The wife of a former US soldier accused of terrorism and conspiracy for his role in a failed Venezuelan coup has asked the US government to make every effort to secure his release.
Airan Berry, 41, was arrested in Venezuela on May 4, along with American American Luke Denman, 34, and six Venezuelans after a foiled attempt to overthrow President Nicolás Maduro.
His wife Melanie Berry has said that she and their two teenage children are “in shock” after hearing about his arrest online.
“Our children in particular are very upset and very sad – they want their father back,” she told the German publication t-online.
Her call came when a new video of a weapons seizure on March 23 in Colombia was released, which has been determined to begin unraveling the coup, organized by former Green Beret Jordan Goudreau and his Florida-based company Silvercorp USA.
The stock was destined for coup d’état training camps before they were intercepted by the Colombian authorities.
Airan Berry, 41, pictured with wife Melanie and their two children. She has called on the US government to make every effort to ensure that he is released safely after the former Green Beret was arrested in Venezuela on May 4 for his role in a failed attempt to overturn President Maduro.
Melanie Berry said she was relieved to see former soldier Airan speak in an interrogation video broadcast on Venezuelan state television and social media on Thursday
There is also a video of the seizure of weapons in Colombia on March 23, pictured above, which was believed to be the point from which the failed Venezuelan coup began to dismantle
Berry, Denman and Goudreau were all stationed in Germany along with the 10th Special Forces Group 1st Battalion, before Berry left the army in 2013 and settled with his family in Schweinfurt, Germany, Melanie explained.
Berry has lived in Germany since leaving the army after 17 years of service, she added, professionally settling in Schweinfurt until Goudreau approached him with the job.
She said she did not know the details of the job Berry van Goudreau had taken on, as he was unable to divulge any information and only heard of the coup after his arrest.
“It was his first assignment to a private security firm,” said Melanie.
“My husband knew him from the time they spent together in Iraq and he trusted him.”
“I knew absolutely nothing about a certain period of time. He couldn’t give me information. He took the job offer, and that’s all I know. ‘
The family is now in contact with Luke Denman’s family and various agencies hoping to secure their safe release.
“We hope the United States government will use all its resources to bring my husband Airan and Luke Denman home,” she wrote to t-online.de.
“They are good men worthy of protection, support and the kind of help they have so often given to others.
“After all these years that Airan has worked to ensure the safety of Americans, he deserves every possible means of bringing him safely home to his family,” his wife insisted.
“Since we learned of the arrest, we have been in constant contact with various agencies and organizations, but we have no details at this time.”
Melanie Berry, in the photo, said that her husband Airan did not tell her about the work he was doing and that she heard of the coup only after his arrest. She said Berry knew leader Goudreau because they were both stationed in the United States Army in Germany
Airan and Melanie Berry took pictures with their children. As said, Melanie said that their teenage children “want their father back” and are very upset about his arrest in Venezuela
Denman’s family was also unaware of his involvement until his brother Mark saw his Scandinavian tattoo in the photos of the arrest and realized that he was not at work offshore welding as they had thought.
“We had no idea what was going on for the first 24 hours,” said Mark Denman Military times.
“We learn a little more every day and by the end of the week we have learned quite a bit.
“I made many calls to get in touch with people, embassies in Bogata,” he added.
“The Swiss embassy. Consular services. The State Department. I have spoken with many lawyers about helping, but I have not seen a clear plan of what they can do. They explain how much their holders are. ‘
The portrayed Airan Berry was charged with terrorism and conspiracy on Friday
Berry and Denman were first sentenced to 25 to 30 years in prison on Friday.
On Wednesday and Thursday, video clips of their interrogation by the Venezuelan authorities were broadcast and shared on social media, apparently involving them in the raid.
“Seeing him in that video was a relief,” said Melanie.
“We hope that Airan and Luke are treated in accordance with international human rights law.
“My husband Airan and I have been married for 19 years. He means everything to me and our whole family and he is my best friend. ‘
“He looked good,” Denman’s brother said of his video, adding that he was relieved to see Venezuelans prosecute them in court because the country has no death penalty.
In their interrogation videos, Berry and Denman revealed that they had been approached by Goudreau about the plot in early December and hired by Silvercorp to meet about 60 Venezuelans in training camps in Colombia to prepare them for the mission.
The former soldiers flew to Colombia on January 16 and, after training, escorted the troops by boat to Venezuelan to oversee the plan and ensure that an airport is secured allowing Maduro to be flown to the United States.
