Congress must demand answers about the Venezuela raid.

Two Americans, ex-Green Berets, were captured in an attempted raid and terror plot in Venezuela. The Trump administration’s fingerprints are all over this, but almost nobody in Congress is asking questions.

I am writing to express alarm over the attempted raid and terror plot in Venezuela on May 3, in which two Americans, both former Green Berets, were captured. The details surrounding this attack are troubling, particularly as they seem to implicate Venezuelan opposition leader, and self-anointed “interim president” of Venezuela, Juan Guaidó.

Senators Chris Murphy, Tim Kaine and Tom Udal have written to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Attorney General William Barr and Acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell to request answers. I urge you and your colleagues in the House of Representatives to do the same.

The Senators asked the following questions:

  • Was the administration aware, either directly or through the Venezuelan or Colombian government, of the plans by Jordan Goudreau to instigate an armed attack inside Venezuela, and of his communication with advisors to Juan Guaidó in Miami?
  • If the administration was aware of Goudreau’s plans, did you take any steps to prevent it from moving forward? Did the U.S. government provide, directly or indirectly, any financial, material, training, intelligence, or other kinds of support to this operation?
  • Goudreau has claimed that he is aware of additional forces in and around Venezuela ready to be activated as part of his effort to oust Maduro; what is the intelligence community’s assessment of the extent of his operation?
    What steps is the administration taking to secure the release of the two American citizens that have been captured by Maduro’s forces during the attack?
  • Does the intelligence community assess the contract that Goudreau claims was signed by Juan Guaidó, or members of his “Strategic Committee,” is legitimate? If so, were steps taken to ensure that U.S. funds were not implicated in this contract?
    Has the U.S. government ever provided, directly or indirectly, financial, material, training, intelligence, or any other type of assistance to opposition-aligned actors seeking to carry out an armed operation in Venezuelan territory?

It should be noted that the answer to the last question is obviously “yes.” Juan Guaidó, who has the political, financial and logistical support of the Trump administration, attempted an armed operation in Venezuela on April 30, 2019.

I suggest asking these questions as well:

  • What steps is the administration taking, whether direct or indirect, to promote dialogue within Venezuela?
  • Given that this plot was allegedly launched from Colombia, what is the intelligence community’s assessment regarding whether the Colombian government was aware of, or played a role in, the operation?
  • Given that current policy towards Venezuela includes sanctions that have devastated the Veneuzelan people, as well as a naval deployment that significantly increases the possibilities of a military conflict while achieving none of its stated objectives, is the administration considering changing its policy?

The Venezuelan people deserve to live in peace and to have economic stability.The political and economic crisis in Venezuela cannot be solved through sanctions, threats, covert operations or force. I urge Congress to press for dialogue between the U.S. government and the government of President Nicolás Maduro, as well as for dialogue inside Venezuela.

Sincerely,

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