Venezuela asks extradition of US citizen in failed raid

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BOGOTA

Venezuela’s Chief Prosecutor Tarek William Saab said his office has requested arrest warrants against U.S. military veteran Jordan Goudreau as well as Jose Rendon and Sergio Vergara, two Venezuelans accused of involvement in a failed armed incursion earlier this week aimed at overthrowing the government of President Nicolas Maduro.

“We have requested an arrest warrant against Juan José Rendón and Sergio Vergara, as well as against Jordan Goudreau, for their involvement in the design, financing and execution of this war action against the territory, the
authorities and the people of Venezuela,” said Saab in a televised statement shortly before noon on May 8. 

“Given that they are outside the country, we will request their inclusion in the Interpol system, as well as their extradition to Venezuelan territory,” Saab added.

Goudreau, chief executive of security company Silvercorp USA, has claimed he organized and trained the mercenary force to carry out the operation that left eight people dead and more than a dozen in custody, including Luke Alexander Denman and Airan Berry, two US citizens accompanying the dissident Venezuelan security forces.

Opposition Venezuelan political strategist Juan Rendon has said that while he negotiated an agreement with Goudreau last year, he cut ties with Silvercorp in November.

Saab also informed of another 22 arrest warrants that would be requested for events linked with the Sunday raids.

Hours before the Chief Prosecutor’s announcement, Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino Lopez reported the capture of two individuals in Puerto La Cruz, Anzoategui state in Venezuela who were also allegedly involved in the May 3
events.

Padrino reported the two latest arrests on his Twitter account, where he also posted an image of the suspects.

“We are looking for them and THEY CAN’T HIDE! We have captured two mercenaries in the mountainous region of Puerto Cruz and we are going for more. Where are their political bosses who are paying for this incursion,” the official wrote on Twitter.

The Maduro government has blamed the internal political opposition, as well as the governments of the United States and Colombia for the plot, although they have all denied any connection with the so-called Operation Gideon.

Venezuela’s foreign minister Jorge Arreaza asked Colombian President Ivan Duque to explain why, allegedly, “all those involved in the armed aggression against Venezuela confessed that they trained in Colombia, with the knowledge of the government and the financing of drug traffickers in that country”.

Duque said that he did not sponsor invasions or tricks. “I do things upfront because I am a defender of democracy,” he said on May 8. 

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