Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has been sworn in for a second six-year term. His re-election has been dismissed as illegitimate by the Venezuelan opposition and much of the international community. Nevertheless, the presidents of Nicaragua and Bolivia and representatives from China, Turkey, and Mexico were among those who attended Thursday’s event.
CGTN’S Juan Carlos Lamas filed this report from Caracas.
Government supporters gathered in front of Venezuela’s Supreme Court starting early in the morning to show solidarity for President Nicolas Maduro during his swearing-in ceremony, despite international criticism that his election was not legitimate.
“We decided that President Nicolas Maduro will stay as our president from 2019 to 2025,” said Valeria Fernandez, a student. “And the US should know they cannot interfere in Venezuela’s problems. Those problems must be solved by us.”
The President hit hard on that theme during his swearing-in ceremony.
Maduro supporters in their own words
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“Venezuela is at the center of a world war led by the United States’ imperialism and its satellite countries.”
President Maduro said he would welcome an opportunity to meet with his counterparts from the rest of Latin America and the Caribbean to discuss the issues facing Venezuela – among them, staggering hyperinflation and crippling shortages of food and medicine.
Businesses closed throughout much of the capital during the swearing-in ceremony as many people feared opposition protests might take place or become violent. Opponents say Maduro has presided over Venezuela’s economic downfall.
“This hyperinflation along with the government’s incapacity to solve it are slowly destroying our lives,” remarked pensioner Jesus Villareal.
According to the U.N., more than 2 million people have fled the country since Nicolas Maduro first came to power in 2013, some 7 percent of the population.
“The only thing that is safe to predict in the immediate future is that people will have, will find it harder and harder to live in Venezuela, to survive in Venezuela,” said political analyst Phil Gunson. ”We’re likely to see hundreds of thousands perhaps millions more people leave.”
The president took the oath of office on Thursday for a six-year term.
The international community will be watching closely to see what Maduro achieves in the next few months and whether he can guide Venezuela out of its current crisis.
Michael McCarthy discusses Maduro’s inauguration
CGTN’s Mike Walter interviews Michael McCarthy about Nicolas Maduro’s second-term as president.