update: President Trump has addressed the bizarre headline-grabbing development which has jolted Venezuela back center-stage in the news and in Washington.
REPORTER: What happened in Venezuela, sir? Apparently a couple of Americans were detained.— JM Rieger (@RiegerReport) May 5, 2020
TRUMP: … Nothing to do with our government, but I just got information on that. … We just heard about it. But whatever it is, we’ll let you know.
Read more: https://t.co/sR9q1M3Jhc pic.twitter.com/x0zg5hxY4i
On Tuesday afternoon Trump told reporters at the White House he had no knowledge or involvement in the latest failed plot to oust Nicolas Maduro, which resulted in the capture and detention of two American former special forces soldiers - dubbed "mercenaries" by Maduro - who were involved in an apparent 'invasion' from the sea, likely launched out of neighboring Colombia. Per the AFP:
President Donald Trump denies US government involvement in what Venezuela’s president says was an attempted overthrow in which two Americans were arrested.
“It has nothing to do with our government,” Trump tells reporters at the White House.
Two Americans identified as Luke Denman, 34, and Airan Berry, 41, are still reportedly in Venezuelan detention and have been paraded in front of state TV.
Maduro has since accused both Trump and Colombian President Ivan Duque of being behind the plot, the AFP reports further.
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An astounding and unexpected development which is about to launch US regime change efforts in Venezuela straight back into the headlines. The Maduro government says it has captured two Americans who were leading a 'Rambo-style' armed coup effort. CNN reports:
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro says two American "mercenaries" have been apprehended after a failed coup attempt launched over the weekend.
In a live address on state television late Monday, Maduro brandished what he claimed were the US passports and drivers licenses of the two men, along with what he said were their ID cards for Silvercorp, a Florida-based security services company.
Silvercorp, it must be remembered from our reporting days ago based on the Associated Press, is a Flordia-based private security firm founded by a former Green Beret soldier who hooked up with Venezuelan military officer defectors for a half-baked 'armed invasion' of the socialist country in order to overthrow Maduro.
Airing photos of the men on state television, Maduro further described the pair were playing "Rambo" illegally in his country. And further:
Footage posted on Maduro's official Twitter account shows several unidentifiable men in a boat with their hands in the air and a helicopter overhead. The men in the boat were not identifiable in one video, but a separate photo more clearly depicted two men who Maduro claimed were American.
One of the now detained men apparently even had a US military ID on him:
My bro, who takes their fucking mil ID card with them on a merc job to dispose of a foreign government? https://t.co/uN0Y5a8Dh7— Jack Murphy (@JackMurphyRGR) May 5, 2020
It total Maduro said 13 “terrorists” had been captured by authorities in connection with a bid to invade the country and stoke insurrection on Sunday.
Maduro paraded what were described as passports and other identification cards of Airan Berry and Luke Denman, described as employees of Silvercorp.
President Maduro said Venezuela has detained two American citizens working with a U.S. military veteran allegedly involved in a plot to enter the South American country and oust him https://t.co/0ngHr7dQV6 pic.twitter.com/mm5nsiQLu7— Reuters (@Reuters) May 5, 2020
Crucially, the family of one of the detained Americans has confirmed to the AP on Tuesday he is currently missing.
Per the NY Times: "Kay Denman, the mother of one of the captured Americans, told The Associated Press that the last time she heard from her son was a few weeks ago when he texted her from an undisclosed location to ask how she was coping with the coronavirus pandemic. She said she never heard her son discuss Venezuela and only learned of his possible capture there after his friends called when they saw the reports on social media."