CARACAS – Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro took the oath of office on Thursday for a second term – lasting until 2025 – amid accusations that his reelection was illegitimate.
Maduro was sworn in before the Supreme Court in Caracas, accompanied by six other heads of state, who were the only ones to attend the event called a “usurpation” of power by the Venezuelan opposition and many foreign governments.
“I swear in the name of the Venezuelan people ... that I will not rest my arm or relax my soul and that I will fulfill and see to the fulfillment of all the postulates and mandates of the Constitution,” said Maduro before Chief Justice Maikel Moreno amid the applause of supporters.
The oath of office, the president said, is a commitment whereby he swears “to defend the independence and absolute integrity of the homeland, strive to bring social and economic prosperity to our people and build the socialism of the 21st century.”
Maduro was sworn in at the Supreme Court and not in Congress, which is controlled by the opposition.
The president was reelected last May with about 70 percent of the votes, but the main opposition leaders could not participate in the contest because they had been barred on various grounds, including criminal convictions.
For these reasons, the majority of the countries in Latin America did not send representatives to the inauguration, and neither did the United States or the European Union.
Several heads of state were on hand, however, including Bolivian leader Evo Morales; Nicaragua’s Daniel Ortega; Cuba’s Miguel Diaz-Canel; El Salvador’s Salvador Sanchez Ceren; South Ossetia’s Anatoly Bibilov and Abkhazia’s Raul Khajimba.