Second inauguration of Nicolás Maduro

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Second inauguration of Nicolás Maduro
Nicolás Maduro 2019 Inauguration.jpg
Nicolás Maduro having just been sworn in
Date10 January 2019; 5 days ago (2019-01-10)
Time3:00pm VST (UTC-4)
VenueSupreme Court
LocationCaracas, Venezuela
Also known as2019 Presidential inauguration of Nicolás Maduro
ParticipantsPresident of Venezuela Nicolás Maduro

The second inauguration of Nicolás Maduro as President of Venezuela took place on Thursday, 10 January 2019. The inauguration involved the swearing-in of Nicolás Maduro for his second term, and, especially within the context of Maduro's election, has been controversial and contested by various figures and organizations.

Election[edit]

On 20 May 2018,[1] elections were held across Venezuela to elect the President to take office in January 2019. These elections should have been held as usual in December 2018, but had been rescheduled twice by Maduro — the incumbent — in a move that was seen as limiting the ability for other candidates to run.[2][3][4][5]

The election saw a turnout of 25.8%,[6] as well as arbitrary disqualifications of Maduro's opposition.[7][8] It was also announced by the Constituent Assembly, which should not have had the power to do so.[9] The Constituent Assembly is a body created by Maduro as a substitute for the nation's actual legislative body, the National Assembly, since his party was in a minority.[10] Despite the opposition making up a majority of the government, Maduro does not allow them power, and has said that they need to "leave [him] alone to govern".[11]

The main "illegitimate" contention to the inauguration was primarily based on the unusual election activity. This belief was declared by many countries worldwide. To Maduro being inaugurated, Argentine President Mauricio Macri said in a simple statement that "Venezuela is living under a dictatorship".[12]

Inauguration[edit]

The Supreme Court chamber during the ceremony

Maduro's inauguration took place on 10 January 2019 outside the Supreme Court building in Caracas.[13] Traditionally, it would have happened in front of the Assembly building, an institution he ignores.[11] He had been urged to not remain as President, and doing so was called a "usurpation" by many.[13][14][15] Maduro was sworn in by Maikel Moreno, President of the Supreme Court, at 3:00pm.[16] Additionally, the Constitution instructs that inaugurations must be conducted with the National Assembly, which this was not.[17]

Before the stage was a large military parade on Avenida Bolívar, which had moved through Caracas.[10] The military also gave their inaugural announcement to pledge undying loyalty to Maduro for his six-year term.[18] During his inauguration, Maduro gave an 80-minute address to the gathered people, in which he said: "We are a true, profound, popular and revolutionary democracy [...] I, Nicolás Maduro Moros, am a genuinely and profoundly democratic president." He also directly threatened Colombia, the United States, and "Europe", telling the latter to "respect Venezuela […] or sooner rather than later you’ll pay the historical price".[12] However, he controversially also criticized his own party and political affiliation, saying that his plan for his second term was to "correct the mistakes of the Bolivarian Revolution", and that "corrupt chavistas" are actually his greatest threat.[12] Representatives from 17 countries attended,[16] though Maduro claimed there were 94 countries present.[19]

Support[edit]

Maduro supporters at the inauguration

There was a "small" crowd gathered for the inauguration, showing "little support". This has been compared to the large crowds at Maduro's first inauguration.[13] Ricardo Sánchez, a member of the Constituent Assembly, said at the inauguration that there was obvious national support for Maduro, that "[the government] are convinced that the majority of the people who voted for the president in May are united today with loyalty and discipline to be with Nicolás Maduro for another six years".[13] It is also reported that members of this group were forced to appear, including all those who work for the government, with one woman telling The Guardian that she had been forced and despite working in a government Ministry isn't paid enough to feed her family, so is planning to leave the country as soon as she can. Other people at the inauguration were there because they believe in Maduro, one labourer saying he can "identify with Maduro because he's a humble man" and shares his ideology.[12]

Criticism[edit]

Antonio Ledezma along Spanish politicians in Madrid after Maduro's inauguration.

