According to the New York Times, officials from the Trump administration held secret meetings with Venezuelan military officials to discuss the ousting of president Nicolás Maduro, but later decided not taking any further action.
Trump has strongly criticized Maduro’s leftist government, while Venezuela is sinking in a severe economic and humanitarian crisis that has caused violent protests and a migratory wave towards neighboring countries.
The New York Times interviewed anonymous American officials and a Venezuelan former commander who participated in the secret meetings. However, the White House refused to give detailed explanations when asked about the conversations, and stressed the need to talk to all Venezuelans who show a desire for democracy.
When drones filled with explosives went up near Maduro in a ceremony on August 4th in Caracas, the president blamed the United States, Colombia, and his domestic enemies.
The US State Department condemned political violence, as well as the arbitrary imprisonment and forced confessions of suspects by the Venezuelan government. The National Security Advisor, John Bolton, said there was no involvement of the government of the United States in that incident.
In August 2017, international media reported that Trump asked his advisors on the potential of an American invasion in Venezuela. Around that time, he publicly said he wouldn’t rule out a military option to end the chaos in that South American country.
The collapse of the economy in Venezuela under Maduro has led to a severe food and medicine shortage. Maduro has hold the US responsible for many of his country’s problems; and the theory that Trump’s administration has considered backing an attempt to overthrow him will surely fuel his allegations, especially considering America’s background in secret interventions in Latin America.
Mari Carmen Aponte, a American diplomat for Latin American issues during the Obama administration, said that this news is going to land like a bomb in the region.