A month into Venezuela's high-stakes political crisis, President Nicolas Maduro revealed in an AP interview that his government held secret talks with the Trump administration and predicted he would survive an unprecedented global campaign to force his resignation.
While harshly criticising President Donald Trump's confrontational stance toward his socialist government, Maduro said Thursday that he holds out hope of meeting the US president soon to resolve a crisis triggered by America's recognition of opponent Juan Guaido as Venezuela's rightful leader.
Maduro said that during two hushed meetings in New York, his foreign minister invited the Washington-based special envoy for Venezuela, Elliott Abrams, to come to visit “privately, publicly or secretly.”
“If he wants to meet, just tell me when, where and how and I'll be there,” Maduro said without providing more details. He said both New York meetings lasted several hours.
A senior administration official in Washington who was not authorised to speak publicly said US officials were willing to meet with “former Venezuela officials, including Maduro himself, to discuss their exit plans.”
Venezuela is plunging deeper into a political chaos triggered by the US demand that Maduro step down a month into a second presidential term that the US and its allies in Latin America consider illegitimate.
Meanwhile, 25 countries have pledged $100 million in aid to Venezuela, US national security advisor John Bolton said Thursday, as the crisis-hit country's Supreme Court took aim at oil executives appointed by the opposition, reported AFP.