There’s a world of difference between being a successful soldier and being a successful soldier of fortune.
Jordan Goudreau was one hell of a soldier with the U.S. Army’s Special Forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. That’s what several soldiers who served with Goudreau told the Associated Press – their judgment more than backed up by Goudreau’s three Bronze Stars.
But as a wannabe soldier of fortune, Jordan Goudreau seems to have been a spectacular failure.
He’s still at home in Florida, “calling everyone I know,” he says, trying to help two fellow former Special Forces fighters, Luke Denman and Airan Berry, who Goudreau says he sent into Venezuela on a mission to overthrow President Nicolas Maduro. Denman and Berry were captured and have been featured on televised reports in which Maduro celebrated the destruction of what he claimed was a Trump Administration plot against him.
“You’re not going to take out Maduro with 300 hungry, untrained men,” Ephraim Mattos, a former U.S. Navy SEAL, told the Associated Press. Mattos trained some of Goudreau’s would-be warriors in tactical medicine, and when he said 300 wouldn’t be enough, he was referring to the force in Justin Goudreau’s invasion dream plan.
In reality, the mission led by Denman and Berry apparently involved just 60 men who hardly made it to shore before being intercepted by Maduro’s security forces. Quickly, the Venezuelans say, eight of the “invaders” were killed, two were captured and a manhunt for the others was underway. 23 alleged coup-plotters are now in custody, including Denman and Berry, who, says Venezuela’s foreign minister, are “confessing without any reservations.” He doesn’t say what’s in their confessions, but it all adds up to, in the words of the Washington Post Editorial Board “an extraordinary propaganda windfall” for Maduro.
But here’s what may be the craziest part of Goudreau’s scheme, he went ahead with it, ordered Denman and Berry and their guerilla volunteers to attack, after his plan had been blown, big-time, in a huge investigative report by the AP’s Miami-based Latin American correspondent Joshua Goodman.
Ephraim Mattos told Goodman one big reason why Goudreau’s dream plan couldn’t work was that the U.S. government wasn’t interested in helping.
Which, by the way, is not the way Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, put it in his denial. “There was no U.S. Government direct involvement in this operation,” he said, first begging a question and then not answering it. “As for who bankrolled it, we’re not prepared to share any more information about what we know took place. We’ll unpack that at an appropriate time.” Yes, as in the New Yorker’s cartoon, “Could we do it, Thursday? No? How’s never. Is never good for you?”
Joshua Goodman is The Associated Press’ Latin America correspondent based in Miami.