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US Refuses To Recognize Venezuelan President, Pledges Support To Opposition

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The US Government vowed that it will not recognize Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, who was sworn in for a second term, and pledged support to the country's Opposition.

Having easily won the presidential election boycotted by the Opposition parties in May, the authoritarian Maduro has consolidated his power and assumed office for a second six-year term Thursday.

Major Opposition parties boycotted the election alleging that the electoral system was rigged in favor of the President.

The United States was the first country to react to Maduro's inauguration. "The US will not recognize the Maduro dictatorship's illegitimate inauguration," national security advisor John Bolton said on Twitter Thursday.

"We will continue to increase pressure on the corrupt regime, support the democratic National Assembly, and call for democracy and freedom in Venezuela," he tweeted.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called on the people of Venezuela not to co-operate with Maduro, but with the Opposition-controlled National Assembly.

"We urge those who support this regime, from everyday employees getting by on food subsidies to the Venezuelan security forces sworn to support the constitution, to stop enabling repression and corruption and to work with the National Assembly and its duly elected leader, Juan Guaido, in accordance with your constitution on a peaceful return to democracy," Pompeo said in a statement.

In response to the Nicolas Maduro regime's attempt to bypass US economic sanctions by launching a national cryptocurrency, Petro, the Trump administration imposed a fresh round of sanctions targeting Venezuelan government associates in March last year.

Washington alleges that President Maduro decimated the Venezuelan economy and spurred a humanitarian crisis.

Inflation in the socialist nation has spiralled, creating food and medicine shortages, and triggering an exodus of Venezuelans to neighbouring countries. The national currency bolivar lost its value.

It was in this context that the Maduro administration launched the Petro, aiming to ease the country's economic crisis, and circumvent U.S.-led sanctions.

He introduced a currency reform in August, and allocated five billion barrels of oil to back Petro.

But the reforms have not helped Venezuela's economy recover from the pressure of the sanctions, falling oil revenue and the plunging value of its fiat currency.

Late last month, Venezuela filed a complaint against U.S. sanctions before the World Trade Organization.

The Venezuelan National Assembly has declared Petro as illegitimate, but the newly formed Constitutional Assembly, which is loyal to Maduro, had stripped the former of its legislative powers.

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