Update (1637 EST): Monitoreamos has reported that the original NGO that posted claims of the release was incorrect and the duo are still imprisoned. That NGO has since deleted the original post on X, casting doubt on the release. Neither government has made a statement on the release.
According to the NGO Coalicion por los Derechos Humanos y la Democracia, former US Army Special Forces members Airan Berry and Luke Denman have been released from detention in Venezuela.
Nos complace la liberación de los ciudadanos estadounidenses Airan Berry y Luke Denman.
Por fortuna estarán con sus familiares en esta Navidad, más de 300 presos políticos venezolanos están en prisión y también merecen su libertad.#NavidadEnLibertad#NavidadSinPresosPoliticos pic.twitter.com/vhdFG9THR6
— Coalición por los Derechos Humanos y la Democracia (@Coalicion_ddhh) December 19, 2023
The duo were sentenced to twenty years in prison for taking part in the failed May 4th, 2020 coup attempt to overthrow President Maduro. It is not currently clear why the Venezuelan government released the duo as there has been no announcement from either government.
Operation Gideon was an unsuccessful attempt by the Active Coalition of the Venezuelan International Reserve, Venezuelan dissidents, and a private security firm, Silvercorp USA, to infiltrate Venezuela by sea and remove the Venezuelan President from power.
The plan executed from 3 to 4 May 2020 was for expatriate Venezuelan military living in Colombia to enter the country by boat at Macuto, take control of an airfield, capture Maduro and other high-level figures in his administration, and expel them from the country. The plot was infiltrated by members of the Maduro regime and more than 99 were arrested, including the American duo. Both were found with U.S. passports.