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Guaidó this week in Caracas. Photo: Pedro Mattey/picture alliance via Getty

President Trump's envoy for Venezuela says he's "absolutely" confident Nicolás Maduro will fall by year's end, despite Maduro's success thus far in clinging to power.

Flashback: It has now been 6 months since Juan Guaidó declared himself Venezuela's legitimate president. The Trump administration demanded at the time that Maduro leave immediately, or else. He didn't. An attempt to topple him in April failed. Rumblings of potential U.S. military intervention haven't come to fruition.

  • "I can't predict how the regime falls, I can't predict the date," Elliot Abrams said Wednesday at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, "but I think it's inevitable."

Where things stand: Representatives of the Maduro regime and the opposition are holding talks in Barbados, mediated by Norway.

  • Guaidós ambassador to Washington, Carlos Vecchio, said at the event that there's no possibility of a political settlement unless Maduro steps down and elections follow.
  • Axios asked Abrams whether the U.S. now sees negotiations as the most likely endgame, rather than an uprising within the Venezuelan military. "People power in the streets, military coups, negotiated settlements, they interact," he said. "It's a combination of all these pressures."

Zoom out: Abrams said that of the outside actors in Venezuela, Cuba is the most vital to Maduro's survival because of the security and intelligence it provides.

  • He said Russia contributes the "psychological-political" boost of knowing "there's a big country backing you," though he claimed Moscow is "hedging their bets."
  • "What China and Russia are doing is very interesting," he continued. "On the one hand, they're providing political support for the regime. On the other hand, they're wringing it dry."
  • "Venezuela's exporting roughly 750,000 barrels a day of oil. 500,000 goes to Russia and China... to pay back previous loans."

Go deeper

Neera Tanden withdraws nomination for Office of Management and Budget director

Neera Tanden testifying before the Senate Budget Committee in Washington, D.C., in February 2021. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/The New York Times/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Neera Tanden withdrew her name from nomination to lead the Office of Management and Budget after several senators voiced opposition and concern about her qualifications and past combative tweets, President Biden announced Tuesday.

Why it matters: Tanden’s decision to pull her nomination marks Biden's first setback in filling out his Cabinet with a thin Democratic majority in the Senate.

What's ahead for the newest female CEOs

Jane Fraser (L) and Rosalind Brewer. Photos: Jason Redmond/AFP via Getty Images; Rodrigo Capote/Bloomberg via Getty Images.

The number of women at the helm of America’s biggest companies pales in comparison to men, but is newly growing — and their tasks are huge.

What's going on: Jane Fraser took over at Citigroup this week, the first woman to ever lead a major U.S. bank. Rosalind Brewer will take the reins at Walgreens in the coming weeks (March 15) — a company that's been run by white men for more than a century.

3 hours ago - Health

Biden says U.S. will have enough vaccines for 300 million adults by end of May

President Biden. Photo: Anna Moneymaker-Pool/Getty Images

President Biden on Tuesday said that ramped-up coronavirus vaccine production will provide enough doses for 300 million Americans by the end May.

Why it matters: That's two months sooner than Biden's previous promise of enough vaccines for all American adults by the end of July.