08:46 GMT24 September 2020
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    US citizen and ex-Marine Matthew John Heath was recently arrested in Venezuela and has been accused of plotting attacks against the country’s oil industry and electricity system. The US has yet to comment on Heath’s arrest, which is very “telling,” Arnold August, a journalist and lecturer, told Sputnik Tuesday.

    According to Venezuela’s chief prosecutor Tarek Saab, Heath has ties to the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and was also working with three Venezuelan co-conspirators. All four were arrested last week near refineries on Venezuela’s north Caribbean coast, Reuters reported.

    “We have managed to neutralize an operation that could have been one of the worst in recent times,” Saab said, the Washington Post reported. “A US citizen and presumed military soldier was found to be carrying out espionage activities to destabilize Venezuelan territory. He had the help of Venezuelan citizens, both military and civilian.”

    “The latest article by the Washington Post and others indicate to us that the US has not made any comment with regards to the capture of this ex-Marine,” August, who is the author of several books, including "Cuba-US Relations: Obama and Beyond," told By Any Means Necessary hosts Sean Blackmon and Jacquie Luqman.

    “It’s very telling. They do these things, obviously, behind the scenes, and then when they’re caught red-handed, they do not say anything, or perhaps later on they will come up with some kind of story to try to distance themselves from that. Because after all, the basic, main comment or orientation by the US is that they are really in favor of a peaceful solution in Venezuela,” he said.

    The latest incident comes after the Venezuelan government in May said it had foiled a sea incursion attempted by “terrorist mercenaries” from Colombia, BBC reported.

    “They tried to carry out an invasion by sea, a group of terrorist mercenaries from Colombia, in order to commit terrorist acts in the country, murdering leaders of the revolutionary government,” Venezuelan Interior Minister Nestor Reverol said at the time.

    Two of those involved in the sea incursion were former US Special Forces soldiers, Luke Denman and Airan Berry, who were both sentenced to 20 years in prison by a Venezuelan court for attempting to overthrow Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro as part of the failed beach attack.

    “The capture of Marines two months ago, and another one this week, indicate that it's far from being peaceful,” August said. “So, the US, [US Secretary of State Mike] Pompeo and [US President Donald] Trump, are in a difficult position and have to dance around the fact that there are obvious incursions organized by the US into Venezuela that are far from being peaceful … to blow up or destroy oil refineries in Venezuela.”

    He added that the US is “going to have to say something, because it’s in the news, there’s a lot of chat about it. But I think once again, this shows the strength of the Bolivarian Revolution. Despite the sanctions, despite the attack, despite having to deal with COVID-19 all this time with quite a bit of success, they still manage to defend themselves.”

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

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