Iran warns US not to interfere with tankers carrying fuel to Venezuela

Hassan Rouhani makes remark in phone conversation with emir of Qatar as flotilla of five tankers approaches the Caribbean

The Iranian president, Hassan Rouhani, warned on Saturday of retaliatory measures against the US if Washington causes problems for tankers carrying Iranian fuel to Venezuela.

“If our tankers in the Caribbean or anywhere in the world face trouble caused by the Americans, they [the US] will also be in trouble,” Rouhani said in a telephone conversation with the emir of Qatar, the semi-official news agency Mehr reported.

Continue reading…

Venezuela in bid to force Bank of England to transfer $1bn of gold

Legal claim launched to help fund Covid-19 response in South American country

Venezuela’s central bank has made a legal claim to try to force the Bank of England to hand over £930m ($1.13bn) of gold so the government of Nicolás Maduro can fund its coronavirus response, according to the document submitted in a London court.

The claim follows a request Venezuela made to the Bank in April to sell part of its gold reserves there and send the proceeds to the United Nations to help with the country’s coronavirus-fighting efforts.

Continue reading…

How an audacious coup attempt in Venezuela backfired

An attempt earlier this month to remove Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro from power ended in farcical failure as a seaborne invading force was captured easily following a series of mishaps. World affairs editor Julian Borger tells the bizarre story

This episode first aired on Today in Focus, the Guardian’s global daily news podcast made by the Guardian team in London.

It will go down as one of the least successful attempts to overthrow a government in modern history. The audacious plan by a former US army staff sergeant, Jordan Goudreau, to invade Venezuela by sea and capture Nicolás Maduro ended in a fiasco. The invading force, including two Americans, was quickly captured, with the deaths of eight men. The Associated Press had already published the plan for the invasion, the chief funders had withdrawn from the scheme and disowned it and the men were only lightly armed. Many were wearing shorts and T-shirts and suffering from seasickness.

Continue reading…

Farce and tragedy: how an audacious coup attempt in Venezuela backfired – podcast

An attempt earlier this month to remove Nicolás Maduro from power ended in farcical failure as a seaborne invading force was captured easily following a series of mishaps. World affairs editor Julian Borger tells the bizarre story

It will go down as one of the least successful attempts to overthrow a government in modern history. The audacious plan by a former US army staff sergeant, Jordan Goudreau, to invade Venezuela by sea and capture Nicolás Maduro ended in a fiasco. The invading force, including two Americans, was quickly captured, with the deaths of eight men. The Associated Press had already published the plan for the invasion, the chief funders had withdrawn from the scheme and disowned it and the men were only lightly armed. Many were wearing shorts and T-shirts and suffering from seasickness.

The Guardian’s world affairs editor, Julian Borger, tells Anushka Asthana how the plot began with a political fixer linked to the opposition leader Juan Guaidó, but ended in a spectacular failure that has emboldened Maduro.

Continue reading…

‘We’re all on death row now’: Latin America’s prisons reel from Covid-19

The region’s overcrowded and underfunded prisons have become centres of disease, with inmates rioting for better protection

Coronavirus – latest global updates

The last time Víctor Calderón saw his son, Miguel, alive was on the eve of Venezuela’s coronavirus shutdown in mid-March.

Seven weeks later he saw a photograph of Miguel’s bullet-riddled body displayed on a police computer alongside dozens of fellow prisoners at Los Llanos prison in the western state of Portuguesa.

Related: ‘A glimpse into the depths of hell’: South America’s deadly jails – in pictures

Related: ‘Come back Monday, OK?’ Hundreds of prisoners escape in Brazil amid Covid-19 anger

Continue reading…

Venezuela detains 40 suspects after failed Maduro ‘kidnap attempt’

  • Three captured west of Caracas are latest ‘terrorists’ arrested
  • Advisers to opposition leader Juan Guaidó linked to raid resign

Nicolás Maduro’s security forces have continued their roundup of alleged participants in last week’s botched attempt to capture him, with the arrest of three Venezuelan men just west of the capital.

The trio was reportedly seized in Carayaca, 35 miles from Caracas in the early hours of Monday, taking the number of detentions to more than 40. The official Twitter account of Venezuela’s Bolivarian national guard claimed the men were “terrorists who entered the country intending to provoke violence”.

Related: ‘His head wasn’t in the world of reality’: how the plot to invade Venezuela fell apart

Continue reading…

Venezuela seizes empty Colombian combat boats days after failed invasion plot

Caracas has accused Colombia and US of plotting to overthrow president Maduro; says military found abandoned vessels in Orinoco river

Venezuela’s military says it has seized three abandoned Colombian light combat vessels that soldiers found while patrolling the Orinoco river on Saturday, several days after the government accused its neighbour of aiding a failed invasion plot.

In a statement, the defence ministry said the boats were equipped with machine guns and ammunition, but had no crew, adding they were discovered as part of a nationwide operation to guarantee Venezuela’s “freedom and sovereignty”.

Related: ‘His head wasn’t in the world of reality’: how the plot to invade Venezuela fell apart

Continue reading…

Venezuela orders arrest of former Green Beret involved in botched raid

The chief prosecutor will seek capture of Jordan Goudreau as well as two US-based advisers to opposition leader Juan Guaidó

Venezuela’s chief prosecutor has ordered the arrest of a former Green Beret and two opposition figures living in the United States for their purported role in a botched operation aimed at removing Nicolás Maduro from power.

Tarek William Saab said Venezuela will seek the capture of Jordan Goudreau, a military veteran who has claimed responsibility for the attack, as well as Juan José Rendón and Sergio Vergara, two US-based advisers to the opposition leader Juan Guaidó.

Related: Venezuela: captured US mercenary claims he planned to abduct Maduro

Continue reading…

‘His head wasn’t in the world of reality’: how the plot to invade Venezuela fell apart

Deeply flawed from the start, the audacious plan to overthrow Nicolás Maduro unravelled spectacularly

As get-rich-quick schemes go it was unusually complicated. Invade a foreign country you know little about. Abduct its president to the US. Collect a $15m bounty from the US government – and maybe an even bigger payoff from the people who then seize power.

The plan to overthrow Venezuela’s president, Nicolás Maduro, and bundle him off to Florida to face drug trafficking charges seemed foolproof to a former US army staff sergeant, Jordan Goudreau, as he mapped it out in a luxury Miami apartment in late 2019. The 43-year-old Canadian-American was certain his years as a green beret in Iraq and Afghanistan had prepared him for the task.

Related: Venezuela: captured US mercenary claims he planned to abduct Maduro

Related: Venezuela: anti-Maduro battle isn’t over as ex-US soldier says he launched raid

Related: US mercenary says group plotted to seize Venezuela’s presidential palace

Continue reading…

US mercenary admits plot to abduct Nicolas Maduro on Venezuelan state TV – video

An American mercenary captured during an alleged incursion into Venezuela has claimed his group had plotted to abduct president Nicolas Maduro. Airan Berry, one of two US mercenaries captured during the botched attempt, appeared on state television in Venezuela where he admitted the plans to seize Maduro and fly him out of the country.

Continue reading…