The U.S. will use “every tool” at its disposal to repatriate the two American citizens captured by Venezuelan narco-dictator Nicolás Maduro for allegedly participating in a failed attempt to overthrow the socialist leader, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo declared on Wednesday.
“If we had been involved, it would have gone differently,” Pompeo told reporters, denying U.S. government involvement in the failed so-called coup attempt.
“If the Maduro regime decides to hold them, we’ll use every tool that we have available to try and get them back. It’s our responsibility to do so,” he said of the two captured individuals, adding:
We’re going to work on this. It’s a consular matter in the sense of any time there are Americans that are detained someplace, we’ll work to get them back. We will start the process of trying to figure a way if, in fact, these are Americans that are there, that we can figure a path forward. We want to get every American back.
Although the United States has said that a military option is on the table to remove Maduro, U.S. President Donald Trump and members of his administration, including Defense Secretary Mark Esper, denied any involvement in the beach incident Maduro claimed was a failed invasion aimed at overthrowing him.
“As for who bankrolled [the operation], we’re not prepared to share any more information about what we know took place,” Pompeo said. “We’ll unpack that at an appropriate time.”
The United States and dozens of other countries have come out in support of President Juan Guaidó’s legitimate claim as head of state in Venezuela. Constitutionally, Maduro’s term as president ended in January 2019. As he refused to step down, the national legislature used its enumerated powers to grant Guaidó an interim presidency until he can organize free and fair elections.
In March, the Department of Justice (DOJ) indicted Maduro on narco-terrorism, corruption, drug trafficking, and other criminal charges. The U.S. is offering up to $15 million for information leading to the arrest of the socialist terrorist.
On Monday, Maduro brandished passports allegedly belonging to the two detained men, whom Maduro identified as Americans Airan Berry and Luke Denman. He accused them of playing “Rambo” in a failed attack intended to remove him from power.
Venezuelan security forces reportedly arrested dozens of people, including the two Americans, after the failed beach invasion. Maduro accused Guaidó and the governments of the United States and Colombia of being behind the plot.
Representatives for Guaidó denied any involvement.
Jordan Goudreau, an alleged former U.S. Army Green Beret who runs the Florida-based security company Silvercorp USA, claimed responsibility for the failed effort, dubbed Operation Gideon.
Goudreau reportedly identified the captured Americans as fellow Green Berets.
Citing current and former U.S. law enforcement officials on Wednesday, the Associated Press (AP) reported that Goudreau is under federal investigation in the United States for arms trafficking.
Echoing AP, Joseph Humire, an expert on the Western Hemisphere and executive director of the Center for a Secure Free Society (SFS) think tank, told Breitbart News the real ringleader of the operation is Cliver Alcalá.
Alcalá is a retired major general in Venezuela’s army. The United States has been holding him in prison on narcotics charges since late March. Alcalá is a prominent Venezuelan army deserter linked to Guaidó.