By Agence France-Presse
Mexico has not proposed offering asylum to President Nicolas Maduro as part of talks with the United States aimed at resolving Venezuela’s political crisis, the foreign ministry said Thursday.
The denial came after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the United States was in contact with Mexico and Norway about Maduro’s future, appearing to confirm that Washington was seeking a country where the embattled president could be sent into exile.
Mexico City confirmed the talks, but said that “as of today, those conversations have not mentioned any possibility that Mexico could grant asylum to any member of the Venezuelan government,” foreign ministry spokesman Roberto Velasco said in a statement.
“There have been conversations with the secretary of state and his team to try to facilitate a dialogue in Venezuela,” he said.
Testifying before Congress Wednesday, Pompeo was asked by Representative Albio Sires whether Mexico and Norway, which have both offered to broker an end to the crisis, could find a way to move Maduro out of Venezuela.
“Yes, I’ve personally been in conversations with each of those two governments,” Pompeo said.
Maduro, the political heir to late leftist firebrand Hugo Chavez, is facing mounting pressure to quit amid a disastrous recession and a leadership challenge by Juan Guaido, the head of the opposition-controlled legislature, who declared himself acting president on January 23.
The United States has led more than 50 countries in recognizing Guaido as Venezuelan leader, calling Maduro’s May re-election illegitimate.
Mexico has taken a hands-off stance to the crisis under leftist President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who has not switched recognition to Guaido, instead calling for talks between the two sides.