Venezuela’s socialist leader Nicolas Maduro faced fresh international censure on Monday after re-election in a vote foes denounced as a farce cementing autocracy in the crisis-stricken OPEC nation.
Declaring Sunday’s vote a “sham,” the United States is now threatening sanctions on Venezuela’s all-important oil sector, which is already reeling from falling output, a brain-drain and creaking infrastructure.
The European Union and major Latin Americans repeatedly warned in advance that conditions were unfair.
Chile’s President Sebastian Pinera was scathing about Sunday’s vote. “Venezuela’s elections do not meet minimum standards of true democracy,” he said. “Like most major democratic nations, Chile does not recognize these elections.”
Panama’s government followed suit, quickly saying it would not recognize the result. But fellow leftist-run nations Cuba and El Salvador sent congratulations.