Officials of the Trump administration met with military officials in Venezuela to discuss a coup against the country's president, Nicolás Maduro, while hyperinflation pushes South American citizens into the streets.
The White House declined to comment on the talks, but they told the New York Times that they supported the "dialogue with all Venezuelans who demonstrate a desire for democracy."
Although the United States rejected requests for material aid to overthrow the nation's leader, the administration said they were still interested in "bringing positive change to a country that has suffered so much under Maduro."
US officials were in talks with rebel army officers seeking help to defeat Venezuelan President Nicolás Marudo, but ultimately rejected requests for material aid.
The talks, which will do little to appease an already tense relationship with Venezuela, were carried out with military officers, including one on the list of US sanctions, accused of torturing critics, imprisoning political prisoners, wounding thousands, traffic drugs and collaborate with a terrorist organization.
Venezuela is in the midst of an economic crisis, with the UN estimating that 5,000 people are fleeing the country daily, putting pressure on their neighbors.
President Maduro is increasingly seen as an authoritarian leader, hyperinflation has decimated wages and more than a decade of price controls have generated a widespread shortage of commodities.
Venezuela's monthly minimum wage is currently worth around $ 25 and is well below what is needed to feed a family.
As the crisis worsens, Trump has expressed his desire to act.
In August 2017, he said he had a military option prepared if the nation continued to have problems, and in July 2018, he reportedly floated the idea of an invasion with advisors and other South American leaders.
The officers of the rebel army (stock image of the Bolivarian militia in Venezuela) wanted to overthrow the president, and they took Donald Trump's comments about the invasions and the military action as a signal that his administration would help them.
The leaders of Maduro's resistance to the government say that it was these comments that inspired them to approach the United States to help them remove him from office.
"It was the commander in chief saying this now," said the former Venezuelan commander, who is the man on the sanctions list, to the Times. & # 39; I will not doubt when this was the messenger & # 39;
Maduro previously said the United States was conspiring to get him out of the office, claiming that a drone attack allegedly aimed at killing him during a speech in August was at least partially funded in Miami.
New reports from the United States that conspire with the army rebels will undoubtedly fuel the flames of each President's concern on the other.
Ultimately, the United States' refusal to help caused the rebel's plans to unravel, and led to the arrest of dozens of them before they could carry out their plan.
Hyperinflation and price controls have left many without basic goods and have sent thousands of people fleeing the South American nation (in the image: Venezuelan pensioners protest against changes in their pension)