Venezuelan state television broadcast on Wednesday a video of captured American Luke Denman, in which he said he was instructed to seize control of Caracas’ airport and bring in a plane to fly President Nicolas Maduro to the United States, APA reports quoting Reuters.
Venezuelan authorities on Monday arrested Denman, another U.S. citizen Airan Berry, and 11 other “terrorists” in what Maduro has called a failed plot coordinated with Washington to enter the country via the Caribbean coast and oust him.
“Donald Trump is the direct chief of this invasion,” Maduro said during a televised virtual press conference, after the video of Denman was broadcast.
U.S. President Donald Trump has denied involvement. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Wednesday that the U.S. government would use “every tool” to secure the Americans return, if they were being held in Venezuela.
Denman, 34, in the video from an undisclosed location, answered questions from a person off-camera speaking in English. Denman said his mission was to secure the airport and establish outer security, though it was unclear how they planned to get Maduro on a plane.
In March, the U.S. Department of Justice charged Maduro and a dozen other current and former Venezuelan officials with “narco-terrorism” and the Trump administration offered a reward of $15 million for information leading to his arrest.