US officials held 'secret meetings' for Venezuela coup

By Servet Gunerigok

WASHINGTON (AA) – Officials from the U.S. President Donald Trump administration secretly met Venezuelan military officers to discuss the ousting of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, according to the New York Times Saturday.

The Times said unnamed American officials held talks with a former Venezuelan military commander, but Washington eventually decided against supporting the coup.

The White House “declined to answer detailed questions about the talks”, the Times reported.

The daily cited interviews with 11 current and former U.S. officials and one former Venezuelan military commander who participated in the meetings.

The Venezuelan military commander is on Washington's list of sanctioned Venezuelan officials, according to the Times.

On May 21, the Trump administration dismissed Venezuela's presidential election as a "sham" and stepped up economic and diplomatic pressure on Maduro's government.