Condemnations Flow Around Globe After Maduro's Win in Venezuela

(Bloomberg) -- Venezuela’s newly re-elected President Nicolas Maduro woke up on Monday to a flurry of international condemnation, threats and few congratulations.

From Germany to Chile, leaders across the world said they will not recognize Venezuela’s Sunday elections as legitimate and voiced intentions to ramp up sanctions against the government of president Maduro, who just secured another six-year term. While Maduro was re-elected with almost 68 percent of the vote, turnout was the weakest for a presidential election since Chavez took over in 1999. But even that figure seemed optimistic as many voting centers in Caracas were scarcely visited for most of the day on Sunday.

“Venezuela’s election was a sham ­– neither free nor fair," U.S. Vice President Mike Pence said in a statement on Monday. “The United States will not sit idly by as Venezuela crumbles and the misery of their brave people continues."

Pence’s comments echoes those of U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who said in a separate statement the U.S. will take "swift economic and diplomatic actions" to help restore democracy in Venezuela. Earlier on Monday, the 14-nation Lima Group said in a statement it would not recognize the vote and would call its respective ambassadors to reduce the level of diplomatic relations with the country. G20 nations’ foreign ministers are planning to discuss the need for further sanctions following the election, U.K. Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson told reporters in Buenos Aires.

“The feeling I get from talking to my counterparts is that they see no alternative to economic pressure,” Johnson said. “But in the end, as one politician in this area said, things have got to get worse before they get better -- and we may have to tighten the economic screw on Venezuela.”

But Maduro still has a couple of allies. Cuba’s President Miguel Diaz-Canel congratulated the president on his "conclusive victory" and reaffirmed the island’s solidarity. Chinese and Russian officials asked for Venezuela’s vote to be respected and rejected any potential U.S. interference.

“In the face of any new challenge you can count, as always, on Cuba’s solidarity,” Diaz-Canel wrote.

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