In May, the Venezuelan government released photos and video footage showing a ragtag group of men who appear to have been captured by security forces in a village on the country’s northern coast. According to President Nicolás Maduro, eight people were killed and dozens more were captured in what he said was an attempt to kidnap him and remove him from the country. Among the captured men were two American former Green Berets, who were reportedly hired to train men for the operation in Colombia.
In what the Venezuelan government called “confession videos” released by state-controlled media, the two Americans said that they were working on behalf of the U.S. government, specifically under the orders of President Donald Trump. However, President Trump, along with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, flatly denied any American involvement in the plot.
Business Insider spoke with the brother of captured American Luke Denman, who points out red flags raised by the footage. Denman, along with a spokesperson from the U.S. State Department, suggests that the men in the footage were used as pawns in a false flag operation staged by the Venezuelan government.
Along with Mark Denman and the U.S. State Department, Business Insider spoke with other key figures to understand what aspects of this complex story are rooted in fact, and what aspects may have been constructed by the Venezuelan government.