ANOTHER TERM: Venezuela's Socialist President Sworn-in for SECOND Six-Year Term

Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro holds a copy of the National Constitution while he speaks during a news conference at Miraflores Palace in Caracas Venezuela

Venezuela President Maduro sworn in for second term

Iranian Defense Minister Amir Hatami arrived in the Venezuelan capital Caracas on Thursday to take part in the inauguration ceremony of Nicolas Maduro's presidency, Tasnim news agency reported. Following the ceremony on Thursday, Paraguayan leader Mario Abdo Benítez announced that his country would cut ties with Caracas and immediately withdraw all diplomats from the country.

Maduro said 94 countries had sent representatives to the inauguration.

Last week the Lima Group called on Maduro to step down and hand power to the parliament ahead of "democratic elections". "In 19 years there have been 25 elections for all general level positions".

The EU has imposed sanctions on Venezuela over rights abuses, including an arms embargo and travel bans and asset freezes targeting 18 members of the Maduro regime.

Many other countries in Europe and Latin America snubbed Maduro's inauguration ceremony, but the socialist presidents of Cuba and Bolivia, Miguel Diaz-Canel and Evo Morales, showed up to support him.

Maduro was elected with 67.84 percent of the votes. He accuses foreign governments including Latin American nations of seeking to overthrow him.

Still, supporters who receive government subsidies in shantytowns continue to back the man who took over for the late Hugo Chavez.

The economic collapse has thrown the nation of 30 million people into turmoil.

Andy Murray's Former Coach Says Tennis Champion Wants Wimbledon Send Off
The Australian Open gets underway with two big favourites in Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams tipped to take the titles. Open star Maria Sharapova talks about the ups and downs of launching her candy brand ahead of the tournament.

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

But while the opposition has tried every means to dislodge Maduro, it remains fractured and protests left 200 people dead while a request for a referendum was rejected.

Most other countries plan to maintain their embassies and diplomatic relations with Venezuela, according to sources consulted by Reuters.

"Sometimes it's hard to find food because businesses hide it and then say it's the president's fault, even though we all know that's a lie", said Graciela Laya, 43, a homemaker, at a rally near the Supreme Court. Velazquez blamed opportunists who drive up the prices on scarce items making life hard for families like hers.

Others, like 52-year-old construction worker Ramon Bermudez, have lost hope of escaping Maduro's rule.

"Venezuela is the center of a world war led by the North American imperialists and its allies", Maduro said.

The Trump administration has increased pressure on Maduro through financial sanctions, this week singling out powerful Venezuelan media magnate Raul Gorrin. Some said Maduro should do more to crack down on business leaders for raising prices. Bermudez lives with his wife and two children but said many parents have bid farewell to their children rather than endure the crisis.

Maduro, meanwhile, retains control of both the military and political institutions.

Latest News