May 14th 2020NICOLÁS MADURO, Venezuela’s dictator, always welcomes a distraction from the calamity of his rule. Early this month his enemies provide
NICOLÁS MADURO, Venezuela’s dictator, always welcomes a distraction from the calamity of his rule. Early this month his enemies provided a good one. Two boats carrying a score of mercenaries attempted to land near Caracas, the capital. In a skirmish on May 3rd, Venezuelan forces killed eight raiders. The next day, two American former soldiers, apparently suffering from seasickness, were among the invaders captured from a skiff as it drifted 20km (12 miles) west of the earlier incursion. During their interrogations, later broadcast on state television, they confessed to taking part in a plot to kidnap Mr Maduro and fly him to the United States.
Some Venezuelans, used to Mr Maduro’s diversionary tactics, refused to believe the story. “It cannot possibly be real,” said Edgar, a van driver in Caracas. But it seems the plot was real, and that the plotters at least initially had the backing of the leaders of the opposition.
In September 2019 a team representing Juan Guaidó, the head of the National Assembly, who is recognised by most Western democracies as Venezuela’s interim president, met in Miami to consider plans to remove Mr Maduro by force. Juan Rendón, a political consultant who led the delegation, later said that Mr Guaidó had made it clear that he should explore “all options”. The team heard a pitch from Jordan Goudreau, an American special-forces…