US security contractor Silvercorp, had planned to deploy AC-130 gunships, Armed Predator drones and air-to-ground Maverick missile assets to plan and execute "an operation to capture/detain/remove 'Primary Objective' [Venezuelan President Maduro]”, and facilitate Opposition leader Juan Guaido’s government-in- waiting to take power.
According to details of a leaked contract between Silvercorp, led by a former decorated US soldier and Venezuelan opposition groups, the firm “may also authorize employment of AC-130 gunship, Armed Predator (drones) and Maverick (air-to-ground) Missile assets” - ie deploy drones and conduct missile strikes - and “employ any available assets to engage no or low collateral damage fleeting targets”.
The weapons mentioned in the contract are only available with militaries and are illegal for a commercial organization to own. Besides, their cost running into millions of dollars and limited usage makes it impractical for a commercial/mercenary entity to store even if obtained illegally.
This gives rise to suspicion that Silvercorp may have links with a national security organization of the United States or any other state in South/Central America, inimical to Veneuela’s Maduro, from whom it could marshall the resources needed to deploy such powerful weapons.
However, there is no evidence that Silvercorp indeed was in a position to obtain and deploy the heavy weapons mentioned in the contract.
The relationship between the Guaido-led government and Silvercorp is also projected to grow after the removal of Maduro, according to the contract.
“After project completion, [Silvercorp] will continue advisor services in counterterrorism, counter narcotic operations and recovery of stolen Venezuelan financial assets worldwide [and] provide a Quick Reaction Group to advise Venezuelan counterparts in conducting advisory operations in various locations…
[Silvercorp] will convert to a National Asset Unit that will act under the direction of the Administration to counter threats to government stability, terror threats...These services include but are not limited to mission advisement, recruitment, selection and assessment, physical fitness programming, target programming, medicine, communications, demolitions, covert methods of entry, surveillance, close target reconnaissance,” the contract continues."
Had the coup attempt succeeded and Silvercorp got to become a “National Asset Unit”, as described in the contract, it would have come within the ambit of US laws being a registered firm in the US and manned by US citizens. This would also have meant sharing information with US agencies to help in their dealing with the new Venezuelan government.
The CIA has in the past used security companies to carry out operations in foreign lands to avoid having fingers pointed at the US government.
The Venezuelan opposition leader Guaido was feted by Trump at the White House in February 2020 and is said to have come into contact with Sivercorp then. President Trump has denied any US involvement in the coup attempt nor having anything to do with Silvercorp.