Guaidó’s Contract on Venezuela’s President Mirrors Trump Administration Bounty

The self-declared interim president’s leaked contract with mercenary firm Silvercorp USA targets in common with a DEA hit list, Alan MacLeod reports. 

By Alan MacLeod
The Grayzone

Juan Guaidó was expecting to be in Venezuela’s presidential palace by now. But the comically bungled May 3 invasion attempt by U.S. mercenaries and opposition members was the latest indication of the desperate measures he and his cronies have resorted to.

The fighters hired under Guaido’s name were immediately overpowered in the sleepy coastal village of Chuao by disgruntled members of the House of Socialist Fishermen, and some of the highly trained mercenaries appeared to literally wet themselves in terror when apprehended.

Now, a 41-page contract outlining the details and conditions of the coup attempt has been leaked. It sheds new light on what the arrangement between Guaidó and Silvercorp, the U.S. private security firm he hired. The self-declared interim president of Venezuela promised to pay Jordan Goudreau, founder of the Florida-based firm, $212.9 million to capture, detain, or “remove” President Nicolas Maduro and install him in his place.

The contract goes into detail about who the mercenaries were allowed to engage in “kinetic strikes” (i.e., assassinate and kill). It first names a number of paramilitary organizations like the Colombian FARC, and bizarrely, Hezbollah. But also on the list are a number of “illegitimate Venezuelan forces,” that include any armed supporters of Maduro and Constituent Assembly President Diosdado Cabello.

Maduro and Cabello happen to be the same figures placed at the top of a US Drug Enforcement Administration hit list. The U.S. government offered $15 million and $10 million respectively for their capture, effectively putting a bounty on the heads of the elected president and the top member of his country’s main legislative body.

The contract signed by Guaidó and Silvercorp also enables the killing of anyone they deem to be “armed and violent colectivos.” For a sector of Venezuela’s upper-class opposition, the term “colectivo” is a dehumanizing, oft-used catch-all term applied to any working-class person. 

Trade unionists, pro-government protestors, even anyone riding a motorcycle is presumed to be part of an armed and dangerous gang in the lurid fantasies of the light-skinned elitists of Eastern Caracas. Therefore, the contract essentially permits Silvercorp to kill any member of the government’s popular support base with impunity. 

A New Death Squad

Perhaps more worrying, however, is what Silvercorp envisaged its role to be after a successful coup. 

The contract stipulates that the mercenary organization would “convert to a National Asset Unit that will act under the direction of the [Guaidó] Administration to counter threats to government stability, terror threats and work closely” with other security forces. 

Their missions would include, but not be limited to, surveillance, covert operations, and target programming. 

In other words, Silvercorp would transform into a private paramilitary squad answerable only to Guaidó, crushing any opposition to his dictatorship, in much the same way death squads in Colombia and other Latin American countries have operated for decades. 

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The US Connection

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo recently announced his plans for “restoring democracy” in the country were “gaining momentum,” and predicted that we would very soon see a change in government. 

Other regime-change planners like John Bolton, President Donald Trump’s former national security adviser, spent the weekend not-so-cryptically tweeting that a coup was about to happen. 

The DEA bounty on Maduro and Cabello closely aligned with the Guaido-Silvercorp contract, including the obsession with killing or capturing those two individuals specifically, and the incessant rhetoric about drug traffickers. (In reality, drug trafficking is far less present in Venezuela than in U.S.-aligned neighboring states such as Colombia and Ecuador, as official U.S. reports concede.)

In the days ahead of the botched Silvercorp invasion, Trump ordered the Navy to deploy and sail to Venezuela, supposedly to counter the barely existing flow of drugs. 

The contract also specifically states that the commander of the operation may use AC-130 and Predator drones. These weapons platforms are deployed almost exclusively by the U.S. military, raising yet more questions. Did they simply copy some existing U.S. documents, or were they expecting reinforcements?

In the wake of the failure, Pompeo issued an extremely half-hearted denial, claiming only that, “there was no U.S. government direct involvement” in the bungled operation. The secretary of state confirmed that he was aware who funded it, promising to “unpack” that information later.

