US imposes new sanctions on Venezuela following Nicolas Maduro's re-election; 14 countries recall ambassadors

Caracas: Venezuela president Nicolas Maduro is facing an international backlash after winning his second six-year term in a landslide vote marred by an Opposition boycott and claims of vote-rigging.

Fourteen countries including Argentina, Brazil and Canada have recalled their ambassadors from Caracas in protest, BBC reported on Monday.

The US has imposed new economic sanctions after Sunday's election.

Venezuela is suffering from food shortages stemming from its economic crisis and voter turnout was low.

File image of Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro. AP

File image of Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro. AP

US president Donald Trump called for new elections to "end the repression" of Venezuelans.

However, Russian president Vladimir Putin congratulated Maduro on his re-election on Monday, wishing him "success in resolving the social and economic issues facing the country" in a statement.

With more than 90 percent of the votes counted, Maduro had 5.8 million votes, or 67.7 percent of the total, the electoral council announced. The main Opposition candidate, Henri Falcon, stood on 1.8 million votes or 21.2 percent.

The US has imposed new economic sanctions on Venezuela, aimed at preventing its officials from selling off state oil assets in return for kickbacks.

Trump said in a statement: "We call for the Maduro regime to restore democracy, hold free and fair elections, release all political prisoners immediately and unconditionally, and end the repression and economic deprivation of the Venezuelan people."

US vice-president Mike Pence earlier denounced the election as a "sham" and "illegitimate".

The US had already slapped sanctions on Maduro and his senior aides, as well as banned US companies from buying any more debt from Caracas or the state oil company.

"The US stands with democratic nations in support of the Venezuelan people and will take swift economic and diplomatic actions to support the restoration of their democracy," Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement.

Venezuelan foreign minister Jorge Arreaza called the sanctions "madness, barbaric, and in absolute contradiction to international law".

Even before the election took place, the US, Canada, the European Union and a dozen Latin American countries said they would not recognise the results.

Updated Date: May 22, 2018 08:58 AM

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