Members of the United States government led by president Donald Trump have been meeting with Venezuelan military officers who have been actively plotting to oust democratically elected president Nicolas Maduro since mid-2017.
The New York Times has said the meetings took place over the past year, but came to nothing when it was decided not to stage a coup, after Washington refused to lend material support to rebellious Venezuelan officers.
Venezuela's foreign minister accused the United States of seeking an intervention and supporting military conspiracies, following a report USA officials had met with Venezuelan military officers to discuss a coup plot.
The US did not provide the Venezuelan officers with any support and the plans for the coup ultimately fell apart, the sources said.
The Trump administration has strongly criticised the government of President Maduro, and in August past year, Mr Trump said he did not rule out a military option in Venezuela. "They wondered if the Trump administration might be willing to help them overthrow their commander in chief", Londoño said. So over the course of at least three secret meetings that happen overseas, an American diplomat established a back channel with these dissident officers. Washington takes this into account and ultimately decides not too.
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Maduro routinely accuses the US government of plotting against him, and this is likely to embolden those claims.
Aside from confirming what the Venezuelan government has repeatedly warned against, namely the active plotting against the Maduro government by "political opposition" and US participation, Londoño and Casey also revealed the USA designated a career diplomat to attend the conversations, listen and report on them.
According to the Times, one of the Venezuelan officials who took part in the talks is on the US government sanctions list.
However, the United States has said it prefers an orderly and peaceful return to democracy. The country's security forces subsequently made a wave of arrests.