Honor Among Thieves

A review of the document suggests a sense that Goudreau saw Guaidó as a sucker to be fleeced. Despite charging nearly a quarter-billion dollars for possibly a day’s work, Silvercorp also inserted a myriad of costly risers and clauses, including a $10 million bonus for a successful mission. The mercenaries added interest on payments, and a 10 percent (therefore, over $20 million) administrative fee on all transactions. 

However, it seems the U.S. mercs wound up being the suckers, as Goudreau admitted that Guaidó has not transferred even a penny, not even the retainer fee, to him since October. “They kept promising to pay, week after week,” Goudreau told a Spanish-language TV station. 

Guaidó is infamous for being untrustworthy with money, and has been widely accused of embezzling tens of millions of U.S. aid funds. Why go ahead with such a dangerous mission? Perhaps he was blinded by the prospect of a massive payday, collecting bounties from both the DEA and from Guaidó’s team. 

While charging hundreds of millions of dollars, Goudreau was also short-changing his own employees, promising to pay the now-detained American mercenaries only between $50,000 and $100,000 to risk their lives for the operation, all while he stayed at his Florida home. It remains unclear who was the biggest chump in the bungled operation: Guaidó, Goudreau, or his naïve accomplices.

Official Denial

In an interview on CNN, the Miami-based right-wing Latin American political consultant J.J. Rendon confirmed the contract was genuine. 

For his part, Guaidó is now insisting that the entire project was a government false flag operation. “Nobody believes your lies,” he said to Maduro via Twitter. 

However, Guaidó’s political currency continues to decline. A poll this January by an anti-Maduro firm showed his approval rating had slipped around 20 points since April 2019. Days later, Guaidó refused to relinquish his leadership role after his year in office expired, staging an embarrassing and much mocked publicity stunt in which he tried and failed to climb the fence surrounding the National Assembly building

Guaidó later “resigned” from his own party, choosing to jump before he was pushed. In the midst of his national embarrassment, he left the country to be a guest of honor at Trump’s State of the Union speech in February, where he received a bipartisan standing ovation.

While Guaidó travels the world lobbying for sanctions, and oversees coups and terror operations at home in an attempt to achieve power through decidedly undemocratic means, he has yet to be arrested by Venezuela’s government. 

But as his latest embarrassing failure showed, one of the most potent weapons against the opposition might be the buffoonish acts Guaidó routinely commits as a free man.

Alan MacLeod is an academic and journalist. He is a staff writer at Mintpress News and a contributor to Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR). He is the author of Bad News From Venezuela: Twenty Years of Fake News and Misreporting.”

This article is from The Grayzone.

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15 comments for “Guaidó’s Contract on Venezuela’s President Mirrors Trump Administration Bounty

  1. Tomonthebeach
    May 14, 2020 at 23:11

    From where did the $212 million dollar contract payout come? US taxpayers – Columbian Drug Lords? Guaido’s personal fortune? This is the only question that needs to be answered for people to puzzle out if the US really was behind this trainwreck. Too bad we are still in the dark.

  2. Dave
    May 14, 2020 at 19:12

    Why hasn’t Guaido been arrested? Because thats precisely the provocation the US is looking for. He best left to his ineptness and freedom. Never interupt your enemy while hes screwing everything he does up.

  3. John Drake
    May 14, 2020 at 19:06

    For not getting a hefty deposit before this operation Mr. Goudreau apparently shows similar business acumen as Donald Trump. The latter genius has had four bankruptcies and fourteen business failures; and all that before his turning the US into an slow motion train wreck.

    Really, if this were part of a novel, no one would believe it possible; but this is the Trump era, an era that makes H.G. Wells’ 1984 look like an understatement; and Alice in Wonderland like reality tv.

  4. Tim S.
    May 14, 2020 at 06:04

    It has now been baptized appropriately the “Bay of Piglets invasion”. Marx, as usual, had a word for it:

    “Hegel remarks somewhere that all great world-historic facts and personages appear, so to speak, twice. He forgot to add: the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce.”

    Reports from the region say that the Venezuelan security forces had infiltrated the right-wing rebels, knew all about their plans in advance, and were waiting for them.

