Disinfo: The US government is behind an attempted coup in Venezuela


The US wanted to take advantage of the chaos caused by the coronavirus and organise a little and bloody “colour revolution” to put the pro-American opposition in power in Venezuela. They have been caught red-handed: two US employees of private military companies (PMCs) were arrested by Venezuelan security forces. The US, always keen to accuse Russia of illegally employing PMCs for its geopolitical goals, is now in the middle of the scandal of a failed operation but, as usual, they don’t want to admit anything. Washington, even equipped with a print for dollars and having armed to the teeth a group of selected professional soldiers, was unable to organise a coup in a country weakened by a sharp fall of oil prices, sanctions and the coronavirus epidemic.


Despite the claims, there is no evidence of official US involvement in the failed military incursion of May 1, 2020 in Venezuela. Associated Press carried out a thorough investigation on the operation, including interviews with more than 30 people involved in it or familiar with its planning, but found no indication US officials sponsored the actions of Jordan Goudreau, the promoter of the attempt, nor that US president Donald Trump had authorised covert operations against Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro, something that requires congressional notification.

According to a Bellingcat open source investigation, some representatives of the Venezuelan opposition may be involved in the attempted incursion, at least in an early stage of its preparation. The US government, though, has officially denied any participation or prior knowledge of the operation, a version that is supported by its amateurishness and lack of professionalism, highlighted by many independent observers. Goudreau is now under investigation by US federal authorities on potential charges of arms trafficking. US experts pointed out that military contractors may have been motivated to act by the 15 million dollar reward put by the Trump Administration on Nicolás Maduro after his indictment on drug-trafficking charges.

This article reflects the narrative of Moscow-backed Venezuelan authorities, who accused both the US government and Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó of involvement in the operation but presented no evidence. It also aims to put the Kremlin’s well documented use of private military companies like Wagner on the same level as the alleged actions of the US government, in order to legitimise the former.

This is part of a recurrent Russian disinformation narrative about constant US plots to undermine Latin American governments. You can see many examples in our database, such as alleged plans to designate drug cartels as terrorist organisations as a cover for military control of Mexico, the next country in Washington’s destabilisation list after Bolivia; claims of a US plot to invade Mexico; an alleged CIA-led Twitter campaign and a hybrid war in Bolivia, the engineering of blackouts all over Latin America, the promotion of secessionism in Mexico or Venezuela, the training of Venezuelan exiles in Guyana for military operations inside the country, preparations for military intervention in that country after forcing Brazil to join NATO or the existence of an alleged 'Operation Condor for the XXIst century'.


  • Reported in: Issue 196
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 07/05/2020
  • Language/target audience: Spanish, Castilian
  • Country: Venezuela, US
  • Keywords: coronavirus, Nicolas Maduro, Donald Trump, Coup, Foreign mercenaries


Cases in the EUvsDisinfo database focus on messages in the international information space that are identified as providing a partial, distorted, or false depiction of reality and spread key pro-Kremlin messages. This does not necessarily imply, however, that a given outlet is linked to the Kremlin or editorially pro-Kremlin, or that it has intentionally sought to disinform. EUvsDisinfo publications do not represent an official EU position, as the information and opinions expressed are based on media reporting and analysis of the East Stratcom Task Force.

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