Trump’s Secretary of Defense, Mark T. Esper, dropped numerous confessions about the plotting against Venezuela which took place under the previous U.S. administration in his recently released memoir.
What follows are some of the details of the Trump administration’s coup and terror conspiring with the Venezuelan far-right opposition, which Esper elaborates in A Sacred Oath: Memoirs of a Secretary of Defense During Extraordinary Times. Venezuela’s Ambassador, Permanent Representative to the UN, Samuel Moncada, outlined Esper’s admissions in a Twitter thread, which we’ve adapted into an article.
President Maduro’s assassination was discussed at the White House in the presence of Guaidó, Borges and Vecchio. Mauricio Claver-Carone was part of the plan similar to the planned assassination of Haitian President using Colombian mercenaries. However, in Venezuela, it failed.
On February 5, 2020, Trump received Juan Guaidó, Julio Borges and Carlos Vecchio at the White House to discuss the invasion of Venezuela and the assassination of President Maduro.
There were two meetings; in the first one, Trump asked Guaidó directly, “What if the U.S. military went down there and got rid of Maduro?” Guaidó replied, “Of course we would always welcome U.S. assistance.”
However, Guaidó also said that Venezuelans in Colombia wanted to “take back the country themselves”. Defense Secretary Esper thought he understood that Guaidó was asking for help for an invasion with mercenaries coming from Colombia, but he misunderstood.
Esper asked Guaidó: “would your people really be willing to organize, train, and fight?” After beating around the bush, Guaidó: “yes, they would”.
For Esper, the answer was weak and “didn’t sound reassuring”. They moved on to a second meeting.
Trump’s National Security Advisor, Robert O’Brien, continued to evaluate direct military actions by the U.S. during the second meeting and Guaidó, Borges and Vecchio accepted the ideas. Esper again pressed Guaidó with the notion of invading from Colombia.
The Defense Secretary asked again: “If some of them (Venezuelans) could be trained and equipped by the U.S., would they really be willing to fight?” Esper said that Guaido and the rest never gave a clear answer except to say that the plan would be complicated and take a long time.
In his mind, Esper actually understood what Guaidó, Borges and Vecchio were saying: “It would be so much easier and quicker if the U.S. would do this for us.” They were calling for a U.S. military invasion of Venezuela.
Esper would ask a third time: “ok, but putting that aside, Mr President, would your people fight?” There was no clear answer. Esper took it as confirmation of what he already believed: that the Venezuelan opposition would fight “until the last American” if the U.S. offered to send troops. (It’s unclear what “people” Esper was referring to since the far-right opposition was never able to command over troops and was found to be employing mercenaries in Colombia.)
Guaidó, Borges and Vecchio discussed direct U.S. military invasion (preferable), mercenary invasion from Colombia (complicated) and went from a large scale to a special operation against President Maduro. They discussed the assassination of the President of Venezuela.
On that point, a Venezuelan who was not Guaidó (Borges or Vecchio) said: “We have some plans you [the U.S. government] know we are working on, they’re just not ready yet” with a quick reference to Florida.
As he finished the sentence, he smiled, and made eye contact with then senior director at the U.S. National Security Council, Mauricio Claver-Carone.
Claver-Carone was described by Esper as the person who was “pressing the hardest for military action”. He knew of the secret plan by Guaidó, Borges and Vecchio to assassinate President Maduro. The U.S. government did know what was in the works.
Esper, however, claims to have been unaware of what Guaidó and Claver-Carone were preparing. He asked CIA Director Gina Haspel who replied that she didn’t know, but would find out what it was all about. Esper thought, “If she and I weren’t knowledgeable of any special operation by the opposition, then who was?”
Three months after Guaidó’s meeting, “Operation Gideon”, a plot to assassinate President Maduro with a group of mercenaries trained and equipped in Colombia was attempted and foiled.
Secretary Esper concludes that the Venezuelan opposition’s inability to take out President Maduro is what led Trump to see Guaidó as “weak,” unable to replace President Maduro, whom he saw as “strong.” Trump looked down on Guaidó because they went begging for U.S. troops to invade their own country—while Maduro was fighting the invasion.
Not long after, U.S. authorities would propose a terror plot on a Venezuelan oil refinery.
On June 9, 2020, National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien proposed a military attack on the José Antonio Anzoátegui Petrochemical and Industrial Complex in a meeting of the National Security Council. Esper himself, who was at the meeting, confesses it.
Their tactical objective was to cripple Venezuela’s oil economy to achieve the strategic goal of overthrowing President Maduro and imposing Juan Guaidó as head of government through chaos and popular unrest.
It would be executed with either an airstrike on the oil complex or an amphibious assault with special U.S. naval troops. The act of war would comply with the continuous calls for military action that Trump, along with Mike Pompeo, had demanded since 2017.
Secretary Esper, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mr. Milley and CIA Director Gina Haspel all agreed that the attack was a counterproductive act of war which would unite the people in support of President Maduro.
The group didn’t endorse the military attack and instead proposed cyber operations (attacks on the digital control systems of the economic infrastructure) and covert operations supported by the U.S. but executed by the Venezuelan opposition within Venezuela.
General Milley also proposed irregular warfare operations (e.g. Nicaragua’s Contras) executed by Venezuelan mercenaries trained in Colombia. This idea was presented to Guaidó several times during the meeting with Trump at the White House on February 5, 2020.
By Kawsachun News