Maduro wins another term as opponents cry foul about election

Latin America

Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro and his wife Cilia Flores wave to supporters at the presidential palace in Caracas, Venezuela, Sunday, May 20, 2018. Electoral officials declared the socialist leader the winner of Sunday’s presidential election, while his leading challenger questioned the legitimacy of a vote marred by irregularities and called for a new ballot to prevent a brewing social crisis from exploding. (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos)

President Maduro has won another term as president in Venezuela, following an election boycotted by the opposition and described as a “sham” by the U.S. government.

President Trump has since imposed further sanctions on the Venezuelan economy.

CGTN’s Stephen Gibbs is in Caracas with more.

For Nicolas Maduro’s supporters, it was a reason to celebrate.

Another six years, for Latin America’s most controversial leader.

He believes he has proved his critics wrong.

“Thank you for overcoming so many aggressions, so many lies. Thank you for joining in so many battles and thank you for making me president of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela for the period 2019 through 2025. Thank you beloved people of Venezuela,” Maduro said.

Many are questioning the validity of the victory. Henri Falcon, Maduro’s main rival in the election, boycotted by most of the Venezuelan opposition. He said there were serious discrepancies, enough for him to said there wasn’t really an election.

His chief complaint involved these red tents, which were set up outside almost all polling stations. They were staffed by socialist party representatives taking note of voters’ ID card numbers. Critics of the government said this is tantamount to buying votes, as the same ID cards are required to receive subsidized food.

Complaints like that prompted the US government to declare the election “fake”. President Trump on Monday signed an executive order, preventing the US entities from buying or selling any debt issued by Venezuela or its national oil company, PDVSA turning the screws on the already troubled economy here.

Several Latin America nations, including Venezuela’s neighbors Colombia and Brazil, have also said they will not recognize the result, and are considering their own financial sanctions.

President Maduro is not entirely alone. Sympathetic governments in this region, including Cuba, Bolivia, El Salvador, have offered their support. But the economic pressure is mounting.