Thursday June 30, 2022

3 more arrests in Venezuela 'invasion' probe

May 11, 2020

CARACAS: Three alleged mercenaries were arrested Saturday in connection with the attempted invasion of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro said, bringing the total captured to 34.

"We have captured three more mercenaries today... We have been meticulously looking for all those involved and we are going to capture them all," Maduro announced during a television address.

The failed invasion -- which Venezuela´s leader has compared to the Bay of Pigs incident in 1961 -- saw men landing in early May at Macuto, less than an hour from Caracas. Two former US soldiers, Luke Denman, 34, and Airan Berry, 41, have been imprisoned and charged with "terrorism, conspiracy, illicit trafficking of weapons of war and (criminal) association." They could face between 25 to 30 years in prison.

The others implicated in the case are Venezuelans. Maduro´s government claims the plan was to remove him from power, allowing opposition leader Juan Guiado -- recognised as the interim president by the United States and a number of other nations -- to take control.

Maduro reiterated that he believes US President Donald Trump was involved in the operation, with Guiado as his accomplice. Trump has strongly denied the accusations. And despite Maduro´s accusations against Guaido, he has not been charged with anything.