The U.S. has opened up secret communications with Venezuelan socialist boss Diosdado Cabello, an alleged drug kingpin and the second most powerful person in Venezuela, after President Nicolás Maduro, The Associated Press reports, citing a senior U.S. administration official. Cabello, 56, met with a U.S.-backed envoy in Caracas last month, the official said, and Axios reports that National Security Council official Mauricio Claver-Carone has been communicating with Cabello through emissaries. U.S. officials tell both Axios and AP that Cabello is among a handful of top Maduro officials who have secretly reached out to the U.S. to negotiate safety guarantees if they help topple Maduro. An unidentified Cabello aide told AP that the U.S. has been chasing Cabello, and Cabello would only meet with U.S. officials with Maduro's permission.

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