The president of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro, receives the guests after receiving from the National Electoral Council, CNE, a certificate that declares him winner of the presidential elections, during a ceremony at the CNE headquarters in Caracas, Venezuela, Tuesday, May 22, 2018. (Ariana Cubillos / Associated Press)
by Associated Press May 23 at 9:41 PM
CARACAS, Venezuela – Nicolás Maduro did not waste time consolidating the Power after his disputed victory in the presidency of Venezuela election. He has expelled US diplomats, arrested alleged military conspirators and repressed the last remaining critical newspaper in the country.
The socialist leader won his second six-year term as president of this crisis-ridden country on Sunday despite widespread outrage over the shortage. of food and medicine that have led hundreds of thousands to leave Venezuela in search of a better life.
His main rival and many in the international community accused Maduro of organizing a "fictitious" election through tactics such as banning the main opposition candidates and buying votes by tempting the poor with the promise of a prize.
Maduro quickly returned the blow to his greatest critic, targeting the United States Embbady.
In a speech accepting the results of the elections, Maduro announced that he was ordering the best United States. diplomat, business manager Todd Robinson, and his second, Brian Naranjo, to leave Venezuela in 48 hours. Maduro accused them of encouraging the most powerful opposition politicians, who boycotted the elections in protest.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Wednesday that the United States will reciprocally respond to the expulsion of diplomats. Vice President Mike Pence and President Donald Trump echoed the sentiment.
"This provocation will be resolved with a quick response," Pence said in a tweet repeated by Trump. "We will continue to press the illegitimate regime of Venezuela until democracy is restored."
The State Department announced on Wednesday evening that the charge d'affaires at the Venezuelan Embbady in Washington and the deputy consul general at the Venezuelan consulate in Houston had been ordered to Venezuela's electoral officials say that Maduro beat to his closest rival, Henri Falcon, by approximately 46 points.
Human rights activists in Venezuela, meanwhile, said the Maduro government arrested at least 11 military officers as suspects. in a supposed conspiracy to overthrow the government.
There has been no sign of faltering support from the leadership of the Venezuelan army, which has long been the arbiter of Venezuela's political disputes. On election day, the top commanders went to state television to praise what they described as an impeccable vote across the nation.
Activists Alfredo Romero, executive director of the Criminal Forum lawyers' cooperative, said on Twitter that military courts approved arrests as voters went to the polls.
The authorities did not report or comment on the arrests. So far this year, human rights activists estimate that more than 120 soldiers have been arrested.
In a violent reaction after the elections, a coalition of 14 countries in the Americas, including Brazil, Mexico and Colombia, undertook to reduce diplomatic relations with Venezuela The Spanish Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, denounced that the vote did not respect the "minimum democratic standards".
The Inter-American Development Bank announced that it would suspend new loans to Venezuela for not meeting the $ 88 million in debt payments. This deprives the country with liquidity problems of a potentially important source of financing. Venezuela's debt to the bank amounts to $ 2 billion, bank officials said.
However, in at least a show of support, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called Maduro on Tuesday night to congratulate him, joining China, Russia and Cuba to offer his support. Turkish officials said Maduro and Erdogan "emphasized their determination to develop ties in all areas."
Maduro's government opened an investigation on Tuesday into the online publication of El Nacional, the largest critical newspaper, saying it is suspected that it violated the recently adopted laws against hate promotion.
The National Telecommunications Commission ordered the newspaper to stop publishing content on its website that attempts to disturb peace among residents of Venezuela. The newspaper received 10 days to present its defense.
The editor of El Nacional, Miguel Henrique Otero, described the action as "political reprisal" and said the investigation demonstrates a "persecution of the independent press of the country."
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