Why Would You Tweet About Your Coup?


Photo: MIRAFLORES PRESIDENTIAL PALACE/HANDOUT/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

Normally when people practice a thing for a very long time, they become competent at it. The U.S. government, for example, has invested decades, troops, and money into its traditional activities south of the border. By this, I mean coups. The U.S. has never met a left-wing Latin American political figure it did not want to overthrow, and you would think that after a while, they’d get good at it — and that this skill, honed over so many generations, would perhaps trickle down from the CIA and sundry special forces to our patriotic mercenaries.

Enter Silvercorp USA. The Venezuelan government announced on Tuesday that it had arrested 13 combatants in what it categorized as a failed incursion. Among them were Luke Denman and Airan Berry, both American citizens and employees of Silvercorp, a private security firm founded by Justin Goudreau. Though one might be tempted to doubt the word of Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro, recall that “American mercenaries captured in a plot to overthrow Latin American government” is probably the least-surprising headline a person could invent, and also, they filmed themselves doing a coup.

“All doubts about the veracity of the Maduro government’s claims regarding the failed incursion were laid to rest in the afternoon when a Venezuelan digital news outlet (@FactoresdePoder) published a video in which Goudreau claimed responsibility for the ‘amphibious raid,’ and hinted that other operations were ongoing,” Bellingcat, an investigative website, reported on Tuesday. The same Venezuelan news outlet tweeted what it claims are photos of a contract between Goudreau and opposition leader Juan Guaidó, who has been fêted by both the Trump administration and various members of the Democratic Party. Another photo republished by Bellingcat depicts an Airsoft rifle in the weapons cache seized by Venezuelan forces.

Not content to merely leave behind video evidence of their involvement, Goudreau and Silvercorps took things a step further. They tweeted about it.

In fact, the Silvercorp Twitter account offers a lot to digest. This was not their first trip to Venezuela:

And they dabble in some light film criticism:

I have never been a Green Beret, and I have never attempted a coup, though who knows where the future will take me. Nevertheless, I did assume — naïvely! erroneously! — that the first rule of organizing a coup is that you do not tweet about it. And doesn’t it require a lot of planning? Based on my many years spent playing successive versions of Civilization, I think that if you want to capture a country’s capital city, you are going to need more than a boat, some guns, and 62 men of dubious military skill.

Absolutely, man. Good luck. Next time pick a better fishing boat.