In a leaked recording from a closed-door meeting that took place last week, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo admitted keeping Maduro’s opposition in Venezuela proved to be "devilishly difficult," and that "The moment Maduro leaves, everybody’s going to raise their hands and (say), ‘Take me, I’m the next president of Venezuela.’ It would be forty-plus people who believe they’re the rightful heir to Maduro."
Pompeo also admitted regime change in Venezuela has been a priority of the Trump administration he became CIA director in 2017, before he was Secretary of State, "Since the day I became CIA director, that was something that was at the center of what President Donald Trump was trying to do."
Pompeo maintained the idea that Cuba has a large influence in Venezuela, saying Maduro is, "is mostly surrounded by Cubans."
Maduro’s government has been calling for a dialogue with the opposition, since Juan Guaido declared himself interim president on January 23rd. The government and the opposition failed to reach any deal after recent talks in Oslo, after the US state department released a statement insisting the talks must focus on ousting Maduro.
Dave DeCamp is a freelance journalist based in Brooklyn NY, focusing on US Foreign policy and wars. He is on Twitter at @decampdave.