Nationwide protests were reported in several states, such as Lara, Zulia and Trujillo, and in the capital city, Caracas.[20] Several cacerolazos were reported in many areas of Caracas, including near to the Supreme Tribunal, where Maduro took oath.[21][22]

There were large protests in Miami, United States, an area with a large Venezuelan migrant population,[23] as well as a dozen other nations worldwide, including multiple protests across Spain and its islands.[24] Protests happened in cities such as Barcelona, Bogotá, Buenos Aires, Lima, London, Madrid, Ottawa, Paris and Quito.[25][26]

Response[edit]

A Miami protestor dressed as a caricature of Maduro

Many nations and supranational bodies did not recognize Maduro as a legitimate President, including the Lima Group and the Organization of American States. U.S. National Security Advisor John R. Bolton said, "The US will not recognize the Maduro dictatorship’s illegitimate inauguration." Maduro said during his inauguration that the United States and Lima Group's lack of recognition was turning his ceremony into "a world war".[12][14] On 11 January, Russia accused the US of attacking Venezuela's freedom.[27]

Peru and Paraguay closed their embassies in Venezuela and recalled diplomats.[14] Peru also barred Maduro and 100 other Venezuelan politicians from entering the country,[14] while Paraguay also removed Venezuelan diplomats from its own country.[28] On 11 January, Venezuelan ministers claimed there were violent attacks on the Venezuela Embassy in Lima, Peru.[29] Argentina similarly banned the entry of Venezuelan government personnel.[13] As a collective, the Lima Group announced that if Maduro took office they would ban travel to their nations and stop military cooperation, supposedly tactics designed to turn the Venezuelan military against their leader. Mexico abstained from the group announcement, with new president Andrés Manuel López Obrador citing the non-intervention policies of his government.[30] In response, Maduro threatened the group with "diplomatic measures" if they didn't revoke the resolution.[31]

David Smilde from the Washington Office on Latin America had said after the preemptive threats from the Lima Group that he didn't expect any of them to actually go through with removing embassies, that they'd simply tell Maduro he's illegitimate and that they would be ignored. However, they did follow through, Smilde having suggested that this action would make Maduro and his allies "fret".[30] In a foreign ministry statement, Brazil called on "all of the world’s countries" to "stop supporting [Maduro] and come together to liberate Venezuela".[32]

Early controversy came several days before the inauguration, with loyalist Supreme Court Justice and member of the Electoral Commission Christian Zerpa [es], having defected to the United States on 7 January 2019, calling the Maduro regime "incompetent" and "illegitimate";[13][15][33] the government claimed that Zerpa left the country so he wouldn't be charged with sexual harassment.[34] With the loyalist Zerpa defecting shortly before the inauguration, US Intelligence also suggested that there was more fracturing in Maduro's close ranks, that his general Vladimir Padrino López threatened to resign if Maduro took office.[35]

Though there were many calls for power in Venezuela to be deferred to the National Assembly, Phil Gunson of the Caracas Crisis Group said that the opposition, which has the Assembly's majority, were not united well enough to bring the failing state into prosperity.[12][36]

Economically, Maduro's continued rule has led experts to estimate that Venezuela will experience at least 23 million percent inflation by the end of 2019.[28]

National Assembly responses[edit]

Anti-Maduro protestors at UCV during the inauguration

Juan Guaidó, the President of the National Assembly of Venezuela, gave a speech in the Assembly after Maduro's inauguration. In no uncertain terms it called for a reclamation of power, and declared that Venezuela was technically without a leader: "Today there is no head of state. Today there is no commander-in-chief".[28] Beforehand, opposition had called on the people to protest during the inauguration, and they boycotted it.[11] One protest was co-hosted between students led by Rafaela Requesens and Guaidó's Popular Will party, blocking off a road and again calling Maduro a "usurper".[37]

In an official statement on the day, Guaidó announced a state of emergency,[38][39][40] saying that they need to recover control by uniting between the people, foreign allies, and the military. He expressed anger that Maduro continues to "dismantle" the rule of law and that Venezuela has ended up with a de facto government. In response to Maduro's "usurpation" he then proposed on behalf of the government "to declare the usurpation of the office of the President" saying "we call on those soldiers who wear their uniforms with honor to step forward and enforce the Constitution [...] we ask citizens for confidence, strength and to accompany us on this path."[41] He also said that Maduro's inauguration was a "coronation of paper", and defied that Maduro could fully disband the National Assembly, which he said he would.[41]

