Speaking to US-Venezuelan TV channel VPItv, the US special envoy for Venezuela said opposition leader Juan Guaido was engaged in negotiations with senior military commanders on the terms of their turning their back on Maduro, who, according to Abrams, was not aware of the meeting.
“Maduro cannot trust his environment, including anyone who claims to be loyal to him. He cannot count on that. Especially the Cubans and the Russians,” he said.
Abrams also echoed Secretary of State and former CIA head Mike Pompeo’s claim that the Venezuelan president was about to flee the country on Tuesday due to the coup planned by Guaido, but was told to stay by Russia.
The Russian foreign ministry dismissed Pompeo's claim, calling it a 'fake' that was just part of the US information war aimed against the Latin American country. Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro himself slammed Pompeo's claim, branding it a lie and manipulation. Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza, for his part, said that "fake news was a very sad way to acknowledge that a coup supported by the United States failed".
Tensions in Venezuela have been high since January, when the country's opposition leader Juan Guaido proclaimed himself the interim president and was immediately supported by the United States and its allies. Nicolas Maduro, in turn, was backed by Russia and China, among other states, as the only legitimate president of Venezuela.