U.S. slams Venezuela's elections, promises action

 U.S. slams Venezuelas elections, promises action

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo slammed Venezuela's weekend election on Monday and said Washington planned rapid "economic and diplomatic" measures to support the restoration of democracy.

"Venezuela’s election was a sham – neither free nor fair," Pence said in a statement on Sunday's vote, in which socialist President Nicolas Maduro won re-election but which was denounced by his critics as a farce.

"The United States will not sit idly by as Venezuela crumbles and the misery of their brave people continues ... The Maduro regime must allow humanitarian aid into Venezuela and must allow its people to be heard," he said.

In a separate statement, Pompeo said the United States "will take swift economic and diplomatic actions to support the restoration of their democracy." He did not elaborate.

Earlier, the State Department threatened to impose sanctions on the country's all-important oil sector.

A string of other countries denounced the election as unfair. Maduro, who views his country as under assault by critics of his leftist government, called it a victory against "imperialism."

(Reporting by Lisa Lambert and Makini Brice; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Frances Kerry)

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Updated Date: May 22, 2018 00:07:02 IST