The alleged meeting with the government Washington considers ‘illegitimate’ comes amid efforts to replace Russian oil.
Senior US officials reportedly traveled to Venezuela to meet with President Nicolás Maduro’s government as Russia’s conflict with Ukraine continues. Citing multiple unnamed sources “familiar with the matter,” the New York Times reported on Saturday that the meeting is the “highest-level visit” from the US in years after it broke diplomatic relations with the country in 2019 and recognized pro-US politician Juan Guaido as “interim” president of Venezuela over the legitimate President Nicolas Maduro.
US President Joe Biden’s administration is allegedly attempting to “separate Russia from its remaining international allies” as unnamed US officials believe Moscow’s allies in Latin America “could become security threats if the standoff with Russia” over Ukraine worsens.
Former Republican Virginia Congressman Scott Taylor claimed on Friday that a Venezuelan businessman had suggested Maduro was open to discussion with the US, while Maduro himself said in a speech on Thursday that “the oil of Venezuela” was “available for whomever wants to produce and buy it, be it an investor from Asia, Europe or the United States.”
While the senior US officials are reportedly meeting with Maduro’s government, the US government still officially recognizes Guaido as the leader of Venezuela and does not recognize Maduro’s presidency as legitimate.
In a statement from January, US State Department spokesperson Ned Price said the government “continues to recognize the authority of the democratically elected 2015 National Assembly as the last remaining democratic institution and Juan Guaidó as Venezuela’s interim president.” In July, the US State Department called Maduro’s government “illegitimate” five times in a single article.