Maduro was sworn in as President of Venezuela for the 2019-2025 term in a move that has earned him the repudiation of the international community and the vast majority of Venezuelans.
After the opposition-controlled National Assembly announced that it would not swear Maduro in in protest, the regime announced that Maduro would be sworn in instead by the Tribunal Supremo de Justicia (TSJ), the country’s top court.
While the move is legal according to the Venezuelan constitution, it is further evidence of the regime’s authoritarianism given that the TSJ is stacked with hand-picked regime loyalists.
At full display was Maduro’s status as an international pariah. The inauguration was scantily attended. Only five heads of state made the trip to Caracas: those of NIcaragua, El Salvador, Cuba, Bolivia, and South Ossetia, a region that is not recognized as a country by the United Nations.
Below, Maduro poses with three of the five heads of state who attended the event. From left to right: Salvador Sanchez Ceren (El Salvador), Evo Morales (Bolivia), Maduro, and Miguel Diaz-Canel (Cuba):
Groups of supporters began gathering outside the vicinity of the TSJ building starting in the early morning hours:
Images from the scene as Maduro arrived:
After being sworn in, Maduro gave a lengthy speech in which he said that Venezuela was “the centre of a world war”, and attacked the international community for rejecting his presidency.
The inauguration was broadcast live on Periscope, and you can watch it here.
Protests, Regional Rejection Marks Inauguration
As Maduro was being sworn in as president, the Organization of America States (OAS) passed a resolution “to not recognize the legitimacy of Nicolas Maduro’s new term”, citing the fraudulent May 20 election as the reason.
The resolution calls on all members of the OAS to take active measures against the regime, including:
… in accordance with international law and their national legislation, diplomatic, political, economic and financial measures that they consider appropriate, to contribute to the prompt restoration of the democratic order of Venezuela.
The same resolution calls for “new Presidential elections”, this time “free, fair, and transparent”, so that Venezuelans can have the chance to actually elect the person they want to lead the country.
The resolution was passed with 19 votes in favour, 6 against, and 8 abstentions.
Independent of the maneuvering at the OAS, several regional countries responded individually to Maduro’s inauguration:
- Argentina said that it will not recognize Maduro as president, and has blocked “high ranking members of the Venezuelan regime” entry into the country.
- The United States said that “it will not recognize the illegitimate inauguration”.
- Paraguay broke all diplomatic relations with Venezuela. The country’s president, Mario Abdo, announced the closing of its embassy in Caracas and the withdrawal of all diplomatic officials in a press conference in which he called other nations to take “concrete steps” against the regime.
- Peru recalled its charge d’affaires in Caracas for consultations.
- Chile’s Foreign Affairs minister called Maduro “a donkey” and “a dictator”.
- Canada issued a statement saying that Maduro had lost “any remaining appearance of legitimacy” today, and said that the regime was now “a fully entrenched dictatorship”.
- The European Union issued a statement stressing that the May 20 elections were “neither free nor fair”, and that Maduro’s inauguration means that a peaceful and prompt solution to the crisis is now “even more” distant.
In Peru, Venezuelans gathered outside of the embassy in Lima to protest the inauguration:
At one point, some of the protesters managed to break through the gate of the embassy:
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