US Talks Secretly to Venezuela Socialist Boss
AP Exclusive: A senior administration official says the U.S. has opened up secret communications with Venezuela’s socialist party boss.
FILE – In this Jan. 24, 2019 file photo, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, right, speaks with Constitutional Assembly President Diosdado Cabello at the Supreme Court during an annual ceremony that marks the start of the judicial year in Caracas, Venezuela. The U.S. has opened up secret communications with Cabello as members of Maduro’s inner circle seek guarantees they won’t face retribution if they cede to growing demands to remove him, a senior administration official told The Associated Press on Saturday, Aug. 17, 2019. (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos, File)
BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) — The U.S. has opened up secret communications with Venezuela’s socialist party boss as members of President Nicolás Maduro’s inner circle seek guarantees they won’t face retribution if they cede to growing demands to remove him, a senior U.S. administration official has told The Associated Press.
Diosdado Cabello, who is considered the most-powerful man in Venezuela after Maduro, met last month in Caracas with someone who is in close contact with the Trump administration, said the official. A second meeting is in the works but has not yet taken place.
The AP is withholding the intermediary’s name and details of the encounter with Cabello out of concern the person could suffer reprisals. The official spoke on the condition of anonymity because they aren’t authorized to discuss the talks, which are still preliminary. It’s not clear whether the talks have Maduro’s approval or not.
Cabello, 56, is a major power broker inside Venezuela, who has seen his influence in the government and security forces expand as Maduro’s grip on power has weakened. But he’s also been accused by U.S. officials of being behind massive corruption, drug trafficking and even death threats against a sitting U.S. senator.
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