On Sunday 3 May, the government of Nicolas Maduro announced Venezuela’s armed forces had repelled an armed incursion. Operation Gideon was a deeply flawed coup attempt. But what would compel exiled Venezuelans and former US Special Forces soldiers to join a plan that, from the outset, looked like a suicide mission?
It is a story that leaps straight out of a 20th Century playbook of Latin American conspiracies.
“It made the Bay of Pigs look like D-Day,” quipped one commentator, referring to the failed US-financed invasion of Fidel Castro’s Cuba in 1961. Operation Gideon is a staggering tale of hubris, incompetence and treachery. Eight men were killed by Venezuela’s armed forces off the coastal town of Macuto. Dozens of others were captured and remain in jail in Caracas. Less than a handful escaped. And coinciding with the height of the coronavirus pandemic, it largely went unnoticed outside the Americas.
At the heart of the failed mission was a former US Special Forces soldier, Jordan Goudreau.