Peru, Paraguay recall diplomats over Maduro inauguration

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's new term has been widely condemned as illegitimate.

    Maduro has accused his critics of plotting a coup [Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters]
    Maduro has accused his critics of plotting a coup [Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters]

    Peru and Paraguay recalled their diplomats from Venezuela on Thursday, shortly after President Nicolas Maduro began his second term after winning a controversial election last year. 

    Peru said it recalled its charge d'affaires from its embassy in Venezuela to protest what it called the "illegitimate" new term of Maduro, according to the Peruvian Foreign Ministry.

    In a statement on Thursday, the ministry said Maduro and 100 others linked to him or his government would be banned from entry to Peru.

    Maduro was sworn in for a controversial second six-year term following an election in 2018, which was largely boycotted by the opposition and criticised by the United StatesEuropean Union and others as a "sham".

    Peru's move came not long after Paraguay cut diplomatic ties with Venezuela just minutes after Maduro took his office in the Venezuela capital, Caracas.  

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    Paraguayan President Mario Abdo Benitez made the announcement on national television, saying he would immediately withdraw his country's diplomats from Caracas.

    "There are no bad consequences when defending just causes," Benitez said. "The cause of liberty and democracy is a just cause."

    Earlier on Thursday, the Organization of American States voted not to recognise the legitimacy of Maduro's second six-year term, approving a resolution presented by several member states.

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

    Samuel Moncada, Venezuela's ambassador to the bloc, slammed the decision, calling it "a hostile act ... against our nation". 

    'Usurpation of power'

    The US also added its condemnation, with National Security Adviser John Bolton tweeting that the US would not recognise "the Maduro dictatorship's illegitimate inauguration". 

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

    Shortly after, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo condemned what he called Maduro's "usurpation of power".

    Days earlier, the Lima Group - made up of 14 Latin American countries and Canada - urged Maduro to cede power to the National Assembly until new elections can be held.

    Mexico, which has shifted to the left under President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, was the only Lima Group member not to condemn Maduro's administration. 

    Maduro hit back at global criticism of his new mandate, which will keep him at the helm of the oil-rich, cash-strapped country until at least 2025.

    During his inauguration, he said that the US and the Lima Group have turned his swearing-in ceremony into a war. 

    Al Jazeera's Teresa Bo, reporting from Caracas, said that while China, Russia and other allies sent representatives to the ceremony, many more countries were noticeably absent.

    "There is no presence from the European Union or the United States, this is an example of how isolated Venezuela has become, not only internationally but also in the region. In spite of this, the president says that Venezuela has the allies it needs, including Russia and China," she said. 

    Since 2015, Venezuela has been embroiled in a worsening economic crisis with hyperinflation soaring and millions of people fleeing food and medicine shortages. 

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    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies