WASHINGTON – The US government will not recognize the legitimacy of Nicolas Maduro’s second term as president of Venezuela, the White House national security adviser said on Thursday.
“The US will not recognize the Maduro dictatorship’s illegitimate inauguration,” said John Bolton on Twitter regarding the inauguration on Thursday of the Venezuelan leader to a second presidential term, to run through 2025.
“We will continue to increase pressure on the corrupt regime, support the democratic National Assembly, and call for democracy and freedom in Venezuela,” Bolton added.
Thus, Washington joins the European Union and the Lima Group – which includes Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Panama, Paraguay, Peru and St. Lucia – in repudiating Maduro’s investiture.
One of the Lima Group members, Paraguay, took the step of breaking diplomatic relations with Venezuela.
In remarks delivered before the press at the Government Palace, Paraguayan President Mario Abdo Benitez said that his administration had taken “the decision to break diplomatic relations with the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela” based on Asuncion’s “exercising of its constitutional powers and national sovereignty.”
“In that regard, the closure of our embassy and the immediate withdrawal of Paraguayan diplomatic personnel have been ordered,” said the president minutes after Maduro took the oath of office in Caracas.
Peru, meanwhile, said that it was recalling the head of its embassy to Venezuela for consultations to protest Maduro’s second term.
Lima said earlier this week that Maduro and 100 members of his administration have been barred from entering Peru.
The Organization of American States agreed on Thursday “not to recognize” the legitimacy of the Maduro regime starting Jan. 10, 2019,” and called for the holding of new elections with international observers monitoring the vote.
At an extraordinary meeting of its Permanent Council, a resolution to that effect presented by Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, the United States, Peru and Paraguay prevailed by a vote of 19-6 with eight abstentions.
The Venezuelan delegation, headed by Ambassador Samuel Moncada, rejected the OAS Permanent Council meeting as a “hostile and unfriendly act.”
Maduro announced last year that Venezuela would withdraw from the OAS.
The president was re-elected last May with about 70 percent of the vote, but the main opposition leaders could not participate in the contest because they had been barred on various grounds, including criminal convictions, and many foreign governments refuse to accept the legitimacy of the process.
Few Latin American countries sent representatives to Thursday’s inauguration, which was also boycotted by the US and 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.
Mexico, although it sent only its charge d’affaires in Caracas to the inauguration, on Wednesday disassociated itself from the Lima Group’s stance.Maduro Inaugurated for 2nd Term as Venezuela’s President
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