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POST TIME: 10 September, 2018 00:00 00 AM
US officials secretly met Venezuela ‘coup plotters’
CNN

US officials secretly met Venezuela ‘coup plotters’

Maduro took power after Hugo Chavez death in 2013 and has faced political and economic challenges. Al Jazeera Photo

WASHINGTON: US officials met secretly with Venezuelan military officers who were plotting a coup against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, both a current and a former US official confirmed to CNN.

American officials met with the renegade Venezuelan military officers several times over the last year after the Venezuelan officers made contact, but Washington ultimately decided against supporting the coup, the two sources said.

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's discussions with the Venezuelan military officers about a potential coup were first reported Saturday morning by the New York Times. The current and former US officials confirmed to CNN that report is accurate. The White House declined to comment on the meetings between US officials and Venezuelan military officers, but said in a statement the US continues to support "a peaceful orderly return to democracy in Venezuela." "U.S. policy preference for a peaceful, orderly return to democracy in Venezuela remains unchanged. The United States government hears daily the concerns of Venezuelans from all walks of life -- be they members of the ruling party, the security services, elements of civil society or from among the millions of citizens forced by the regime to flee abroad. They share one goal: the rebuilding of democracy in their homeland," said National Security Council spokesman Garrett Marquis. "A lasting solution to Venezuela's worsening crisis can only arise following restoration of governance by democratic practices, the rule of law, and respect for fundamental human rights and freedoms."