ANOTHER TERM: Venezuela's Socialist President Sworn-in for SECOND Six-Year Term

Venezuela President Maduro sworn in for second term

In a statement issued on behalf of the European Union, the bloc's diplomatic chief Federica Mogherini said the result of May's elections "lacked any credibility" and condemned Maduro for ignoring worldwide calls for new polls.

The United States of America has imposed sanctions against seven individuals and 23 entities believed to be involved in a corruption scheme to exploit Venezuela's currency exchange practices. He vowed to continue the legacy of the late President Hugo Chavez and accused the United States of trying to ignite unrest through its increasing economic sanctions.

Brussels has repeatedly criticised the elections that returned Maduro to office as unfair and the European Union and its 28 member states shunned his inauguration to a new six-year mandate on Thursday. Governments around the world also described it as illegitimate.

"Venezuela is at the center of a world war led by the United States imperialism and its satellite countries", Maduro declared. The move was denounced by Venezuela's ambassador to the OAS, Samuel Moncada, as "a hostile act ... against the will of our nation". Shortly after being sworn in, Paraguay announced the end of diplomatic ties with Venezuela.

It was approved with 19 votes in favour, six against, and eight abstentions, with one member absent. Argentina suspended Venezuelan diplomatic and official passports for banned high-ranking members of Maduro's administration from entering.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the USA would keep up pressure on the Maduro government: "It is time for Venezuelan leaders to make a choice", Pompeo said.

Opposition leaders have portrayed the inauguration as the moment at which Maduro will be internationally branded a dictator, following a widely boycotted 2018 election that many foreign governments described as a farce. Polls show that Maduro's approval rating was 21%, however he won 68% of the vote in the recent election.

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"Nicolas Maduro today is making a mockery of democracy" Macri said on Twitter.

With the exception of Mexico, the Lima Group - made up of 14 mostly Latin American countries - has urged Maduro to renounce his second term and deliver power to parliament.

"I swear to construct socialism of the 21st century", Mr Maduro said as he was inaugurated by the loyalist head of the Venezuelan supreme court. Output has plummeted to less than a third of that.

Discontent within the military's ranks has grown as Venezuela's economic collapse has deepened, prompting millions to migrate.

The International Monetary Fund predicts that Venezuela's economy will shrink by five percent next year with inflation - which reached 1.35 million percent in 2018 - hitting a staggering 10 million percent.

An estimated 2.3 million Venezuelans have fled, according to the United Nations. Internal polling demonstrates that the most popular option for political change is a negotiated solution, though this is unlikely given that an organised opposition movement has thus far failed to precipitate change.

After being presented with the presidential sash, an ebullient Maduro turned to salute the crowd with a V-sign.

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