Erik Prince, the billionaire founder of the infamous Blackwater security firm, has reportedly lobbied for thousands of his mercenaries to be deployed to Venezuela to break the stalemate that has settled between President Nicols Maduro and his U.S.-backed rival, Juan Guaid.

According to aReuters report, Prince has been meeting with influential supporters of President Donald Trump and wealthy Venezuelans living in exile to build support for his plan, which would see up to 5,000 Spanish-speaking troops sent to the beleaguered South American nation at a cost of around $40 million.

According to two sources with knowledge of Princes pitch, the operation would begin with intelligence gathering and later develop into combat and stabilization missions. The idea is to create a dynamic event that would break the stalemate between the two opposing camps, one source told Reuters.

In January, Guaidthe 35-year-old leader of the National Assembly, controlled by Maduros opponentsdeclared Maduros regime illegitimate and used a clause in the national constitution to declare himself interim president until new elections could be held. Guaid and his supporters argued that Maduros victory in last years presidential election was invalid, citing opposition boycotts, voter suppression and electoral irregularities.

The U.S. and a host of South American and European nations have recognized Guaid as the legitimate president and called on Maduro to cede power. But with the backing of the countrys powerful military as well as continuedsupport from Russia, China and Cubaamong othersthe leftist firebrand has remained in office.

Despite the efforts of President Donald Trumps administration, the military hasrefused to abandon the dictator. According to Reuters, Prince now believes it is time to turn to private contractors to topple Maduro.

One of the sources said Princes mercenaries would consist of Peruvians, Ecuadoreans, Colombians, Spanish speakers, as the presence of such troops would be more acceptable than Americans. Guaidos international supporters have been accused of engaging in imperialism in their efforts to force Maduro from office.

One source said that Prince had held meetings on the matter as recently as mid-April, though Guaids spokesperson, Edward Rodriguez, told Reuters the opposition had not spoken with him. An anonymous source said to be familiar with the White Houses thinking added that Trumps administration would not support a plan of this nature.

Lital Leshem, the investor relations director at Princes private equity firm, Frontier Resource Group, had previously confirmed that Prince was working on a solution to the crisis in Venezuela, just as he has a solution for many other places.

However, spokesperson Marc Cohen toldNewsweekthat Prince is not and has no plans to operate or implement an operation in Venezuela.

This file photo shows Erik Prince testifying during a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on Capitol Hill on October 2, 2007, in Washington D.C.

This article has been updated to include a statement from Frontier Resource Group.

Correction: An earlier version of this story mistakenly said Prince reportedly planned to begin with combat operations. He reportedly planned to begin with intelligence gathering.

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