Venezuela’s Maduro To Celebrate 2nd Term As Crisis Deepens

Venezuela’s president Nicolas Maduro is inaugurated Thursday for a second, six-year term, as international pressure mounts for him to step down and countries don’t officially recognize the government.

MIAMI — President Nicolás Maduro of Venezuela takes the oath of office on Thursday for a second, six-year term, as the country collapses and international condemnation intensifies of what critics call illegitimate and authoritarian rule.

Maduro, 56, was narrowly elected after his mentor, left-wing firebrand Hugo Chavez, died in 2013. He was then reelected in May but the election was tainted by allegations of fraud. It was largely boycotted and many popular opponents were banned from running.

Venezuela is becoming increasingly isolated. A dozen Latin American countries and Canada, that form part of the Lima Group, delivered a blistering critique of Maduro on Friday. They agreed to not recognize Maduro as the legitimate leader of Venezuela when he takes office for a second term.

The group also said it would bar Venezuelan officials from traveling to their countries and might impose financial sanctions. They said Maduro should hand over power to the opposition-controlled National Assembly. It’s the only branch of government it recognizes as legitimate.