United States threatens retaliation as Venezuela expels diplomats

United States threatens retaliation as Venezuela expels diplomats

In last eight years, Washington and Caracas haven't exchanged ambassadors and since the late leftist President Hugo Chavez, Maduro's mentor, assumed power in 1999, the situation between the two countries have been tensed. But his main challengers alleged irregularities and refused to recognize the result.

It's a lesson Venezuela could learn the hard way following harsh global reaction to that country's presidential election Sunday which returned President Nicolas Maduro to another six-year term in power.

Maduro won 68 percent of the vote, but 52 percent of voters did not cast ballots - a historic abstention rate.

"The revolution is here to stay!" Maduro told cheering supporters outside the presidential palace in Caracas. But in Venezuela, it pales in comparison to the epic shortages of food, medicine, electricity, and safe drinking water.

"We energetically reject the accusations against me and against Brian Naranjo", said Robinson, in comments streamed live on Facebook by local media.

The U.S., the European Union and - in an unprecedented move - the Lima group, made up of 13 Latin American countries plus Canada, all essentially called Sunday's election a fake.

Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro claimed victory in a low-turnout election that is widely viewed as rigged, raising the threat of more painful sanctions from the United States.

A social crisis years in the making has worsened as Venezuela's oil production - the source of nearly all of its foreign income - has collapsed to the lowest level in decades and financial sanctions by the Trump administration have made it impossible for the government to renegotiate its debts.

The timing is also not fortuitous for the Trump administration to target Venezuela's oil sector.

The foreign minister also blamed the US "blockade" of Venezuela for the country's lack of access to basic goods, according to Reuters.

Moreover the Venezuela's foreign ministry released a statement referring to the United States sanctions "a crime against humanity".

The diplomatic row over re-election of Venezuelan President Nicholas Maduro has been spreading like a wildfire in South America. Maduro has counted on the support of China and Russian Federation, which have provided billions of dollars in funding in recent years.

These elections could have been a crucial opportunity for all Venezuelan citizens to express, through a democratic, free and transparent process, their political will and thereby determine the future of the country.

Caracas is facing increasing global isolation, with the United States, the European Union and the 14 countries of the Lima Group, which includes Argentina, Brazil and Canada, refusing to recognize the election result.

The prime ministers of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Antigua and Barbuda resoundingly congratulated Maduro on his second win. "The overuse of sanctions gives a dictator who's mismanaging a country the ability to say, 'You're suffering because of Uncle Sam, ' whereas in reality they're suffering because Maduro has run his country into the ground".

"What happened in Venezuela on Sunday is truly freaky".

He rejected the result soon after polls closed and called for a repeat election.

The mainstream opposition coalition boycotted Sunday's vote, calling it a sham aimed at legitimizing Maduro's rule.

Major protests, like those seen a year ago and in 2014, seem unlikely, given widespread disillusionment and fatigue.

Demonstrators did barricade some streets in the southern city of Puerto Ordaz, drawing teargas from the National Guard, witnesses said.

In a related development, US President Donald Trump has signed an executive order restricting Maduro's government from selling off, or borrowing against, public assets. The bolivar currency is down well over 99 percent over the past year and annual inflation is at almost 14,000 percent, according to the opposition-led National Assembly. "The Venezuelan crisis is not only a national issue, a national crisis created only by Venezuela. The third act will be the levying of sanctions on oil companies, the U.S. may possibly block any oil exports just like it has been obstructing oil companies' access to the worldwide banking system to prevent any deals involving Venezuelan oil", Pshenichnikov noted.

Trading of Venezuelan government and PDVSA debt was mixed but volumes remained thin in NY on Monday afternoon, with election results considered a formality and offering little to change investor viewpoints.

Related Articles