
Deborah James
Digital Trade Rules: a Disastrous New Constitution for the Global Economy Written by and for Big Tech
Howard Lisnoff
Remembering the Nuclear Freeze Movement and Its Futility
Sam Pizzigati
Will the Biden-Sanders Economic Task Force Rattle the Rich?
Allen Baker
Trump’s Stance on Foreign College Students Digs US Economic Hole Even Deeper
Binoy Kampmark
The Coronavirus Seal: Victoria’s Borders Close
Evaggelos Vallianatos
Power, Knowledge and Virtue
Weekend Edition
July 10, 2020
Friday - Sunday
Lynnette Grey Bull
Trump’s Postcard to America From the Shrine of Hypocrisy
Anthony DiMaggio
Free Speech Fantasies: the Harper’s Letter and the Myth of American Liberalism
David Yearsley
Morricone: Maestro of Music and Image
Jeffrey St. Clair
“I Could Live With That”: How the CIA Made Afghanistan Safe for the Opium Trade
Rob Urie
Democracy and the Illusion of Choice
Paul Street
Imperial Blind Spots and a Question for Obama
Vijay Prashad
The U.S. and UK are a Wrecking Ball Crew Against the Pillars of Internationalism
Melvin Goodman
The Washington Post and Its Cold War Drums
Richard C. Gross
Trump: Reopen Schools (or Else)
Chris Krupp
Public Lands Under Widespread Attack During Pandemic 
Alda Facio
What Coronavirus Teaches Us About Inequality, Discrimination and the Importance of Caring
Eve Ottenberg
Bounty Tales
Andrew Levine
Silver Linings Ahead?
John Kendall Hawkins
FrankenBob: The Self-Made Dylan
Pam Martens - Russ Martens
Deutsche Bank Fined $150 Million for Enabling Jeffrey Epstein; Where’s the Fine Against JPMorgan Chase?
David Rosen
Inequality and the End of the American Dream
Louis Proyect
Harper’s and the Great Cancel Culture Panic
Thom Hartmann
How Billionaires Get Away With Their Big Con
REZA FIYOUZAT
Your 19th COVID Breakdown
Danny Sjursen
Undercover Patriots: Trump, Tulsa, and the Rise of Military Dissent
Charles McKelvey
The Limitations of the New Antiracist Movement
Binoy Kampmark
Netanyahu’s Annexation Drive
Joseph G. Ramsey
An Empire in Points
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
COVID-19 Denialism is Rooted in the Settler Colonial Mindset
Ramzy Baroud
On Israel’s Bizarre Definitions: The West Bank is Already Annexed
Judith Deutsch
Handling Emergency: A Tale of Two Males
Michael Welton
Getting Back to Socialist Principles: Honneth’s Recipe
Dean Baker
Combating the Political Power of the Rich: Wealth Taxes and Seattle Election Vouchers
Jonah Raskin
Edward Sanders: Poetic Pacifist Up Next
Manuel García, Jr.
Carbon Dioxide Uptake by Vegetation After Emissions Shutoff “Now”
Heidi Peltier
The Camo Economy: How Military Contracting Hides Human Costs and Increases Inequality
Ron Jacobs
Strike!, Fifty Years and Counting
Ellen Taylor
The Dark Side of Science: Shooting Barred Owls as Scapegoats for the Ravages of Big Timber
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail