Somebody needs a quick update on the definition of “secret.”

Yesterday we talked about an Associated Press report claiming that the United States has been in secret discussions with some of the most senior members of the Venezuelan socialist party. The suggestion was that we were offering some of these thugs assurances that they wouldn’t be prosecuted for anything if they turned their backs on dictator Nicolas Maduro and hastened his exit from office. Well, now that the cat is out of the bag, both Maduro and President Trump are confirming that the story is true. (AP)

President Donald Trump said Tuesday his government is talking to “various representatives” of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro, who also confirmed that “secret” discussions had been taking place.

In a nationally broadcast appearance hours after Trump spoke, Maduro said that talks had long been underway between high officials in his government and the U.S. administration.

“We’ve had secret meetings in secret places with secret people that nobody knows,” Maduro said, adding that all talks had been carried out under his “direct” authorization. “Sure there’s been contact and we’ll continue having contact.”

Neither Trump nor Maduro is revealing the identities of the people we’ve been talking to, but these admissions strengthen the probability that we’ve been looking to cut a deal with Venezuelan socialist party leader Diosdado “the octopus” Cabello. Handing that guy a get out of jail free card would be a big pill to swallow. As I mentioned yesterday, Cabello is well known as the head of one of the biggest drug cartels in South America and reportedly tried to engineer an assassination attempt on Marco Rubio a few years ago.

Unfortunately, if we’re going to wade into Venezuelan politics, these are the sorts of people we wind up dealing with. But President Trump really wants to see Maduro out of office (along with most of the civilized world), being replaced by Juan Guaido. Unfortunately, Maduro may be somewhat weaker than he was a couple of years ago, but he’s still got a lot of cards left to play. He has the support of Russia, China, Turkey and Iran, with the Russians keeping troops stationed in his country.

I have a bad feeling that the only way Maduro steps aside without somebody sticking a knife in his back is if he’s guaranteed safe passage to a nice beach somewhere and allowed to take a massive amount of the treasure he’s plundered from his own country with him. And the way the international community is acting these days, they might give it to him just to make this problem go away.