Maduro says U.S. envoy met with Venezuelan official
by Onize Ohikere
Posted 2/15/19, 01:04 pm
Embattled Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro said on Friday that his foreign minister held secret meetings with a U.S. official on Jan. 26 and Feb. 11 in New York. In an interview, Maduro said his administration could succeed if U.S. President Donald Trump would remove his “infected hand” from the country. The United States has not denied the talks—allegedly between Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza and U.S. special envoy Elliot Abrams—but Secretary of State Mike Pompeo pushed back Friday on Maduro’s insinuation that he could remain in power. Speaking with reporters in Reykjavik, Iceland, Pompeo said he sees obvious signs that Maduro is starting to understand Venezuelans reject him as their leader.
The United States, which has recognized National Assembly Leader Juan Guaidó as interim president of Venezuela, on Friday sanctioned Venezuelan oil chief Maj. Gen. Manuel Quevedo for playing a prominent role in propping up Maduro’s regime. Other sanctions targeted three officials from the country’s national intelligence service and Rafael Bastardo, who heads the national police unit.
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