Venezuela's Maduro starts new term as United States decries him as 'usurper'

Peru recalls last diplomat from Venezuela to protest'illegitimate new term

Venezuela President Maduro sworn in for second term

President Nicolas Maduro of Venezuela was greeted by a symphony orchestra at the pro-government Supreme Court where he was sworn in for a second, 6-year term.

The military leadership expresses "its unrestricted support and absolute loyalty to (.) our commander-in-chief, for the period 2019 - 2025", said Padrino. Canada has provided $2.2-million in humanitarian assistance to Venezuela and is a member of the Lima Group of countries that is trying to bring global pressure to bear on the South American country. Following the ceremony on Thursday, Paraguayan leader Mario Abdo Benítez announced that his country would cut ties with Caracas and immediately withdraw all diplomats from the country.

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.

But Cuba's President Miguel Diaz-Canel, Bolivian President Evo Morales and President Anatoli Bibilov of a breakaway province of Georgia were among the few foreign leaders who attended the ceremony at the country's Supreme Court.

The former bus driver says he feels stronger and more legitimate than ever, but many blame him for Venezuela's economic woes that have left much of the population living in poverty with shortages of basic necessities such as food and medicine.

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

But Maduro continues to enjoy consistent support from the armed forces, leaving him with few serious challenges at home despite the worldwide outcry. Bermudez lives with his wife and two children but said many parents have bid farewell to their children rather than endure the crisis.

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He needs to get that form back and the day he does that, I don't think we will need to worry a lot about the middle order. So we had to respect that spell and we wanted to get partnerships.

The EU has imposed sanctions on Venezuela over rights abuses, including an arms embargo and travel bans and asset freezes targeting 18 members of the Maduro regime.

Opposition activists have called for protests on Thursday.

Maduro has successfully maintained power, opposed by a fractured opposition. Maduro's government has jailed or driven into exile its most popular leaders.

"We are a real democracy, here I am, to democratically take the reins of our country to a higher destination, we have complied with the rules and will continue to do so", Maduro said.

According to the United Nations, 2.3 million Venezuelans have fled the country since 2015 to escape economic hardship.

Anti-government politicians successfully rallied thousands to the streets across Venezuela for four months of demonstrations in 2017, when clashes with government forces left more than 120 protesters dead and thousands injured. The opposition says the government's control of foreign exchange, in place since 2003, has generated $300 billion in illicit gains.

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