Nicolás Maduro swears in as president in Venezuela in the midst of a historical rejection

Nicolas Maduro
  • EFE

This Thursday, January 10 was set as a decisive date in the political map of South America, with the inauguration of Nicolás Maduro as president of Venezuela for the period between 2019 and 2025. The worldwide rejection was categorical and from this moment a new course begins in the oil nation that is literally walking on the cornice of debacle or salvation.

The ratification in the position of Maduro, dates of the presidential elections advanced in the month of May of the past year, that were cataloged like fraudulent after to have been summoned by part of the National Constituent Assembly (NCA), parallel organ to the National Assembly (NA) elected via popular in December 2016.

Since last Friday the pronouncements that have been made throughout a year, took force when the Lima Group expressed its outright rejection of the legitimacy of the Venezuelan president as president in the new period. This fact gained strength with the renewal of the leading line of the NA, which appointed Juan Guaidó as the new president.

Guaidó said that the lack of recognition of Nicolás Maduro as president from Thursday is still stand, as well as assume the commitment to take the leadership of the country as the Constitution establishes in case of a power vacuum that would be raised according to the arguments stablished from the opposition, both nationally and internationally levels.

Before the decision of the NA, the Supreme Court of Justice (SCJ) chaired by Maikel Moreno declared the Parliament in contempt, so he urged Maduro to assume the mandate in the legislative palace facilities as it happened. This action detonated a chain of reactions in the world against the so-called Venezuelan regime.

Amidst entanglements in the protocolary speech, isolated demonstrations outside the capital of Venezuela and a repetitive address by Nicolás Maduro, the investiture of the criticized president of this nation was carried out thrue a transmission on the radio and television and the first rejection came from Paraguay.

Marbio Abdo Benítez, Paraguayan president, went immediately to declare that he ordered “the closure of the embassy and the immediate withdrawal of the diplomatic personnel... I ask the countries of the world to express themselves with concrete facts in favor of the Venezuelan people". As the matter of fact, the breaking of relations between both countries is official.

In Argentina, from early hours could be see posters with the message "order of eviction" in the Venezuelan embassy, in addition to the accusations of the gaucho leader Mauricio Macri against Maduro, accusing him of "becoming himself the victim, when he is the victimizer", via twitter from his personal account.

Although the Group of Lima is conformed by an important number of countries against the investiture of Nicolás Maduro, the OAS also raised its voice and strongly, and with 19 votes in favor of 34 in total (6 against, 8 abstentions and 1 absence), qualified this appointment as illegitimate and, therefore, do not recognize the Venezuelan president.

This measure was described as a coup by the Venezuelan deputy minister for North America, Samuel Moncada, who also qualified "the resolution presented today is a legal folly, an abuse of power, a crime of aggression and a coup d'état, all with the purpose of promoting chaos and foreign military intervention that would destroy not only peace in Venezuela but throughout the region".

The European Union expressed through the head of diplomacy, Federica Mogherini, that it regrets "the oath that passes over the popular will, which clearly expressed that the autonomy of the NA must be respected... the electoral process that would allow this taking of power, did not provide the necessary guarantees for the celebration of inclusive and democratic elections".

As in an act of premonition, Nicolás Maduro had words for the European continent in his speech after being sworn in, indicating in a clear contradiction that in this region they are well seen and even a French yellow vest he received as a gift, and just one minute later, accusing this entire continent of racism, slavery and abuse against Venezuelan citizens.

The last to express its individual position was United States, which through John Bolton, White House National Security Advisor, indicated that USA does not recognize the newly sworn president and that they will elevate the pressure over the members of the government.

For his part, Mike Pompeo, secretary of State, stressed in a parallel statement that "it is time for Venezuela to begin a transition process that can restore the democratic and constitutional order through the holding of fair and free elections that respect the will of the Venezuelan people".

Also the US ambassador to the Organization of American States (OAS), Carlos Trujillo, said that his country has "a commitment" with the Venezuelan people and said they will do "everything possible" for that country "return to democracy".

In statements to the journalists after the extraordinary meeting of the Permanent Council of the OAS in which was agreed "not to recognize the legitimacy" of the new mandate of Nicolás Maduro, Trujillo stressed that "the majority of countries in the hemisphere, including Haiti", supported “democracy (and) human rights in Venezuela".

"And you are currently seeing it in Caracas, when none of the sovereign, democratic countries in the world are going to congratulate the dictator Nicolás Maduro", he added.

Trujillo said that Maduro "has violated the Constitution" and indicated that the elections of May 20 last year, in which he was re-elected, were not recognized by "any legitimate international group".

Thus, Washington joins the European Union (EU) and the so-called Group of Lima, consisting of Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Panama, Paraguay, Peru and Saint Lucia, in repudiation of the takeover of Maduro.

However, the General Secretariat of the UN assured today that it will continue working with the Venezuelan Government during the second term of Nicolás Maduro and stressed that it is not its task to recognize or not recognize heads of state.

"We have seen the decisions taken by a number of countries, the general secretary, the secretariat, we are not dedicated to recognize heads of state or not to recognize heads of state", spokesman Stéphane Dujarric said at his daily press conference.

Juan Guaidó, main protagonist from the constitutional side in this whole issue because he is the president of the NA, dodged the responsibility of taking the reins of the nation. He indicated that this Friday, he calls an open-air town hall at the headquarters of the UN in Caracas at 11 am Venezuelan time, in order to "set the course of action to be taken with respect to Maduro", as well as he does a call to the Armed Forces of the nation to preserve the country's democracy.

According to the Constitution of Venezuela, when a power vacuum is presented as Guaidó himself claimed when he was sworn in as president of the NA, is the owner of the position that now holds himself who should take the helm of the nation, to call elections in 30 days and restore the political order within the territory.

The Government of Panama did not send a representation to the investiture this Thursday of Nicolás Maduro and analyzes a protest note sent by Venezuela for its position as part of the Group of Lima. Panama is part of the so-called Group of Lima and for that reason "a Venezuelan protest response is being analyzed" referring to the group's position, which does not recognize the re-election of Maduro, added the source to Acan-Efe.

Venezuela on Wednesday alerted the Lima Group that it will take "the most urgent and crude diplomatic measures" against the countries of this forum if they do not rectify their position regarding the government of Nicolás Maduro, who was asked in its last statement not to assume a new mandate of 6 years.

"Today, this note of diplomatic protest was delivered to all the governments of the 'cartel of Lima', where we demand a rectification of their positions on Venezuela in 48 hours or the Venezuelan Government will take the most urgent and crude diplomatic measures for the defense of integrity of the sovereignty", Maduro said at a press conference with international media.

The Venezuelan government delivered through its chancellor, Jorge Arreaza, protest notes to 13 of the 14 countries that make up the Group of Lima, although the content of these was not disclosed.

The Group of Lima is integrated of Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru and Saint Lucia.

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