BEIRUT, LEBANON (11:45 A.M.) – The founder of the infamous Blackwater group, Erik Prince, wants to send thousands of mercenaries to Venezuela to help opposition leader Juan Guaido seize power, the Reuters News Agency reported in an exclusive story on Wednesday morning..
According to Reuters, Prince, who is an ardent supporter of U.S. President Donald Trump, “has been pushing a plan to deploy a private army to help topple Venezuela’s socialist president, Nicholas Maduro.”
Citing unnamed sources, Reuters said Prince is seeking investment and political support for this operation from Trump supporters and Venezuelan exiles.
The Blackwater founder allegedly sketched a plan to field up to 5,000 mercenaries on behalf of Juan Guaido, two sources told Reuters.
One source said Prince has conducted meetings about the issue as recently as mid-April.
White House National Security Council spokesman Garrett Marquis declined to comment when asked by Reuters whether Prince had proposed his plan to the government and whether it would be considered. A person familiar with the administration’s thinking said the White House would not support such a plan.
Venezuela opposition officials have not discussed security operations with Prince, said Guaido spokesman Edward Rodriguez, who did not answer additional questions from Reuters. The Maduro government did not respond to a request for comment.
Some U.S. and Venezuelan security experts, told of the plan by Reuters, called it politically far-fetched and potentially dangerous because it could set off a civil war. A Venezuelan exile close to the opposition agreed but said private contractors might prove useful, in the event Maduro’s government collapses, by providing security for a new administration in the aftermath.