Erik Prince, American security baron and one of Donald Trump’s allies, held a secret meeting with Venezuelan Vice-President Delcy Rodriguez last month, Bloomberg said. Rodriguez is also closely connected with Venezuela President, Nicolas Maduro.
Prince’s visit to Venezuela, according to a source was an “outreach” to Maduro’s government, which came only a few months after the Blackwater founder—a private security firm—proposed to deploy a private army in order to overthrow the Venezuelan leader.
Recently, Nicolas Maduro met with notable Wall Street bondholders to whom Venezuela has not canceled the bonds, to create a plan that enables it to pay with oil barrels and persuade the U.S. government to ease the economic sanctions.
Sources linked to the matter told Bloomberg that the proposal includes paying over $60,000 million to Venezuelan bondholders by delivering several oil fields for exploitation. A partial amount may be used to ease the humanitarian crisis in the country.
Goldman Sachs, Pimco and T Rowe Price would be some of the beneficiaries of this plan.
Some of the bondholders participating in the meetings said they had the approval of the White House to travel to Caracas and meet Maduro and some of the Venezuelan officials.
If, despite the restrictions of the Treasury Department, this plan was carried out, Maduro would officially break with one of the most iconic legacies of his predecessor, Hugo Chavez, who expelled almost all U.S. investors from Venezuelan oil activities.
Maduro’s lawyers and others related to the plan believe that although the initial US response is negative, it could change. However, the Treasury Department reiterated via email to Bloomberg that all negotiations between Venezuelan officials and US citizens or companies are totally prohibited.
Maduro’s proposal of an oil-for-debt deal to the U.S. must have pushed the leader to the wall, as his acquiescence to consider the deal shows how harrowing the economic sanctions have been and how eager he is to get them lifted.
Where Erik Prince’s recent visit to Venezuela is concerned, the White House has declined to comment about U.S. officials having any advance knowledge of his meeting, or whether it was a possible comm-line with Nicolas Maduro’s government.