Venezuela Captures Two U.S. Citizens in Failed Boat Raid

Objects allegedly seized in the failed raid: a pickaxe, identification cards and a prominently-displayed U.S. flag patch. Image courtesy Comando Logístico del Ejército Bolivariano.

Published May 5, 2020 8:28 PM by The Maritime Executive

The Venezuelan government said Monday that its forces have arrested two U.S. citizens who allegedly made a beach landing raid in an attempt to capture President Nicolas Maduro, the nation's controversial socialist leader. 

In a televised address, Maduro named the two captives as Airan Berry, 41 and Luke Denman, 34, describing them as members of the American security apparatus. He accused the governments of the United States and Colombia of having involvement in the raid. His attorney general, Tarek William Saab, asserted that opposition leader Juan Guaido had hired the men for the raid. 

A third operative, Jordan Goudreau, asserted in a social media video Sunday that he, Denman and Berry had been working to capture Maduro, and that Guaido's organization supported the effort. In the video post, he asserted that the operation involved about 60 troops, and said that “our men are continuing to fight right now."

Guaido's movement has denied any involvement, and in a press conference Monday, U.S. President Donald Trump also denied any knowledge. "We'll find out, we just heard about it," he said. "But whatever it is, we'll let you know. But it has nothing to do with our government."

Maduro's forces claimed to have seized a fishing boat that carried the men ashore, along with night-vision goggles, two machine guns, ten rifles and communications gear. "These terrorists tried to enter [using] speedboats along the coast of La Guaira state," claimed Venezuelan interior minister Néstor Reverol in a televised appearance. His offices said that eight other men were killed in the operation.


Images courtesy Comando Logístico del Ejército Bolivariano. Caption: "Once again, the U.S. empire, the Colombian oligarchy and the Venezuelan opposition fascists are wrong about the people of Venezuela . . . sending an incursion force with the intentions of staining the homeland. Venezuela does not surrender and we are going to defend it."