Venezuelan President expels two top USA diplomats

Venezuela

Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro greets supporters after being confirmed winner of the May 20 elections

Hours after the United States of America slammed a fresh round of new sanctions on Venezuela over the re-election of President Nicholas Maduro, the feisty leader has retaliated by expelling a top U.S. diplomat.

A coalition of 14 nations from throughout the Americas, including Brazil, Mexico and Colombia, pledged to scale back diplomatic relations with Venezuela and urge global organizations not to issue Venezuela any new credit.

Latin American and European countries should move fast to impose individual financial and visa sanctions on top Venezuelan officials, their relatives and straw men.

The Venezuelan leader announced the move after being officially proclaimed victor of Sunday's election, which was boycotted by the opposition and criticised by the worldwide community.

"These sanctions that the USA is imposing...are preventing the Venezuelan government from borrowing any additional funds on worldwide markets... making it hard for them to really fund any sort of economic recovery", said Alexander Maine of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in an interview with RT. Leaders with the nation's fragmented opposition declared the widespread abstention a silent but forceful protest and vowed to regroup moving forward.

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Maduro also appeared to be responding to escalating US sanctions on Venezuela and being branded a "dictator" by the Trump administration. Maduro told cheering supporters outside the presidential palace in Caracas. He has not outlined firm policies, but has promised to prioritize economic recovery after five years of crippling recession that has seen many struggle with chronic shortages of food, medicines and other basic necessities.

A number of countries, including the United States and Canada, have refused to recognize Maduro's victory in the Sunday election.

KCNA ran another piece today saying that United States sanctions were "aimed at regime change" and "not confined to Venezuela only".

Falcon was joined in his demand for a new election by third-place finisher Javier Bertucci, who won around 11 percent of the vote.

There was a very low voter turnout, and the BBC placed the percentage at 54%, in stark contrast to the average of 79% during the last three presidential elections.

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Mr. Maduro assumed power when Hugo Chavez died in 2013.

But he showed no sign of replaying Sunday's vote.

In the lead-up to the vote, Mr. Robinson took a less confrontational tone than that coming from Washington Republicans, most notably Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, who posted a picture of a prison jumpsuit after Mr. Cabello was sanctioned, implying that the Venezuelan would be jailed. He said they must leave for the "dignity and independence" of Venezuela. Maduro accused his opponents of trying to "demonize" a program meant to address the social crisis and not assert political control. "I repudiate all the sanctions that are sought against the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, because they harm it, they generate suffering for the people of Venezuela", said Maduro.

"The Lima Group recalled their ambassadors to Caracas in the second act, which seems to be aimed at isolating President Nicolas Maduro and Venezuela on the global stage".

Opinion polls say the overwhelming majority of Venezuelans distrust the electoral council.

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