Nicolás Maduro wins Venezuela's sham presidential election

Paola Ditto
Mag 22, 2018

Henri Falcón, the main opposition candidate, won 21% of the vote and came in second place and Javier Bertucci, an evangelical pastor came in third with 10% of the votes.

President Donald Trump today tightened financial sanctions against Venezuela following what the United States described as a "sham" election in the country.

The Canadian government took steps Monday to apply further pressure on Venezuela by announcing it won't seek to replace its ambassador in Caracas following a presidential election that has attracted widespread global condemnation. That was 67 percent of the vote with 90 percent counted, according to the BBC.

Meanwhile, the nation's fragmented opposition vowed to unify and push for a new presidential election later this year.

President Donald Trump signed an executive order which imposes new penalties and bars United States companies or citizens from buying debt or accounts receivable from the Venezuelan government, including Petróleos de Venezuela, the government-owned oil company that is the parent of Citgo Petroleum Corporation.

The new economic penalties prevent USA nationals and individuals residing in the US from buying debt owed to the government of Venezuela or engaging in financial transactions involving any entity in which the Venezuelan government owns more than a 50 percent share.

"The U.S. will not sit idly by as Venezuela crumbles", Vice President Mike Pence said.

On Monday, Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland called Sunday's elections, which will keep President Nicolas Maduro in power, "illegitimate and anti-democratic".

Russian Federation came to Venezuela's rescue late a year ago with a debt-restructuring deal after it was driven to the verge of default by falling oil prices and tough US sanctions - sanctions that the United States ratcheted up further on May 21 to counter what Washington sees as Maduro's increasingly autocratic grip on his country.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro gestures after the National Electoral Council (CNE) announced the results of the voting on election day in Venezuela, on May 20, 2018. He added, "America stands against dictatorship and with the people of Venezuela".

"There is only one path", opposition leader Maria Corina Machado said in a fiery press conference.

Hours later after the results were announced, many global actors expressed their disapproval. However, other countries recognised the process; among those were Russia, China, Iran, Cuba, Bolivia, El Salvador, and Nicaragua.

"These so-called "elections" is an attack on the constitutional order and an insult to democracy in Venezuela", reads the statement of the head of the state Department.

"We will be the most powerful and largest political force in Venezuela for a long time", he told a festive crowd of supporters who poured into the grounds of the presidential palace to celebrate.

"The government has two ways of moving forward, they either implement economic and social reforms and accept humanitarian help, or they could radicalise".

For Maduro, the biggest risk now is an "implosion" if government officials are cornered and pressed by the worldwide sanctions, said analyst Luis Vicente Leon.

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