This site has learned that high officials of Donald Trump's White House shut down an interview Nicolas Maduro gave recently to FoxNews. Journalist Maria Elvira Salazar, on unofficial assignment / agreement with FoxNews, met and interviewed Maduro in Caracas. The interview was translated to English, with the purpose of broadcasting it in FoxNews to send a message to the Trump administration, about Maduro's intentions to establish some kind of dialogue. White House officials intervened, censored the whole thing, and the interview ended up being aired, in Spanish, in Univision.
Since 10 January, Nicolas Maduro is almost universally referred to as an illegitimate president. The reason is that elections held in May of 2018, and "won" by Maduro, were declared a sham. To this day, no one has seen evidence of the rigging and "one million vote discrepancy" that Smartmatic alleged it took place. European countries, U.S.A. and Canada however consider its results invalid. Maduro's previous tenure (2013-2019) ended 10 January.
According to the chavista constitution (article 233), when an "absolute absence" of the President occurs prior to swearing in (10 January), fresh elections must take place in the next 30 consecutive days (10 February), and the Head of Congress (Juan Guaidó) must take charge. This is why OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro, for instance, claims Juan Guaidó's "assumption" -as Interim President- has brought an end to Maduro's presidency.
Maduro got sworn in (illegally) at the Supreme Court and goes about his business as normal. Venezuelan military and institutions continue under his control. Regardless of international support for Guaidó's actions, any transitional prospects / discussions / negotiations / pacts have got to include Maduro, unless of course, hawkish White House officials are readying regime change, whether unilaterally or otherwise, through military invasion / intervention. Increased sanctions, to PDVSA's oil exports to the U.S., are being considered, however not all U.S. government officials are convinced such strategy will result in Maduro tendering his resignation to a transitional group. Such sanctions will also impose further hardship on the already battered Venezuelan citizenry, and crucially increase the massive exodus of Venezuelans to surrounding region.
Guaidó's path is far from clear, for getting an agreement between opposition politicos in Venezuela has proved to be impossible. Even if the stars aligned for needed consensus, without Venezuela's military support the opposition is basically harmless to Maduro. Sources have informed this site that Acción Democrática (AD), UNT, and Timoteo Zambrano's Prociudadanos party are negotiating some kind of cohabitation with Maduro through the opposition-controlled Congress. Prociudadanos' Leocenis Garcia's amnesty proposal -whereby no chavista official will be prosecuted unless involved in drug trafficking- does not include even one mention to corruption (a tip of the hat to Raul Gorrin et al). Obviously Chavismo does not have exclusivity on corruption: there are plenty of utterly corrupt politicos in the opposition, starting of course with leaders of AD, UNT, and Prociudadanos.
This site is of the opinion that Maduro's invitation to talk should be acted on immediately. U.S. officials should come to the table armed with fresh sanctions and with the unequivocal support from Grupo de Lima. Maduro's manoeuvrability ought to be heavily restricted. His international support network (China, Russia, and new friend Turkey) have got to be warned that further propping up will have consequences.
And Trump, being Trump, could approach Maduro the same way he approached the North Korean clown. Clueless White House officials shouldn't be given leeway to prolong Venezuela's drama.