KONFRONTASI-Trump administration officials held secret meetings with Venezuelan military officers to discuss plans to oust President Nicolas Maduro, according to a report by the New York Times.
The news outlet said on Saturday that at least three distinct groups from the military were involved in attempts at overthrowing the Venezuelan leader.
According to the report, there were plans for a coup in the summer of 2017, and later in March and May of this year. However, when US officials declined to cooperate, the plans for Maduro's overthrow fell apart.
The report comes just a month after two explosive-laden drones blew up near Maduro in an apparent assassination attempt. He blamed the US, Colombia, and his domestic enemies for the attack.
On Saturday, Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza denounced efforts to overthrow the government of the South American state.
"We denounce in front of the international community, the plans for intervention and the support of military plots against Venezuela by the United States government," he said.
"Even in the US media, blatant evidence has come to light," he added,
The US State Department has condemned "political violence" after the drone assassination attempt, but also denounced alleged arbitrary detentions and forced confessions of suspects by the Venezuelan military.
US President Donald Trump has threatened military intervention against Venezuela before.
"The people are suffering and they are dying. We have many options for Venezuela including a possible military option if necessary, " Trump said in August 2017.
According to the New York Time report, the officials saw the declaration as an opportunity to establish a channel of communication with the Americans.
"It was the commander in chief saying this now," a former Venezuelan commander said, "I'm not going to doubt it when this was the messenger."