  5. Frigga Karl
    May 13, 2020 at 21:24

    the story is too beautiful with all its details: Socialist fishermen captured the highly trained US mercenaries ( photo !) Pompeo so very sure asked to reopen the Venezuelan Ambassade in Washington DC and why not also the US flag over the Miraflores building in Caracas in the run up ! Viva la revolucion Bolivariana and its representative Nicolas Maduro ! Venezuelan people you are the best !

  6. Bogdan Katz
    May 13, 2020 at 18:28

    House of Socialist Fishermen? Anyone knows what exactly is that? Google wasnt very helpful.
    Also would be nice to know why they were “disgruntled”.
    It seems like a very small force was sent to fulfill a large scale mission, this is rather odd.
    It seems some US intelligence/government officials knew about it but for some mysterious reason they decided not to step in with help for the small gang of criminals that were sent in.
    This article seems to be missing important information that would help make some sense of all this.

    Dont get me wrong i detest Guaido and the United States global banditry, but this article feels incomplete, and leaves some questions (like the ones i posted above) unanswered.

    In this day and age where information is twisted beyond recognition, please forgive me for taking everything with a grain of salt.

    • T
      May 14, 2020 at 06:14

      > House of Socialist Fishermen? Anyone knows what exactly is that?

      According to reports from the region, the Venezuelan security forces were actually lying in wait for them, and even had Russian Speznaz specialists advising them on monitoring the coast, because they already knew about the plot.

      > It seems some US intelligence/government officials knew about it but for some mysterious reason they decided not to step in

      According to those same reports, the CIA and Pentagon apparently suspected that the plot was known, and tried to convince the plotters at the last minute to abandon their plans, but the mercenaries and gusanos went ahead anyway.

    • Bogdan Katz
      May 15, 2020 at 14:11

      Thank you Mr. T
      Now it makes more sense.

  7. TimN
    May 13, 2020 at 14:48

    Because that will give the totalitarian lunatics like Pompeo full licence to simply invade and destroy Venezuela to “rescue” Guaido. Guaido is an idiot. Better to have him continue ineptly as he has than to empower his backers in the US.

  8. scott bush
    May 13, 2020 at 13:57

    There Always Will Be Another Day!

  9. May 13, 2020 at 12:30

    Some question about faith in US. I answer: `It is dead.` It died with USA`s invasion of in Iran, brought Shah (in 1953.) This is why Khomeini established the Rev Colt, which is now problem for nation and elsewhere. It was such that made Che, which got worse when US killed him in the Valle Grande.

  10. rosemerry
    May 13, 2020 at 10:35

    Twenty years of plotting, robbery, violence, destruction of Venezuela’s industry, poisoning of the media with non-stop lies while Hugo Chavez and then Maduro did so much to improve the lives of Venezuelans seem not to be enough for the USA. Whatever is done in Venezuela is described as because of “socialism”, and the outstanding benefits for the mass of the people, downtrodden by decades/centuries of US domination like the rest of Latin America, were ignored or belittled. The cruel economic “sanctions”, hardened by Obama and of course exacerbated by Trump, led to thousands of deaths, economic disaster for the country and for President Maduro, who was then blamed. The USA has had 60 years of practice with Cuba, fearing the ‘threat of a good example” if Cuba succeeded despite the vicious treatment nearly every nation on earth has consistently voted against in the UN. Is this the work of a great, worthwhile nation? This is just a continuation of its shameful pretence of leading the world.

  11. Jeff Harrison
    May 13, 2020 at 10:31

    ROTFLMAO. Not only has the US and it’s henchmen become overweening, they have become inept.

  12. May 13, 2020 at 09:00

    Yes, and what a proud set of activities America has engaged in.

    Blockading poor people, severely sanctioning poor people, threatening, stealing the country’s national assets, and even turning off the fridges of millions several times.

    And supporting a man like Guaidó who represents everything democratic government should not be.

    Guaidó is so ineffective and such a lowlife that the elected government of the country can actually benefit by leaving him free, as opposed to charging him with treason, something he is plainly guilty of.

  13. steve
    May 13, 2020 at 08:26

    If the Venezuelan Government believes the Silvercorp contract with Guaidó is genuine then why hasn’t he been arrested for sedition and treason?

Comments are closed.