Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro touted a video showing a scruffy-looking American divulging details about a failed invasion as proof Wednesday that US authorities backed an alleged attempt to forcibly remove him from power.
Maduro aired a video of Luke Denman on state television in which the 34-year-old Texas native claims he signed a contract with a Florida-based company to train rebel troops and carry out the assault in exchange for up to USD 100,000.
"I was helping Venezuelans take back control of their country," he said.
Denman and Airan Berry, both former US special forces soldiers who served in Iraq, were detained Monday following what authorities described as a botched beach landing in the fishing village of Chuao.
Both men are associated with Silvercorp USA, a private firm founded by Jordan Goudreau, an ex-Green Beret claiming responsibility for the alleged incursion.
President Donald Trump has said the United States had nothing to do with the purported attack and Goudreau is under federal investigation for arms trafficking, according to current and former US law enforcement officials.
Nonetheless, the Venezuelan leader insists his U.S. adversary was behind the apparent attempt to force him out.
"There's the proof," he said, pointing to the video, in which Denman indicates that Trump was behind Silvercorp's incursion.