Airan Berry, photo above, and Luke Deman, photo below, were arrested on May 4 as part of a failed attempt to overthrow Venezuelan President Maduro. Their families claimed they had no idea of the details of the job and knew they were in Venezuela before their arrest
The US had awarded a $ 15 million reward in March for information that led to the arrest or conviction of the socialist leader.
However, the raid was quickly halted by the Venezuelan authorities on Sunday and Monday and 31 people were arrested, when Maduro revealed that Venezuela’s intelligence agency had facilitated the plot in Colombia and that they were lurking until it was launched.
The ill-fated plan showed signs of failure from the start, as a video of the seizure of weapons in Colombia on March 23 has now appeared, leading to the eventual dismantling of the mission.
Colombian police seized a stockpile of weapons transported in a truck owned by the rebellious former Venezuelan army general, Cliver Alcalá, just before surrendering to face US narcotics.
This seizure of weapons in Colombia on March 23 is believed to be the point from where the plot really started to dismantle. Cliver Alcalá, who had worked with Goudreau to lead the coup, claimed responsibility for the weapons. Five days later, Venezuelan state television had broadcast images of Goudreau and the name appeared to be Berry and Denman.
Alcalá is said to have worked with Goudreau on the property after the pair met in Bogota, and Alcalá told Goudreau that he was secretly training dozens of Venezuelan military deserters in secret camps.
The stock seized in March, worth approximately $ 150,000, included telescopes, night vision goggles, two-way radios, and 26 U.S. assault rifles with serial numbers removed.
Fifteen brown-colored helmets seized by police have been manufactured by High-End Defense Solutions, a Miami-based military equipment provider owned by a Venezuelan immigrant family, according to Colombian police.
High-End Defense Solutions is the same company that visited Goudreau in November and December, reportedly to buy weapons, according to two former Venezuelan soldiers who spoke to the Associated Press.
They claim to have helped the American choose the gear, but later had a bitter feud with Goudreau over the allegations that they were moles for Maduro.
The AP reported that they were unable to independently verify their account.
The stock pictured was seized on March 23 and included equipment from a company that visited Goudreau in November and December, allegedly to purchase weapons
The stock, worth approximately $ 150,000, included telescopes, night vision goggles, two-way radios, and 26 U.S. assault rifles that were serialized
Stellar leader Goudreau came on board to oversee training and continued the mission even after Alcalá surrendered and Venezuelan state television alleged that her government had infiltrated the “mercenaries.”
On Monday, it emerged that they had even broadcast pictures of Goudreau on March 28, and that Berry and Denman had the names more than a month before the coup was planned.
Goudreau is now being federally investigated in the United States for gun smuggling after identifying himself as the person behind the plot in a video posted to social media claiming to have provided the members of the coup with training and equipment.
The former Green Beret was unable to participate in the plan he hatched after his boat broke down in March and was forced to return to Florida, where travel restrictions due to the coronavirus outbreak prevented him from returning to his troops.
He claims to have signed a $ 212 million contract with Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guadió, who is backed by the US as the country’s legitimate leader, a claim Guaidó has rejected.
Maduro has presented an allegedly signed contract at press conferences as evidence that Guaidó was involved in the plot to overthrow him.
Guaidó’s US-based strategists JJ Rendón and Sergio Vergara filed their resignation letter on Monday after Rendón revealed to the press last week that he had given Goudreau $ 50,000 as part of an “exploratory” deal.
He said he signed a preliminary agreement with Goudreau and Silvercorp USA with the idea of investigating whether various members of the Maduro government who are being prosecuted or who have arrest warrants can be captured and brought to justice.
However, he assures that this agreement was not concluded and that they were not involved in Goudreau continuing the coup.
According to the Associated Press, a person familiar with the situation said the agreement was signed by Rendón and Vergara in October.
At one point, Guaidó briefly greeted Goudreau via video conference – as evidenced by an audio recording made by Goudreau on a hidden cell phone, which he shared with the Venezuelan journalist.
Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro has used a supposedly signed contract between Guaidó and Goudreau to claim that his opposition leader was involved in the failed coup
“Let’s get started!” said a voice that appears to be Guaidó in the leaked recording. He does not mention any military incursion.
A few days later, the team cut off contact with Goudreau, realizing that he was unable to deliver what he had promised and because they couldn’t get along, the person said. An attempt to reactivate the accord failed in November because the opposition gave up support for a private military raid, the person said.
The last contact with Goudreau was a few weeks ago when a lawyer wrote on behalf of veteran Rendon to collect a pledged $ 1.5 million commission.
Goudreau announced through intermediaries that he would disclose the agreement to the press if they did not pay.
The Maduro government has requested an arrest warrant on Friday for both Goudreau and Rendón.
Guaidó and the United States government have denied any involvement.