World

Maduro sworn in as Venezuela President for second term

Maduro sworn in as Venezuela President for second term

In a statement read Tuesday before the state television cameras, the general guaranteed the absolute loyalty of the military to Maduro, who is scheduled to be sworn in to a new six-year term on Thursday, despite the massive rejection of the worldwide community.

"I swear to construct socialism of the 21st century", Mr Maduro said as he was inaugurated by the loyalist head of the Venezuelan supreme court.

On Tuesday, the United States imposed its latest sanctions as it targeted seven Venezuelans allegedly involved in black-market currency exchanges that generated billions of dollars in illicit profits.

Residents of Caracas awoke Thursday to unusually quiet streets but with a noticeably increased security presence and armed checkpoints.

In a speech after his swearing-in, Maduro claimed 94 countries had sent representatives to his inauguration.

Maduro also took the opportunity to complain how Latin America, once celebrated by leftists around the world as a hotbed of socialism, had been "contaminated" by the election of right-wing leaders, including Brazil's Jair Bolsonaro, who he labeled a "fascist".

David Smilde, Tulane University expert on Venezuela, said that this isn't likely to create change.

A day earlier, Maduro warned that his country was facing a coup attempt ordered by the Donald Trump administration and the so-called Lima Group, the anti-Venezuelan organization founded in 2016 and includes 14 American states who are led by right-wing governments.

Maduro stressed that "Venezuela is a profoundly democratic country".




But Cuba's President Miguel Diaz-Canel, Bolivian President Evo Morales and President Anatoli Bibilov of a breakaway province of Georgia were among the foreign leaders who attended the ceremony at the country's Supreme Court.

Maduro has meanwhile threatened "diplomatic measures" against his regional detractors if they refuse to recognise his re-election.

Maduro will be sworn in for a second six-year term on Thursday. "Venezuelans know it, the world knows it. Venezuela lives under a dictatorship".

Minutes after Maduro was sworn in, Paraguayan President Mario Abdo tweeted that he was cutting diplomatic ties with Venezuela and immediately withdrawing his country's diplomats from Caracas.

The ceremony contrasted with the harsh realities that face the former bus driver turned socialist leader, including hyperinflation, severe food and medicine shortages and an exodus of millions of citizens seeking to escape the hardship.

The US said it is time for Venezuela to begin a transitional process that can restore the constitutional, democratic order by holding free and fair elections that respect the will of the Venezuelan people.

Many prominent opposition figures are either in jail or exile. The UN has said more than five million will have fled by the end of this year.

"No authoritarian and repressive government falls just because its opponents - weak and disorganized - demand it".


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