Nicolás Maduro has been sworn in for a second time period as Venezuela’s president, regardless of worldwide criticism that his re-election was illegitimate.
The Could 2018 polls had been marred by an opposition boycott and vote-rigging claims.
The US and 13 different international locations within the Americas mentioned final week that they might not recognise Mr Maduro’s presidency.
The socialist chief, 56, mentioned his second six-year time period was a “step of peace for our nation.”
Hundreds of spectators gathered for the ceremony in Caracas, together with Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega, and president of Bolivia Evo Morales.
Safety forces had been stationed within the capital and different cities, as opposition teams referred to as for pot-banging and the sounding of horns in protest throughout the ceremony.
Earlier this week, Supreme Courtroom choose Christian Zerpa fled to the US in protest on the president’s second time period, arguing that the election “was not free and honest.”
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The re-inauguration occurred earlier than the nation’s Supreme Courtroom as a substitute of its opposition-run Congress, which has been stripped of its powers since Mr Maduro’s ruling Socialist Social gathering misplaced management of it in 2016.
Minutes after Mr Maduro was sworn in, Paraguayan President Mario Abdo tweeted that he was slicing diplomatic ties with Venezuela and was instantly withdrawing his nation’s diplomats from Caracas.
Why is Maduro’s re-election controversial?
Mr Maduro was first elected in 2013, succeeding Hugo Chavez who died of most cancers after governing for 14 years.
Since taking workplace he has confronted criticism at residence and overseas over alleged human rights abuses and his dealing with of the economic system, which is in a parlous state.
Venezuela is among the world’s largest oil producers and holds the presidency of oil cartel Opec till 2025.
However an overreliance on oil – it accounts for about 95% of its export earnings – left the nation susceptible when costs dropped in 2014.
Because of this, the price of imported items like meals and drugs has risen and forex inflation has skyrocketed.
The federal government can also be more and more struggling to get credit score after it defaulted on a few of its authorities bonds. In response, the federal government has printed extra money, devaluing the forex additional.
In response to a research by the opposition-controlled Nationwide Meeting, Venezuela’s annual inflation charge reached an eye-watering 1,300,000% within the 12 months to November 2018.
The US has additionally imposed sanctions that, Mr Maduro claims, price the nation $20bn final yr.
The United Nations says 2.three million Venezuelans have fled the nation since 2015 due to financial hardship.
Anti-government riots in 2014 left 43 lifeless, and at the very least 125 individuals died in months of protests in 2017.
Mr Maduro informed reporters final yr that the US was plotting to kill him and topple his authorities, however didn’t produce any proof.