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

Two officers shot in Louisville amid Breonna Taylor protests

Police officers stand guard during a protest in Louisville, Kentucky. Photo: Ben Hendren/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Louisville Metro Police Department said two officers were shot downtown in the Kentucky city late Wednesday, just hours after a grand jury announced an indictment in the Breonna Taylor case.

Driving the news: Metrosafe, the city's emergency services, said it received reports of a shooting at South Brook St. and Broadway Ave., near the area where protests were taking place. A police spokesperson told a press briefing the injuries of both officers were not life-threatening. One officer was "alert and stable" and the other was undergoing surgery, he said.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

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Biden: Breonna Taylor indictment "does not answer" call for justice

Former Vice President Joe Biden. Photo: Leigh Vogel/Getty Images

Former Vice President Joe Biden on Wednesday condemned the grand jury indictment of a Louisville police officer who entered Breonna Taylor's home in March in a botched drug raid that led to her death, saying in a statement the decision "does not answer" for equal justice.

The big picture: Biden called for reforms to address police use of force and no-knock warrants, while demanding a ban on chokeholds. He added that people "have a right to peacefully protest, but violence is never acceptable."

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