Maduro calls Guaido ‘fugitive from justice,’ insists on incursion link
Caracas, May 9 (efe-epa).- Venezuela’s president on Saturday called the country’s opposition leader a “fugitive from justice,” while insisting on linking him to two foiled maritime incursions early in the week.
In a meeting with Presidential Commission for the Prevention and Control of COVID-19 members, Nicolas Maduro accused Juan Guaido of signing a document with United States contractor Silvercorp, whom the Venezuelan authorities claim to have organized the failed armed incursions.
“It was already known that there was a contract, signed by the alleged, unconstitutional, illegal and failed interim government of Juan Guaido,” Maduro said on camera with public television VTV, insisting it had “Juan Gauido’s signature, deputy, fugitive from justice.”
On Sunday, Venezuela thwarted a maritime raid in the state of La Guaira, near Caracas, in which eight people were killed and another two were detained.
A day later, the Maduro government announced the detention of other 13 “mercenaries” on the coasts of Aragua state.
The detainees included US Army veterans Luke Denman and Airan Berry who in an interrogation said that they worked for Silvercorp, which is lead by former US Army veteran Jordan Goudreau. Maduro on Saturday accused Goudreau of operating under the orders of US President Donald Trump, a staunch critic of the Venezuelan leader.
Chief prosecutor Tarek Saab reported on Friday that 31 people had been detained for these events, a figure that Maduro updated to 34 when reporting three new arrests Saturday.
Saab also said his office had issued 22 arrest warrants, without giving information about whether it included one for Guaido, who is now facing four investigations by the prosecution.
Guaido, who has repeatedly denied having signed a contract with Silvercorp, responded to Maduro’s words on Twitter and posted a US Drug Enforcement Administration poster from March offering up to $15,000,000 for information that would lead to the arrest or conviction of the Venezuelan president, whom the US accuses of narco-terrorism.
On Friday, Guaido challenged Maduro to stop him and called the attempted maritime attacks a government “set-up.”
“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. EFE-EPA