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13 January 2019, 07:27 | Darnell Patrick
President Nicolas Maduro speaks on the eve of assuming a new disputed six-year mandate
This Thursday the president of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro, will be sworn in before the Supreme Court of Justice (TSJ) for a second six-year term.
The resolution also underscored that the OAS Permanent Council and the Meeting of Consultation of Foreign Ministers remained ready to engage in diplomatic initiatives, including good offices, aimed at promoting dialogue in Venezuela, with a view to arriving at a political solution to the crisis in that country. In his inaugural address, Maduro said that his victory marked "step of peace for our country".
"This banner does not belong to me, this banner belongs to the rebellious and sovereign people of Venezuela", said the Venezuelan President. "In 19 years there have been 25 elections for all general level positions".
The Venezuelan President added that he hoped to receive the Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis in Venezuela, "where you have the affection and gratitude of a people that cultivates fraternity with the other peoples of the world". Attendees of the ceremony included two longtime backers of the current Venezuelan administration, Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel and Bolivian President Evo Morales.
Many prominent opposition figures are either in jail or exile and various factions continue to squabble over power while the National Assembly, the one institution they control, has been left impotent after Maduro created the rival Constituent Assembly and filled the Supreme Court with loyalists who annul every decision made by parliament.
The economic collapse has left the nation of roughly 30 million in the throes of a historic crisis.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the U.S. would keep up pressure on the Maduro government: "It is time for Venezuelan leaders to make a choice", Pompeo said.
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While the opposition has tried to dislodge Maduro, it remains fractured, having launched a failed bid in March 2016 for a recall referendum aimed at removing Maduro from office before the end of his term.
The United Nations says 2.3 million Venezuelans have fled the country since 2015 because of economic hardship.
"We will not allow them to act without effect or enjoy their ill-gotten gains in the United States - and urge other countries to act likewise". "Today there is no commander-in-chief", Guaido said. Velazquez blamed opportunists who drive up the prices on scarce items making life hard for families like hers.
The release noted that the United States stands behind Venezuela's National Assembly, which it considers to be the only legitimate branch of government duly elected by the Venezuelan people.
Maduro vowed to fight his enemies in the spirit of former president Hugo Chavez, and accused the USA of stoking the unrest through the sanctions. Some said Maduro should do more to crack down on business leaders for raising prices.
"All that's left to do is raise your hand to heaven and ask God to help us", said Bermudez, camped out on a Caracas sidewalk with hundreds of others waiting for gas.
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