Venezuela's Maduro Celebrates 2nd Term as Massive Crisis Deepens

Remigio Civitarese
Gennaio 11, 2019

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro began a new term Thursday that will keep him in power until 2025, with the economy in ruins and his regime more isolated than ever as neighbouring presidents shunned his inauguration after declaring his re-election illegitimate.

The foreign ministry said that even as Jamaica took the vote yesterday, the country was represented by its embassy in Caracas at Maduro's swearing-in ceremony "as a sign of our interest in remaining engaged with Venezuela, with which we maintain diplomatic relations".

There were few foreign dignitaries present as the Organization of American States voted on Thursday not to recognize the legitimacy of Maduro's second term.

Others, like construction worker Ramon Bermudez, have lost hope of escaping Maduro's rule and planned on hunkering down at home for the inauguration.

In recent times, St. Kitts and Nevis' bilateral cooperation with Venezuela has spanned many areas, such as energy cooperation, poverty alleviation and human settlements.

"The United States remains steadfast in its support of the Venezuelan people and will continue to use the full weight of USA economic and diplomatic power to press for the restoration of Venezuelan democracy", Pompeo said.

In May, he declared victory in presidential election that his political opponents and many foreign nations consider illegitimate because popular opponents were banned from running and the largest anti-government parties boycotted the race. Output now has plummeted to less than a third of that.

"All that's left to do is raise your hand to heaven and ask God to help us", said Bermudez, camped out on a Caracas sidewalk with hundreds of others waiting for gas. Guaido said Maduro is "usurping the presidency". Critics blame years of rampant corruption and mismanagement of the state-run oil company PDVSA.

WATCH: What's behind Venezuela's economic crisis?

An estimated 2.3 million Venezuelans have fled their nation's hyperinflation, food and medical shortages over the last two years, according to the United Nations.

"While the frozen assets stolen from a country's treasury would under normal circumstances be returned to that country, the kleptocratic nature of the Venezuelan regime makes it impossible to ensure that the funds would go to the benefit of the Venezuelan public", the report says.

Venezuela's splintered opposition movement has failed to counter the socialist party's dominance.

Many prominent opposition figures are either in jail or exile and various factions continue to squabble over power while the National Assembly, the one institution they control, has been left impotent after Maduro created the rival Constituent Assembly and filled the Supreme Court with loyalists who annul every decision made by parliament.

"We call on the armed forces, the majority of men and women in uniform who refuse to be corrupted, to step forward", said Congress chief Juan Guaido at a news conference.

The Trump administration has increased pressure on Maduro through financial sanctions, targeting dozens in Maduro's government.

"Sadly, I have many neighbors who have cried and have seen their children depart for other countries in search of a future", he said.

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