Isolation greets Maduro's new term as Venezuela's president

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

Government opponents consider him a political prisoner.

The ceremony contrasted with the harsh realities that face the former bus driver turned socialist leader, including hyperinflation, severe food and medicine shortages and an exodus of millions of citizens.

After the inauguration ceremony, Maduro said the ceremony "was a peace step for the country".

"That's the rallying cry of our revolution to the peoples and governments of the world".

The EU remains convinced that a peaceful political democratic solution is the only sustainable way out of the Venezuelan crisis and is engaging with worldwide and regional partners regarding how we might help create the conditions required for a credible political process amongst relevant Venezuelan actors.

The opposition-led Congress opened its session for the year this week, led by 35-year-old Juan Guaido, who vowed to battle against Maduro. "We must disavow that which was not the result of a popular vote".

"Those who refuse to recognize the legitimacy of Venezuela's institutions will be given a reciprocal and opportune response, we'll act very firmly", said Maduro, who has the support of the military and the controversial Constitutional Assembly that he created a year ago to bypass parliament.

Thousands of spectators gathered for the ceremony in Caracas, including Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega, and president of Bolivia Evo Morales.

Both Maduro and Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino Lopez are still in office.

A US government source told Reuters the government believes reports that Padrino threatened to resign if Maduro did not depart are credible.

Supporters, many of whom were public servants identified by t-shirts of state agencies, rallied in the center of Caracas to celebrate the new term.

As stated by the European Union in the Council Conclusions of May 2018, the presidential elections of last May in Venezuela were neither free, nor fair. He blames an "economic war" led by the United States and local opposition adversaries for the country's woes.

The May 2018 election was widely boycotted by the opposition, which described it as a farce that was rigged in his favor.

The resolution was passed in Washington minutes after Maduro was sworn in for a second term in Caracas, Venezuela, and included a demand for new presidential elections - with all necessary guarantees of a free, fair, transparent, and legitimate process - to be held at an early date, attended by worldwide observers.

The United States said it remains steadfast in its support of the Venezuelan people as it will continue to use the full weight of U.S. economic and diplomatic power to press for the restoration of Venezuelan democracy.

He said Venezuela is willing to maintain high-level exchanges with China, share experience in the governance of the country and promote pragmatic cooperation in various fields such as agriculture to jointly build a better future of bilateral relationship.

Peru, which has barred Maduro and other officials from entry into the country, recalled the charge d'affaires from its Caracas embassy. Canada has provided $2.2-million in humanitarian assistance to Venezuela and is a member of the Lima Group of countries that is trying to bring worldwide pressure to bear on the South American country. "It is time for this criminal dictatorship to end".

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