Trump says US talking to officials in Venezuela


(20 Aug 2019) President Donald Trump said the U.S. is “talking to various representatives of Venezuela” during questioning by reporters as he met with Romania’s president in the Oval Office Tuesday.
“We are talking to the representatives at different levels of Venezuela, yes,” he said.
“I don’t want to say who, but we are talking at a very high level.”
On Monday, the Associated Press reported that 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, according to a senior U.S. administration official.
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.

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