Venezuelan Defence Minister Vladimir Padrino Lopez announced on Friday that the nation's military had arrested two more people involved in Sunday’s boat incursion aiming to overthrow Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.
The official said that the two individuals were captured in the mountainous sector south of the port city of Puerto Cruz, Anzoategui State, Venezuela, questioning where were "your political bosses who paid for this incursion?”.
“We are looking for you and you CANNOT BE HIDDEN! We have captured two mercenaries in the mountainous sector south of Puerto Cruz and we are going for more,” Padrino Lopez tweeted, sharing a photo of the two captured mercenaries. “Where are your political bosses who paid for this incursion?”
Los estamos buscando y ¡NO PODRÁN ESCONDERSE! Hemos capturado dos mercenarios en el sector montañoso al sur de Puerto Cruz y vamos por más. ¿Dónde estarán sus jefes políticos pagadores de esta incursión? pic.twitter.com/vC5Rc2OnxJ— Vladimir Padrino L. (@vladimirpadrino) May 8, 2020
On 3 May, the Venezuelan military arrested 13 people involved in an attempted armed naval raid on the country with two - Luke Denman and Airan Berry - described by Maduro as US nationals. Both Denman and Berry confessed on Venezuelan TV that they worked for a private security company called Silvercorp and sought to kidnap Maduro.
Following the invasion attempt, Silvercorp founder Jordan Goudreau, a former US Green Beret, acknowledged his group's involvement in the botched sea incursion, and claimed that his company had signed an eight-page contract with Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido. Denman and Berry later showed on Venezuelan TV what they described as a contract between them, Goudreau and Guaido.
Guaido's representatives quickly refuted any connection between the opposition leader and the attempted incursion.
The Trump administration denied its involvement in the mercenary plot, with the president telling reporters on Tuesday that the arrest of the two US citizens allegedly involved “has nothing to do with our government”, although the US State Department has offered hefty cash rewards for the delivery to the US of Maduro and several of his advisers under drug trafficking allegations.
On Friday, the White House National Security Council said the US “had nothing to do” with the mercenary incursion into Venezuela, insisting that Washington remains focused on a “peaceful transition” of power in the South American country.
Colombia also dismissed any connection to the recent events alleged in Venezuela.
In 2019, Guaido, who is supported by the Trump administration after proclaiming himself an "interim president", called on the Venezuelan military to join him in ousting the elected president. His coup attempt failed at the time.