Trump administration in 'direct contact with Venezuelan military and urging defections', says White House official

Posted In: News Date:Feb 9th, 2019

Donald Trump’s administration is holding direct talks with members of the Venezuelan military and urging them to abandon president Nicolas Maduro, according to a new report.

Two weeks after opposition politician Juan Guaido declared himself Venezuela’s president and a succession of countries, including the US, recognised him as its “legitimate” leader, a White House official said it was speaking with members of the armed forces and hoping for more defections. The official also said Mr Trump was preparing new sanctions against Mr Maduro’s government.

“We believe these to be those first couple pebbles before we start really seeing bigger rocks rolling down the hill,” the unidentified official told Reuters.

The official added: “We’re still having conversations with members of the former Maduro regime, with military members, although those conversations are very, very limited.”

In the two weeks since Mr Guaido, a leader of the defunct national assembly and a protege of opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez, declared himself president, he has been recognised by a number of major nations, including Canada, the UK and many European countries.