Erik Prince, the founder of private security firm Blackwater and a prominent Trump donor, had a meeting with Venezuela’s vice president last month and told a U.S. official about the trip, according to sources cited by Bloomberg. During the talks in Caracas with Vice President Delcy Rodriguez, Prince reportedly pitched a business deal and pushed for increased freedom for six jailed executives of Citgo—the American arm of Venezuela’s state oil company. The executives were reportedly transferred from prison to house arrest a few days ago after spending two years behind bars, but it's not clear if Prince’s request was a factor in the move. During the meeting, Prince also reportedly suggested sending personnel to train Venezuela's police force—along with protecting judges and political candidates—to help aid in the country having new presidential elections. Prince reportedly let at least one senior official know about the talks.
Nicolas Maduro, the contested president of Venezuela, was reportedly briefed on Prince’s trip to Venezuela. The U.S. no longer recognizes Maduro as the nation's leader, but instead acknowledges opposition leader Juan Guaidó. Rodriguez was sanctioned by the U.S. due to her proximity to Maduro, and discussing business with her is reportedly against U.S. law. Prince, Rodriguez, and the White House have yet to comment publicly on the meeting. The State Department’s special envoy for Venezuela said the department had no knowledge of Prince's meeting.