Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro called the country's opposition leader, Juan Guaido a "fugitive from justice" while insisting on linking him to two foiled maritime incursions last week.
In a meeting on Saturday with Presidential Commission for the Prevention and Control of COVID-19 members, Maduro accused Juan Guaido of signing a document with US contractor Silvercorp, whom the Venezuelan authorities claim to have organised the failed armed incursions, reports Efe news.
"It was already known that there was a contract, signed by the alleged, unconstitutional, illegal and failed interim government of Juan Guaido," Maduro said while insisting that it had "Juan Gauido's signature, deputy, fugitive from justice".
Maritime raid thwarted
On May 3, Venezuela thwarted a maritime raid in the state of La Guaira, near Caracas, in which eight people were killed and another two were detained. The next day, the Maduro government announced the detention of other 13 "mercenaries" on the coasts of Aragua state.
The detainees included US Army veterans Luke Denman and Airan Berry, who in an interrogation said that they worked for Silvercorp, led by former US Army veteran Jordan Goudreau.
Maduro on Saturday accused Goudreau of operating under the orders of US President Donald Trump, a staunch critic of the Venezuelan leader. Chief prosecutor Tarek Saab reported on Friday that 31 people had been detained for these events, a figure that Maduro updated to 34 when reporting three new arrests on Saturday.
Denies signing contract
Guaido, who has repeatedly denied having signed a contract with Silvercorp, responded to Maduro's accusation on Twitter and posted a US Drug Enforcement Administration poster from March offering up to $15,000,000 for information that would lead to the arrest or conviction of the Venezuelan President, whom the US accuses of narco-terrorism.
On Friday, Guaido challenged Maduro to stop him and called the attempted maritime attacks a government "set-up".