Caracas, May 8 (efe-epa).- Venezuela’s opposition leader Juan Guaido on Friday sidestepped addressing an agreement between one of his top advisers and United States contractor Sillvercorp, which the government accuses of being linked to the two recent failed maritime incursions, while challenging President Nicolas Maduro to detain him if he was, “brave enough.”
“They invent new excuses to continue the persecution, to stop me. But I am telling you something very clearly: Maduro, if you are brave enough, go ahead,” Guaido said in messages on his social media late Friday after several days of silence.
Regarding the attempted maritime incursions that took place on Sunday and Monday, Guaido said that Maduro created a “false positive” and added that the regime “not just planted weapons and false evidence,” but also went to the extreme of “killing Venezuelans and using their lifeless bodies to make up a story.”
However, he did not comment on the government allegations that he signed a contract with Silvercorp to carry out the two failed attacks in which eight people were killed.
One of Guaido’s most prominent advisers, Juan Jose Rendon revealed on Tuesday that he had signed an “exploratory” agreement with US contractor Silvercorp. Rendon added that Guaido did not sign the agreement and that the firm did not receive the “green light” for the operation in Venezuela.
The opposition leader said that the government had acknowledged its infiltration of Operation Gideon – the name given to the failed maritime incursions – and asked: “Why did they allow them to enter Venezuelan territory?”
In his opinion, it was because the authorities “wanted to kill and apprehend Venezuelans who were in exile, justify more repression. They made excuses to continue killing Venezuelans.”
On Sunday, the Maduro government thwarted a maritime raid in the state of La Guaira, near Caracas, in which eight people were killed and another two were detained.
The next day the authorities stopped another attempt, this time on the coast of the state of Aragua, about two hours from Caracas, in which 13 more were detained, including US Army veterans linked to Silvercorp, Luke Denman and Airan Berry.
On Friday, Venezuela’s chief prosecutor Tarek Saab raised the number of detainees to 31 after several arrests and subsequent raids.
“This bloody show armed by the dictatorship will not be able to stop the strong popular discontent, the crisis brimming in Venezuela, and the great discontent that exists within the National Armed Forces,” Guaido said.
He insisted that the regime “does not need excuses to continue persecuting” its detractors as in Venezuela “there is no rule of law” and the opposition does not need “foreign mercenaries” as there was “enough discontent among the people of the country.”
Guaido, who is recognized by almost 60 countries as interim president, also called for “defending and demanding respect for human rights of the detainees.”
He argued that there cannot be another “Oscar Perez, Fernando Alban and Costa Arevalos,” recalling some of the cases of opponents killed in clashes with the state’s security forces or in their custody. EFE-EPA