Guaidó summoned an Open cabildo (Spanish: Cabildo abierto) on 11 January;[39] the term roughly translates as a "town hall meeting", but cabildos abiertos were historically convened for more emergent or disastrous matters.[42] From its opening on 5 January, the National Assembly has been formulating plans to implement a transitional government, before taking back control.[43] At the open cabildo, the National Assembly announced Guaidó's assumption of presidential powers and duties.[44]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Martinez, Ana Isabel (1 March 2018). "Venezuela postpones presidential election to May 20". Reuters. Retrieved 1 March 2018.
  2. ^ "Venezuela opposition weighs election run". BBC News. 8 February 2018. Retrieved 8 February 2018.
  3. ^ Redacción, Voz de América - (1 March 2018). "Postergan elecciones en Venezuela hasta mayo". Voice of America (in Spanish). Retrieved 1 March 2018.
  4. ^ Sen, Ashish Kumar (18 May 2018). "Venezuela's Sham Election". Atlantic Council. Retrieved 20 May 2018. Nicolás Maduro is expected to be re-elected president of Venezuela on May 20 in an election that most experts agree is a sham
  5. ^ "Venezuela's sham presidential election". Financial Times. 16 May 2018. Retrieved 20 May 2018. The vote, of course, is a sham. Support is bought via ration cards issued to state workers with the implicit threat that both job and card are at risk if they vote against the government. Meanwhile, the country’s highest profile opposition leaders are barred from running, in exile, or under arrest.
  6. ^ "Maduro gana con la abstención histórica más alta en comicios presidenciales". Efecto Cocuyo. 20 May 2018. Retrieved 23 May 2018.
  7. ^ "Líderes opositores que no podrán ser candidatos en próxima elección presidencial de Venezuela". La Patilla (in Spanish). 23 January 2018. Retrieved 24 January 2018.
  8. ^ Kraul, Chris; Mogollon, Mery (16 April 2017). "Meet the charismatic opposition leader the Venezuela government just can't silence". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on 17 April 2017.
  9. ^  • Rodríguez Rosas, Ronny (23 February 2018). "Foro Penal no avala convocatoria a elecciones presidenciales". Efecto Cocuyo. Retrieved 24 February 2018.
  10. ^ a b Olmo (@BBCgolmo), Guillermo D. (2019-01-10). "Por qué es polémico que Maduro jure como presidente de Venezuela y por qué lo hace ahora si las elecciones fueron en mayo". BBC News Mundo. Retrieved 2019-01-10.
  11. ^ a b c "Venezuela's Maduro begins second term". BBC News. 2019-01-10. Retrieved 2019-01-11.
  12. ^ a b c d e f Phillips, Tom (2019-01-10). "Maduro starts new Venezuela term by accusing US of imperialist 'world war'". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2019-01-11.
  13. ^ a b c d e f "Venezuela Is in Crisis. So How Did Maduro Secure a Second Term?". The New York Times. Retrieved 10 January 2019.
  14. ^ a b c d "Peru, Paraguay recall diplomats over Maduro inauguration | Venezuela News | Al Jazeera". www.aljazeera.com. Retrieved 2019-01-10.
  15. ^ a b "Venezuela swears in an illegitimate president". Financial Times. Retrieved 2019-01-10.
  16. ^ a b "Investidura, apoyo militar y repudio internacional, todo lo que debe saber de este #10E - Efecto Cocuyo". efectococuyo.com. Retrieved 2019-01-11.
  17. ^ "Parallel government emerging in Venezuela". Argus Media. Retrieved 12 January 2019.
  18. ^ Fox, Jackie (2019-01-10). "Venezuela faces uncertain future as Maduro re-elected". RTE.ie.
  19. ^ "Nicolas Maduro sworn in for second term as Venezuelan President amid worldwide calls for him to go". ITV News. Retrieved 11 January 2019.
  20. ^ Ariza, Alma (10 January 2019). "VIDEO" (in Spanish). Retrieved 13 January 2019. Text " Venezolanos repudiaron la juramentación de Nicolás Maduro " ignored (help)
  21. ^ "acerolas sonaron en las inmediaciones del TSJ tras juramentación de Maduro [+Video]" (in Spanish). Versión Final. 10 January 2019. Retrieved 13 January 2019.
