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2 Guaidó allies resign after failed military incursion against Maduro

Opposition leader Juan Guaido, left, and president of Venezuela Nicolas Maduro. (Yuri Cortez/AFP/Getty Images/TNS)

Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó on Monday accepted the resignation of political adviser Juan José Rendón, who was involved in the hiring of the former U.S. Green Beret who orchestrated the failed military mission against the Nicolás Maduro regime.

Rendón submitted his resignation along with opposition deputy Sergio Vergara. Both men were part of a presidential commission in charge of developing a strategy to put an end to Maduro’s regime.

“President Juan Guaidó accepted the resignation of the officials and thanked them for their dedication and commitment to Venezuela,” the office of the interim presidency said in a brief press release. Guaidó has declared himself interim president.

“Rendón and Vergara ratified their support for the democratic cause to President Juan Guaidó and urged all national and international sectors to strengthen their support to the interim president and to the need of setting up a government of National Emergency as the only real way of saving Venezuela from an unprecedented catastrophe,” it added.

Rendón, who lives in Miami, was a key player in hiring Silvercorp, a private security firm owned by former Green Beret Jordan Goudreau, to organize an operation to capture Maduro and key members of his regime and fly them to the United States to face drug charges.

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According to news reports, a number of the contract negotiations were held at the Miami luxury condominium of the political adviser, who admitted having signed a preliminary agreement with Goudreau and to making at least a $50,000 payment to Silvercorp.

Rendón, however, said that the final agreement was not signed and that the plan had been abandoned, implying that Goudreau launched the beginning of what was called Operation Gideon on his own without Guaidó’s approval.

In his letter of resignation, Rendón said that information leaked to the press has been distorted and that the presidential commission that he headed never approved of violent means to overthrow Maduro.

“It has never been the interest of the commission, or of any of its members, to participate in violent activities, and even less in illegal activities, linked to individuals wanted by the law and with charges pending in a number of countries,” Rendón said in the statement.

“The distortion and the handling of the preliminary documents are a coarse manipulation on the part of the regime in its efforts to manufacture an epic (story) to gain breathing space given that it knows itself to be in a hopeless situation,” he added.

Guaidó, deemed as Venezuela’s legitimate president by the United States and close to 60 other nations, has denied having links to Silvercorp at a time when the regime is searching for former military personnel it suspects of having participated in the May 3 insurgency.

Sources with knowledge of the operation, nevertheless, confirmed to el Nuevo Herald that Guaidó had at least been fully briefed on the operation, while documents published as part of a Washington Post investigation show that the interim president signed at least one of the contracts with Silvercorp.

The failed military incursion sought to capture Maduro and key members of the regime accused by the U.S. Department of Justice of heading the drug trafficking organization known as the Cartel de Los Soles.

It was supposed to be the opening act of a $212 million one-year security contract in which Silvercorp would help defend the new coming interim government from Colombian guerrillas as well as paramilitary bands close to the regime known as colectivos.

The failed incursion, which began with a fast-boat landing at a beach town north of Caracas, was easily put down by the regime, which managed to infiltrate the movement. At least eight former Venezuelan soldiers have been killed and a dozen others have been arrested. Among those captured are two former U.S. soldiers linked to Silvercorp.

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© 2020 Miami Herald

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.