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U.S. and Venezuelan Presidents Confirm High-Level Contacts between Their Governments

Aug. 22, 2019 (EIRNS)—In the past two days, both Donald Trump and Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro have confirmed that contact between a U.S. intermediary and high-level officials of Maduro’s government have taken place. Sputnik on Aug. 21 reported that Maduro told it that this has been going on “for months,” and that such contact would continue.

In Aug. 20 remarks to White House media, President Trump confirmed that “we’ve been talking to various representatives of Venezuela. We’re helping Venezuela as much as we can. We’re staying out of it, but we are helping it, and it needs a lot of help.” He did not say whether there had been contact with National Constituent Assembly head Diosdado Cabello. “I don’t want to say who, but we are talking at a very high level.”

On day earlier, Associated Press and Axios news services reported that an unnamed intermediary for the U.S. President had been in contact with members of Maduro’s inner circle, including the powerful Cabello, whom the U.S. has sanctioned for his ties to the FARC drug cartel, among other unsavory connections.

The Wall Street Journal on Aug. 21 cited sources in Washington and Caracas, who said the talks are seeking a negotiated solution to the crisis, involving new elections, and assuring Maduro’s closest collaborators they will not face prosecution or sanctions and can remain in politics—including future elections—once Maduro is out of office. Washington think tank analysts point out that talks are also aimed at sowing discord within Maduro’s inner circle.

Whether these produce any results remains to be seen. There are clearly many elements of a possible agreement under discussion in more than one venue. Norway’s Foreign Ministry is still involved in brokering an agreement between Maduro and the opposition in Barbados. Those talks were temporarily suspended two weeks ago, but are scheduled to resume next month. According to the Journal, in Barbados, Venezuela’s Communications Minister Jorge Rodriguez and his sister Vice President Delcy Rodriguez offered the opposition the possibility of presidential elections in the coming months.

The bottom line is that the situation urgently requires a workable, humane solution free of British geopolitics. The neocon regime change plan has failed; U.S. sanctions have dramatically worsened the country’s humanitarian crisis, and neighboring governments are struggling with the burden of caring for the large numbers of Venezuelan refugees who have flooded their countries.

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