  22. ^ "Reportan cacerolazos en Caracas mientras Nicolás Maduro es juramentado" (in Spanish). Informe21. 10 January 2019. Retrieved 13 January 2019.
  23. ^ "Venezolanos en Miami protestaron contra Maduro". VOA. Retrieved 2019-01-11.
  24. ^ "Migrantes venezolanos rechazaron la juramentación de Maduro en una docena de países - Efecto Cocuyo". efectococuyo.com. Retrieved 2019-01-11.
  25. ^ Osorio, Sonia (9 January 2019). "Venezolanos en Miami participan en protesta mundial contra nuevo mandato de Maduro" (in Spanish). El Nuevo Herald. Retrieved 13 January 2019.
  26. ^ "Venezuela's Maduro starts new term amid increasing isolation". Havana Times. Retrieved 13 January 2019.
  27. ^ "Acusa Rusia a EEUU. de atentar contra la soberanía de Venezuela". Radio Rebelde. Retrieved 11 January 2019.
  28. ^ a b c Smith, Scott (2019-01-10). "Isolation greets Maduro's new term as Venezuela's president". AP NEWS. Retrieved 2019-01-11.
  29. ^ Sputnik. "Venezuelan Embassy Attacked in Peru - Venezuelan Foreign Minister". sputniknews.com. Retrieved 2019-01-11.
  30. ^ a b correspondent, Tom Phillips Latin America (2019-01-09). "Venezuela's neighbours turn up heat as Nicolás Maduro begins second term". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2019-01-10.
  31. ^ "Paraguay breaks diplomatic ties with Venezuela, neighbors join in condemning Maduro". RT International. Retrieved 2019-01-11.
  32. ^ Tharoor, Ishaan (11 January 2019). "The looming showdown between Maduro and Bolsonaro". The Washington Post. Retrieved 11 January 2019.
  33. ^ Redacción (2019-01-07). "Christian Zerpa, el juez afín a Maduro que huyó a Estados Unidos y denuncia falta de independencia del poder judicial de Venezuela". BBC News Mundo. Retrieved 2019-01-10.
  34. ^ "Top Venezuela judge defects to US". BBC News. 2019-01-07. Retrieved 2019-01-10.
  35. ^ Gibbs, Stephen (2019-01-11). "World leaders shun Venezuela as 'dictator' Maduro sworn in". The Times. ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 2019-01-11.
  36. ^ "Alemania apoya para que asuma poder". El Nacional. Retrieved 2019-01-10.
  37. ^ "Movimiento estudiantil protestó contra la juramentación de Maduro". El Nacional (in Spanish). Retrieved 10 January 2019.
  38. ^ "AN se declara en emergencia ante la usurpación de Nicolás Maduro en el cargo de la Presidencia de la República" [AN declares itself in emergency over the usurpation of Nicolás Maduro in the office of the Presidency of the Republic] (in Spanish). National Assembly of Venezuela. Retrieved 10 January 2019. La Asamblea Nacional de Venezuela se declaró en emergencia ante la usurpación de Nicolás Maduro en el cargo de la Presidencia de la República, así lo anunció el presidente del Parlamento venezolano, diputado Juan Guaidó ["The Venezuelan National Assembly has declared that it's in a State of emergency with the usurpation of the job of President of the Republic by Nicolás Maduro, as announced by the President of the Venezuelan Parliament, Deputy Juan Guaidó"]
  39. ^ a b C.A, GLOBAL HOST. "El Tiempo | Venezuela | Asamblea Nacional se declaró en emergencia y convocó a cabildo abierto | El Periódico del Pueblo Oriental" (in Spanish). Retrieved 2019-01-11.
  40. ^ "El Parlamento venezolano se declara "en emergencia" para protestar por la jura de Maduro". El Español (in Spanish). 2019-01-11. Retrieved 2019-01-11.
  41. ^ a b "AN se declara en emergencia ante la usurpación de Nicolás Maduro en el cargo de la Presidencia de la República". www.asambleanacional.gob.ve. Retrieved 2019-01-11.
  42. ^ "Cabildo | local government". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 2018-12-06.
  43. ^ "Asamblea Nacional arranca proceso para Ley de Transición". www.asambleanacional.gob.ve. Retrieved 2019-01-11.
  44. ^ "Juan Guaidó: Me apego a los artículos 333, 350 y 233 para lograr el cese de la usurpación y convocar elecciones libres con la unión del pueblo, FAN y comunidad internacional". www.asambleanacional.gob.ve. Retrieved 2019-01-11.