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Venezuela

US vows to sanction Venezuela following Maduro’s ‘sham, illegitimate’ election

The Trump administration vows economic and diplomatic actions to ‘support the restoration’ of Venezuelan democracy

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 22 May, 2018, 1:40am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 22 May, 2018, 2:05am

The US threatened new sanctions against the Venezuelan government Monday after an opposition-boycotted election that Washington denounced as a “sham” and “illegitimate”.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo vowed “swift economic and diplomatic actions” in the wake of elections that kept Nicolas Maduro in power and which observers described as deeply flawed.

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US Vice-President Mike Pence said the election was “a sham – neither free nor fair. The illegitimate result of this fake process is a further blow to the proud democratic tradition of Venezuela.”

The White House is expected to announce sanctions to “support the restoration” of Venezuelan democracy later Monday.

“The United States will not sit idly by as Venezuela crumbles and the misery of their brave people continues,” Pence said.

Venezuela is already deep in the worst economic crisis of its history, with its citizens enduring food and medicine shortages that have sparked violent unrest and a mass exodus by hundreds of thousands of people.

Election officials said Maduro won 68 per cent of the votes cast in Sunday’s presidential election, far ahead of the 21 per cent won by his nearest rival, former army officer Henri Falcon.

But the vote was marred by a 52 per cent abstention rate – a historic high – after a boycott called by the Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD) opposition coalition, which slammed the ballot as a “farce”.

Even before it took place, the United States, Canada, the European Union and a dozen Latin American countries said they would not recognise the results.

“Until the Maduro regime restores a democratic path in Venezuela through free, fair and transparent elections, the government faces isolation from the international community,” Pompeo said.