G7, European Union Unite To Reject Venezuela's Election

Marcus Newton
May 26, 2018

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro announced on Tuesday that his country was expelling two top USA diplomats following vocal criticism from the Trump administration over last Sunday's controversial presidential elections.

Explaining the sanctions in a statement, Trump said, "We call for the Maduro regime to restore democracy, hold free and fair elections, release all political prisoners immediately and unconditionally, and end the repression and economic deprivation of the Venezuelan people".

Maduro announced the expulsions in a nationally televised speech after being officially proclaimed the victor of Sunday's election.

The sanction is aimed at preventing Venezuelan officials selling off state oil assets in return for kickbacks.

In a statement on Tuesday, Venezuela's foreign ministry said the sanctions violated global law and blamed the US "blockade" of the country for "blocking the population's access to basic goods".

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has spoken with Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro over the phone and congratulated him over his presidential election victory, according to Turkish presidential sources.

On Tuesday, Lu refused to issue a statement on the legitimacy of the Venezuelan election yet again, this time asked about a new round of sanctions the United States placed on the Maduro regime in response to the event.

Angela Merkel meets Venezuelan opposition lawmakers in Berlin
Erdogan congratulates Venezuelan leader's election victory

For his part, Maduro called on his opponents to recognize the election result and join him in a dialogue for "national reconciliation".

A social crisis years in the making has worsened as Venezuela's oil production - the source of nearly all of its foreign income - has collapsed to the lowest level in decades and financial sanctions by the Trump administration have made it impossible for the government to renegotiate its debts. One of the two diplomats - the US chief of mission, Todd Robinson - also had vigorously taken the Maduro government to task over the case of Joshua Holt, an American imprisoned in Venezuela.

Maduro was sworn in on Thursday for a second term as president of the Latin American country.

Trump administration officials are known to be considering curbing Venezuelan oil imports, but so far the idea has been discarded for fears it would further raise USA gas prices. He said the two men would have 48 hours to depart the country.

Most analysts say that Venezuela's economic troubles that have caused food and medicine shortages are the result of falling oil prices and the government's economic mismanagement.

But they appeared unlikely to heed the US warnings.

The EU had warned in April that it would consider further sanctions against Venezuela of its own if the elections were not fair. They also expressed the possibility of providing financial support to worldwide groups to strengthen the institutional capacities of countries in the region to deal with the migratory flow of people.

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