President Donald Trump’s administration conferred with Venezuelan military leaders who wanted to overthrow Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro in several secret meetings in 2017, according to a New York Times report.
U.S. officials decided against helping the rebels, who were unable to follow through with their plans, according to The NYT Saturday.
It is crucial to “dialogue with all Venezuelans who demonstrate a desire for democracy” to “bring positive change to a country that has suffered so much under Maduro,” the White House said in a statement to The NYT.
The NYT drew its report from the testimony of “American officials and a former Venezuelan military commander who participated in the talks.”
One Venezuelan military leader in the meetings is “on the American government’s own sanctions list of corrupt officials in Venezuela” for torture, jailing political prisoners and more, reported The NYT.
Life under Maduro has meant insane amounts of inflation and economic turmoil in the Latin American country. Trump raised the possibility of a “military option” in Venezuela in August 2017, sparking optimism among Maduro’s enemies, reported The NYT. (RELATED: Venezuela’s Socialist Regime Orders New Taxes And Slashes Prices By Five Zeros)
Maduro’s strongman status has been slipping since recent events like a drone explosion during a speech he was giving on Aug. 4.
Venezuela and the U.S. have not sent ambassadors to one another since 2010, and the U.S. instituted sanctions on Venezuelan individuals including Maduro in 2017, according to the U.S. Department of State.
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