Photo: Todos Ahora

Maduro Exploits the Macutazo

The epic saga of patriotic defense against American incursion carries on while people, human rights and coronavirus remain unattended

  • “Juan Guaidó prepared my political murder,” said Nicolás on Thursday afternoon, in a new issue of his endless story, this time as an interview. He also assured that James Story, U.S. chargé d’affaires, is responsible for the failed attempt of Macuto, alongside Elliott Abrams and Mike Pompeo. “And what does Donald Trump do? Reward failure,” said Nicolás, who promised to prove that the maritime incursion was an undercover operation “ordered by Donald Trump.” He also blamed the U.S. and Colombian governments again, and said that Duque lied to Trump with the figure of 300 armed men and Trump scolded him. He assured that at the moment there’s no dialogue with Washington and called Juan Guaidó “a thief, a drug dealer, capable of hiring a mercenary to murder his political adversary.” He didn’t explain why Guaidó is still free. 
  • Without mentioning the complex humanitarian emergency, the recession or hyperinflation, Nicolás focused on flattering his “surveillance system, ready for combat.” He also forgot to mention the gas shortage but said that he foresees “strengthening intelligence and counterintelligence operations to avoid the attacks ordered by Trump.” Nicolás said that the country has a defense system “in alert 24 hours a day,” which he can’t guarantee with water and electricity. Even though he’s kept quiet about key topics for this country, he once again called out Trump’s silence and considers it “an incredible reaction.” According to Nicolás, American detainees have confirmed they wanted to murder him, even though in the videos they’ve shown they speak about detaining and moving him. At the end of the interview, he said he’d be in Washington soon. 
  • Contradicting Nicolás’s version, his own Communications minister said on Thursday that the information they have is clear, the goal was to kidnap Nicolás and take him to the U.S.; Jorge Rodríguez said that the Trump administration will have trouble getting rid of the “responsibility” chavismo claims it has, even though the articles he quoted today (AP, The Washington Post, etc.), points to Jordan Goudreau being the real fraud: pathological liar, braggy, corrupt. Yesterday, AP published another piece revealing that the content on SilverCorp’s website is plagiarized from the Homeland Security Department, a crisis management firm and even MasterClass. However, Rodríguez thinks that the testimonies of the “mercenaries” shown on TV accelerate the investigation about buying weapons, contacts between Goudreau and Mike Pence and plans for American planes entering Venezuela to kidnap Nicolás. A tall tale. 
  • Jorge Rodríguez reported that they opened a new line of investigation in the case against banker Eligio Cedeño for allegedly financing the operation in Macuto: “J.J. Rendón had conversations with Eligio Cedeño where he promised to pay for the amount established in the contract.” He also showed Airan Berry’s testimony, one of the former green-berets who was captured. Berry admits he was hired by Jordan Goudreau, that he traveled to Riohacha, Colombia, in January and joined Luke Denman. He said he was welcomed by Antonio José Sequea and explained his mission was training in take-overs of buildings, streets, the airport (he didn’t say which one) to wait for planes, specific goals that also meant assassinating Nicolás. But Berry also said that his mission was preparing for taking over the Miraflores Palace, DGCIM and SEBIN headquarters and clearing runways for capturing Nicolás. He denied meeting with the DEA. It’s impressive how all the detainees have given their testimonies, as if they had memorized a script, no hesitation, no doubts. 
  • By the way, Sequea is still being accused as one of the men who tortured General Vivas at the DGCIM. We don’t know why he changed sides or if he’s one of the people who allegedly infiltrated this operation.
  • Juan José Rendón talked to Colombia’s La W Radio about Macuto and reiterated that the caretaker government had no knowledge about what was happening: “These young men who were there are part of many autonomous groups that don’t belong to Juan Guaidó’s government.” He reiterated that Goudreau presented a proposal but they decided to disregard it. “The agreement had to be perfected and many of its parts had to be redesigned. That process wasn’t satisfactory,” he said. He also called a “mockery” the attempt, because of the precarious conditions under which it was carried out. According to Rendón, contact with Goudreau “wasn’t made behind Guaidó’s back, but neither with his consent” and added Guaidó knew of meetings with at least 120 people, between diplomats and advisors. 
  • In the last 24 hours, two new cases of COVID-19 were confirmed in Venezuela, for a total of 381. Delcy Rodríguez reiterated Nueva Esparta is the state with the most cases,  97 active cases. “98% of cases are asymptomatic, while 2% present a moderate or critical condition,” she said. About the tests, she said that they’d done 502,771 (16,759 per million inhabitants). She didn’t mention the difference between rapid-response against PCR tests. 
  • There are over 3.8 million COVID-19 cases in the world, 269,564 deaths and 1.2 million recovered patients, according to Johns Hopkins University. Europe remains the area with more cases (1.62 million), closely followed by America with almost 1.6 million. Out of those, 315,000 and 17,000 deaths happened in Latin America. The U.S. has over 1.2 million cases and 75,054 deaths. Brazil has had 135,106 cases and 9,146 deaths, with a very low rate of tests and has lost more nurses than Italy and Spain. Peru has had 54,817 cases and 1,533 deaths. Colombia has had 407 deaths and the number of cases increased today by 497, one of the highest so far, for a total of 9,456 cases. 
  • Kapé Kapé, an Indigenous Civil Association, denounced the murders of two Yekuana people and one informal worker. It happened at the Bullita mining area, Salto La Puerta sector, in Bolívar. “They were ambushed by armed groups tied to illegal mining activities in the area,” says the communiqué. Violent groups have been living in their territory for seven years. 
  • BBC published an investigation explaining how Iranian airline Mahan Air contributed to spreading COVID-19, not ceasing activities. At the same time, this airline has intensified operations in Venezuela, despite being accused of transporting weapons, money and undercover agents to conflict zones. 
  • A group of 250 Venezuelans arrived from Santiago de Chile in a humanitarian flight after they lost their jobs because of the isolation measures during the pandemic. Before take off, they were tested for COVID-19 and according to regime officers, this was the ninth flight but there are still Venezuelans camped outside the embassy in Santiago. 
  • While Mike Pompeo urged Nicolás to leave power to “restore democracy” in Venezuela, he denied any participation in the operation and reminded us that Nicolás has been accused of “narcoterrorism” in the U.S.; Jorge Arreaza said that the world should react against “the barbaric acts of the U.S.” against chavismo. James Story said that the reason why the American government hasn’t broadly discussed the events in Macuto is because they don’t have all the information “and we’ll always make sure that we have information before we say anything.” Story emphasized that neither Colombia, the U.S. or Juan Guaidó’s caretaker government were involved in Operation Gedeón.

Naky Soto

Naky gets called Naibet at home and at the bank. She coordinates training programs for an NGO. She collects moments and turns them into words. She has more stories than freckles.