United States denounces Venezuela vote as illegitimate

Tuesday, 22 May, 2018

Turnout was 46 per cent, the election board said, way down from the 80 per cent at the last presidential vote in 2013.

"We will be the most powerful and largest political force in Venezuela for a long time", he told a festive crowd of die-hard supporters who poured into the grounds of the presidential palace to celebrate. "You trusted in me and I will respond".

"If you're sick and the doctor gives you few days to live, you don't lay in bed waiting to die", she said.

"The United States stands with democratic nations in support of the Venezuelan people and will take swift economic and diplomatic actions to support the restoration of their democracy", Pompeo said in a statement.

Chile's President Sebastian Pinera said after the results of the vote were announced: "Venezuela's elections do not meet minimum standards of true democracy". Maduro's leading challenger has questioned the legitimacy of the vote and called for new balloting.

It also vowed they would "reduce their level of diplomatic relations" with Venezuela in response to a vote it said didn't meet global standards. "I'm going to stubbornly and obsessively insist in dialogue for peace". "If the other right wing countries that are supported by the United States want to dialogue, I am open to that", he said.

There is no indication in the statement that the Lima Group countries will permanently pull their ambassadors from Caracas.

It also stated that the signatory countries would "decrease their diplomatic relations with Venezuela" and call back their ambassadors in Caracas for "consultation".

Most opposition organisers had urged Venezuelans not to participate in an election from which the most popular anti-government leaders had been banned.

Maduro's chief rival for the presidency was Henri Falcon, a former state governor and onetime loyalist of the ruling party who broke ranks in 2010.

Mr Maduro also fell well short of the 10 million votes he said he wanted to win throughout the campaign. After the vote, Falcón said he wouldn't recognize the result, due to widespread irregularities.

Falcon called on election officials to shut them down, calling it a "pressure mechanism, an element of political and social blackmail" directed at a poorer sector of the population. Rival candidates have rejected the electoral process and called for new elections. If Mr Maduro presses forward, he warned, Venezuela will explode before his new six-year term is scheduled to begin in January. The country now finds itself in the middle of a financial crisis, and the International Monetary Fund expects inflation in Venezuela to reach 13,000% in 2018.

"The Americans have been maintaining sanctions pressure on Venezuela, limiting the country's companies' access to the worldwide banking system, thus exacerbating the economic crisis" he said. "Every day, thousands of Venezuelans flee brutal oppression and grinding poverty - literally voting with their feet".

"Nothing is normal", said citizen Carmen Herrera. "Now we all see how people vote, don't we?" he added.

Falcon said his campaign found "red points" at 86 perecent of polling sites nationwide.