The plight of the two former Green Berets who were caught last May trying to infiltrate and overthrow the Venezuelan dictator Nicholas Maduro continues.
In July, U.S. diplomat Bill Richardson failed to secure the release of Airan Berry and Luke Denman.
The two men had been caught on May 4 as they were attempting a daylight infiltration by fish boat into Venezuela. They were the second wave of mercenaries of the operation. The first wave, comprised of Venezuelans, had been compromised on May 3. The whole scheme to arrest Maduro was planned by Justin Goudreau, another former Special Forces operator, and his company Silvercorp USA.
The mission, titled Operation Gideon, was doomed to fail from the start as Goudreau himself had tweeted about the infiltration as the mission was taking off.
“I am glad we were able to meet with President Maduro to discuss the potential release of the American prisoners and other COVID-19 humanitarian issues,” said Richardson.
The two former Special Forces soldiers aren’t the only Americans trapped in the South American country. Gustavo Cárdenas and Jorge Toledo, two American businessmen in the oil industry, were also in jail. The Venezuelan regime recently allowed them to transfer from jail to house arrest in Caracas, the capital of Venezuela. The oil executives had been arrested for corruption allegations
“We regret that we were not able to secure the release of the Americans. Our thoughts are with the families of the six Citgo executives – Tomeu Vadell, Alirio Zambrano, Jose Luis Zambrano, Gustavo Cardenas, Jorge Toledo, and Jose Angel Pereira – as well as with former Green Berets Luke Denman and Airan Berry,” added the U.S. diplomat.
All three Green Berets served together in the Crisis Response Force (CRF) company of the 10th Special Forces Group.
Berry served in the Army from 1996 to 2013 as a Special Forces Engineer Sergeant (18C). He was assigned to the 10th Special Forces Group and completed three combat tours in Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Berry was a graduate of Ranger School and was also a Special Forces Combat Diver.
Denman served in the Army from 2006 to 2014 as a Special Forces Communications Sergeant (18E). He had one combat tour in Iraq.
Goudreau served in the Army from 2001 to 2016 as an Indirect Fire Infantryman (11C) and later as a Special Forces Medical Sergeant (18D). He had two combat deployments to Iraq and two combat deployments to Afghanistan. SOFREP has learned that Goudreau tried out for and successfully passed Delta Force’s Assessment and Selection process but was later dropped during the follow-on Operator Training Course (OTC).
Richardson is a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Secretary of Energy, and New Mexico governor.
His Center for Global Engagement, which focuses on conflict resolution and prisoner release, has managed to secure the release of Americans from various countries to include North Korea, Mexico, and Cuba. He has been nominated four times for the Nobel Peace Prize.