World Leaders Begin to Arrive for Maduro Inauguration

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's swearing-in ceremony in Caracas

Venezuela President Maduro sworn in for second term

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro was sworn in to a second term Thursday amid worldwide calls for him to step down and a devastating economic crisis, but with some long-time friends in attendance both from overseas and at home.

In a special session in Washington, the Organization of American States similarly backed a resolution declaring Maduro's government illegitimate.

"A new world has risen up that refuses to be controlled by the imperial and hegemonic orders of a single nation or its satellite countries", Maduro said following his swearing-in.

Maduro's second term coincides with the assumption of power in Brazil of one of his greatest detractors, ultra-conservative Jair Bolsonaro who, backed by US President Donald Trump, is looking to form a regional coalition against the "dictatorship". Inflation is soaring, internal political divisions are deepening and millions of Venezuelans have left the country.

The U.S. and 13 other countries in the Americas said last week that they would not recognize Maduro's presidency.

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Leftist presidents Miguel Diaz-Canel of Cuba, Evo Morales of Bolivia, El Salvador's Salvador Sanchez Ceren and Nicaragua's Daniel Ortega were present for the inauguration, as were representatives of Russia, China and Turkey.

Maduro was elected with 67.84 percent of the votes.

Many prominent opposition figures are either in jail or exile.

Others, like construction worker Ramon Bermudez, have lost hope of escaping Maduro's rule and planned on hunkering down at home for the inauguration.

In May, Maduro declared victory following an election that his political opponents and many foreign nations consider illegitimate because popular opponents were banned from running and the largest anti-government parties boycotted the race.

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"All that's left to do is raise your hand to heaven and ask God to help us", said Bermudez, camped out on a Caracas sidewalk with hundreds of others waiting for gas.

"We call on the armed forces, the majority of men and women in uniform who refuse to be corrupted, to step forward", said Congress chief Juan Guaido at a news conference.

He also demanded "respect" from the European Union, accusing the bloc of "old colonialism" and "old racism" after it said Thursday that Maduro "lacked any credibility".

Pompeo, in the midst of an Africa and Middle East visit, said in a statement that Washington will continue to use all its economic and diplomatic power to push for Venezuelan democracy to be restored, according to USA views.

"Having seized power through fraudulent and anti-democratic elections held on May 20, 2018, the Maduro regime is now fully entrenched as a dictatorship", Freeland said in a statement.

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David Smilde, a Tulane University professor and expert on Venezuela, said that sanctions aren't likely to create change. Ultimately, Maduro's government isn't anxious about its global reputation, he said. The opposition says the government's control of foreign exchange, in place since 2003, has generated $300 billion in illicit gains. It predicts that number will reach 5.3 million by the end of this year.

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