Two Guaido advisors resign over Venezuela 'invasion' accusations
May 12 2020 05:26 PM
Guaido thanked Rendon and Sergio Vergara for their "dedication and commitment to Venezuela"
Guaido thanked Rendon and Sergio Vergara for their "dedication and commitment to Venezuela"

Reuters/ Caracas

Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido has accepted the resignation of his Miami-based adviser Juan Rendon, his press team said, after Rendon acknowledged discussions with a US security firm to topple President Nicolas Maduro.

Guaido thanked Rendon and another exiled lawmaker, Sergio Vergara, who also resigned from the opposition's "crisis strategy commission," for their "dedication and commitment to Venezuela," without giving a reason for the decision.

Rendon has said that while he negotiated an exploratory agreement with Florida's Silvercorp USA late last year, he cut ties with the firm's chief executive, Jordan Goudreau, in November.

Goudreau, Rendon said, then went ahead with an operation led by two ex-US soldiers to capture Maduro.

The plot failed and Venezuelan authorities said security forces killed eight members during one May 3 incursion attempt and arrested a dozen more, including the two US citizens, the following day.

Guaido has denied any involvement in the bungled invasion.

But it has raised doubts about his leadership some 16 months since he first declared a rival presidency and denounced Maduro as a usurper who had overseen a six-year economic collapse.

In the statement, Guaido's press team said Rendon and Vergara "ratified their support for the democratic cause...and called for all national and international sectors to reinforce their support for the interim president."

Rendon and Vergara confirmed their resignations in public letters.

In his resignation letter, Rendon accused Maduro's government of "misrepresentation" regarding the contract, describing it as a "coarse manipulation" designed to "weave an epic to give it respite" from criticism over the country's economic collapse.

Guaido has called the contract "false," and on Friday said the regime was looking for "excuses" to arrest him.

So far, the public prosecutor has not issued an arrest warrant against Guaido.

Rendon said the commission had never been interested in "participating in violent activities," while Vergada said he had not been aware of the so-called Operation Gideon.

Goudreau, in media interviews, has confirmed his role organising the incursion.

On Friday, Venezuela's chief prosecutor Tarek Saab said his office had requested the extradition of Goudreau, Rendon and Vergara for their involvement in the "design, financing, and execution" of the plan.

In addition to the US, Caracas attributes the coup plot to Colombia. Three Colombian abandoned light combat vessels were seized by Venezuela on the weekend.

Colombia's navy said the boats were dragged away by currents.

It was unclear how Bogota would request the return of the vessels, given that it does not recognise the Maduro government.

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