World leaders to skip Nicolas Maduro inauguration as Venezuela prepares for 'sham presidency'


Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro will be sworn-in for a second, six-year term on Thursday despite his country's continued economic spiral that has sparked the region's worst ever migration crisis.

Maduro's new term will bring further international presssure on Caracas as dozens of countries have called his May re-election fraudulent and pledged not to recognise his new government.

The European Union is expected to release a strongly worded warning hinting that further EU sanctions could be levied on the country, should the president continue to flout human rights and the rule of law.

Guy Verhofstadt, the influential MEP and leader of the liberals in the European Parliament, told the Telegraph, "The EU should no longer recognise the legality or legitimacy of Nicolas Maduro's sham presidency."

The lack of international recognition will be apparent from the lack of foreign visitors inauguration ceremony for Maduro, due to be held at 10 am outside the Supreme Court building. Only Cuba and Bolivia have confirmed their presidents will attend, while a handful of other countries will send diplomats.

Plans to organize a mass boycott of the investiture ceremony by all 28 EU ambassadors to Venezuela appeared to have fallen foul of divisions in the bloc, however.

The Telegraph understands that the Spanish and Greek ambassadors will attend, but Britain's will not.

Other drastic proposals within Latin America, such as the withdrawal of diplomatic missions from the country or the appointment of a parallel president in exile, have also been rejected for now.

The isolation and new sanctions could also spark further defections from Maduro's government circle. On Saturday, former Supreme Tribunal Justice Christian Zerpa fled to the US, telling Miami broadcaster EVTV he was "disavowing" the Maduro government.

"I believe (Maduro) does not deserve a second chance because the election he supposedly won was not free and competitive," he said.

In his new term Maduro will deal with a country in disarray, facing an unprecedented economic crisis with some economists now projecting inflation to reach 10 million percent in 2019. Since 2015, UN figures show that three million Venezuelans have fled their country and two million could leave this year alone.

Even the most basic daily tasks have become nearly impossible; there are shortages of plastic for debit cards, the paper used for making passports, and shortages of medicines and foods continue. The currency is so worthless that vendors across the border in Colombia make bags and wallets using the bills.

"I want somebody to just take this regime out," said Jacqueline Torres, 48, outside of a Caracas bank on Wednesday. She had her husband had travelled an hour to Caracas and spent the morning going from bank to bank to get a new debit card, but none had the plastic needed.

Torres, who suffers from a back injury, wants to travel to Colombia for medical exams, but hasn't received her passport, even though she applied for the document a year ago.

"We're bad off, and they have kidnapped the public institutions," she said. "We can't do anything."

Many of the millions with plans to leave the country view Thursday's inauguration as the end of any hope for change.

"If I stay here, I won't be able to do what I want and won't be able to maintain myself," said Williams Blanco, 30, who plans to leave for Ecuador by bus in three months. "I haven't bought new shoes in three years, so that gives you an idea," said the freelance actor and producer.

To squash any discontent, Maduro will rely on the armed forces and paramilitary groups known locally as colectivos, as he did during 2017 street protests.

In the days preceding the inauguration, local media have reported caravans of government supporters, including masked men on truck beds, passing through downtown Caracas. In one of the city's most emblematic slums, traditionally a bastion of pro-government support, government supporters fired guns into the air on rooftops.

"We're defending the homeland with arms," colectivo leader Valentín Santana told local outlet Cronica Uno.


More Related News

Maduro Vows `Deep
Maduro Vows `Deep' Change in Venezuela Government Amid Pressure

"I will in the coming hours announce new government methods and a profound change in the entire government of Venezuela," Maduro said in a speech at a political rally broadcast on state television. Maduro himself faces pressure to step down amid one of the worst economic crises in the country's history

Venezuela's Guaido says government doesn't 'dare' arrest him

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) - Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido on Thursday said the government was too dysfunctional to arrest him, in what amounted to a direct challenge to President Nicolas Maduro after a key opposition figure was detained in an overnight raid.

Venezuela risks US reaction by arresting Guaido
Venezuela risks US reaction by arresting Guaido's chief of staff

President Nicolas Maduro's regime in Venezuela Thursday defied US warnings to leave the opposition alone by arresting in a predawn raid the chief of staff to Juan Guaido, recognized by Washington as the country's interim leader. Guaido and the opposition-ruled congress said on Twitter that Roberto Marrero was grabbed by SEBIN intelligence agency officers in his Caracas home and taken to an "unknown" location. The United States has repeatedly warned Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's government against arresting Guaido or his aides and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo quickly called for Marrero's release.

Venezuelan forces kidnap opposition leader Juan Guaido's chief of staff in raid
Venezuelan forces kidnap opposition leader Juan Guaido's chief of staff in raid

Venezuelan armed intelligence officers descended on the apartment of Roberto Marrero, a lawyer and top adviser to opposition leader Juan Guaido.

Venezuela's Guaido says intelligence agents detained his chief of staff
  • World
  • 2019-03-21 13:02:04Z

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, in a post on Twitter on Thursday, called for Roberto Marrero's immediate release and said "we will hold accountable those involved." The United States has repeatedly warned Maduro not to move against Guaido. Maduro, who has overseen a dramatic collapse

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply


Top News: Latin America

Hit "Like"
Don't miss any important news
Thanks, you don't need to show me this anymore.