Maduro Inauguration: Nicolas Maduro sworn in as Venezuela president

Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro holds a copy of the National Constitution while he speaks during a news conference at Miraflores Palace in Caracas Venezuela

Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro holds a copy of the National Constitution while he speaks during a news conference at Miraflores Palace in Caracas Venezuela

Thousands of spectators gathered for the ceremony in Caracas, including Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega, and president of Bolivia Evo Morales.

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.

"Sadly, I have many neighbors who have cried and have seen their children depart for other countries in search of a future", he said.

"Venezuela is the centre of a world war led by the North American imperialists and its allies", he declared in a speech after his swearing-in.

In his inaugural address, Maduro said that his victory marked "step of peace for our country".

"That's the rallying cry of our revolution to the peoples and governments of the world".

The inauguration took place before the country's Supreme Court instead of its opposition-run Congress, which has been stripped of its powers since Mr Maduro's ruling Socialist Party lost control of it 2016.

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. "We must disavow that which was not the result of a popular vote".

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President Maduro also noted that Prime Minister Harris' presence would provide "an unparalleled opportunity to continue strengthening the relations between our countries". Maduro's government has jailed or driven into exile its most popular leaders.

"Sometimes it's hard to find food because businesses hide it and then say it's the president's fault, even though we all know that's a lie", said Graciela Laya, 43, a homemaker, at a rally near the Supreme Court.

And while Maduro's popularity has plunged amid scarcities, hyperinflation and rising authoritarianism that have sparked a mass emigration, supporters who receive government subsidies in shantytowns continue to back the man who took over for the late Hugo Chavez. He blames an "economic war" led by the United States and local opposition adversaries for the country's woes.

The vote was 19 in favor, eight abstentions and six against.

Earlier this week, Venezuela Supreme Court judge Christian Zerpa fled to the USA in protest over President Nicolás Maduro winning a second term, arguing that the election "was not free and fair".

"It is time for Venezuela to begin a transitional process that can restore the constitutional, democratic order by holding free and fair elections that respect the will of the Venezuelan people", U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement. Diplomatic ties were formalized between Venezuela and St. Kitts and Nevis on October 31, 1983. The charge d'affaires had been the last Peruvian diplomat in the country, with the two countries exchanging hostilities beginning in 2017, with Lima accusing Caracas of "breaking with democratic rule" and Caracas labelling Peruvian President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski an "enemy" of Venezuela, accusing him of interfering with the country's internal affairs.

Maduro called Peru's government "ridiculous" for announcing that it plans to prohibit Maduro and other high-ranking Venezuelan officials from entering its territory.

As stated by the European Union in the Council Conclusions of May 2018, the presidential elections of last May in Venezuela were neither free, nor fair.

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