New Delhi: President Nicolas Maduro celebrated the start to a second term as Venezuela’s leader Thursday, but his world got smaller as countries seized upon the inauguration to cut back diplomatic ties, reject his legitimacy and label him a dictator.
Asistimos a posesión del hermano presidente @NicolasMaduro, junto a jefes de Estado y delegaciones diplomáticas de #AméricaLatina, #África y #Asia, que llegaron con la convicción de integración y liberación de los pueblos dignos del mundo. La #PatriaGrande está con #Venezuela. pic.twitter.com/8kP9jmzJL0
— Evo Morales Ayma (@evoespueblo) January 10, 2019
The socialist successor to Hugo Chavez won re-election to a second term last May, in a contest that was denounced as a sham by the United States, Canada and a dozen Latin American nations.
The socialist leader, 56, said his new six-year term was a “step of peace for our country.”
Thousands of spectators gathered for the ceremony in Caracas, including Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega, and president of Bolivia Evo Morales.
Security forces were stationed in the capital and other cities, as opposition groups called for pot-banging and the sounding of horns in protest during the ceremony.
Maduro rejected the accusation, vowing to continue the legacy of the late President Hugo Chavez and accused the United States of trying to ignite unrest through its increasing economic sanctions.
“Venezuela is the center of a world war led by the North American imperialists and its allies,” he declared in a speech after his swearing-in. “They have tried to convert a normal inauguration into a world war.”
Maduro, a 56-year-old former bus driver and Chavez’s hand-picked successor, took the helm of government after narrowly winning election following Chavez’s 2013 death. He denies being a dictator and often accuses President Donald Trump of leading an economic war against Venezuela that is destroying the country.