Chile doesn’t recognize Maduro’s victory in Venezuela, says Piñera

SANTIIAGO – Chile’s President Sebastián Piñera announced on Sunday that his government does not recognize the presidential elections held in Venezuela, in which Nicolás Maduro was re-elected.

“Chile, like most democratic countries, does not recognize these elections,” Piñera said in a Twitter post.

“Elections in Venezuela do not meet minimum standards of true democracy. They are not clean and legitimate elections and do not represent the free and sovereign will of the Venezuelan people,” he added in the same message posted on the social network.

Maduro, 55, won a new six-year term on Sunday, but his main rivals disavowed the election alleging massive irregularities in a process critics decried as a farce propping up a dictatorship.

Addressing crowds of supporters outside the presidential palace in Caracas on Sunday night, Maduro hailed the “impeccable electoral process” that had returned him to power with 67.7% of the vote.

Venezuela election: Maduro wins second term amid poor voter turnout

Victory for the 55-year-old former bus driver, who replaced Hugo Chavez after his death from cancer in 2013, may trigger a new round of western sanctions against the populist government as it grapples with a ruinous economic crisis.

Venezuela’s election board, run by Maduro loyalists, said he took 5.8 million votes, versus 1.8 million for his closest challenger Henri Falcon, a former governor who broke with an opposition boycott to stand.

“It lacks all legitimacy and does not meet any of the minimum and necessary requirements,” declared La Moneda.

Meanwhile, the Government of Chile published a statement on its website:

1. It does not recognize the validity of this electoral process that lacks any legitimacy and does not meet any of the minimum and necessary requirements to be a democratic and transparent election, in accordance with international standards.

2. Calls on the Government of Venezuela to call a truly free electoral process, as the only way to recover the rule of law in Venezuela. For this, the necessary guarantees of a democratic, free, equitable and transparent process must be respected, with the presence of international observers, the participation of all the actors and political sectors, equal access to the media, the term of the political prisoners and the participation of all Venezuelans who have had to leave their country.

3. It profoundly condemns the actions perpetrated by the dictatorship instituted by Nicolás Maduro, which does not respect the most basic liberties of its citizens and has unleashed a political, economic, social and humanitarian tragedy. Chile urges the Venezuelan Government to respect its obligations under the Inter-American Democratic Charter.

4. Expresses its solidarity with the Venezuelan people and reiterates its willingness and commitment to provide assistance and protection to Venezuelans who have left their country, as well as support for those who remain in it.

5. It energetically reiterates the request to establish mechanisms for the access of humanitarian aid that allow us to deal with this serious situation and prevent more Venezuelans from dying of hunger or lack of medicines. Chile relies on the capabilities of the Venezuelan people to overcome the enormous difficulties and adversities that its own government has imposed on it.

6. It deeply regrets that Venezuela, a country that for 40 years was free and prosperous, today has deepened the rupture of the democratic and constitutional order. Venezuela is not a democracy: there is no freedom of expression, there is no separation of powers, there is no due process, there is no respect for human rights, and there are hundreds of political prisoners.

Demos against ‘farce’ elections

The United States and many governments around the world rejected the election even before ballots were cast as several key rivals of Maduro were barred from running.

On Sunday, Venezuelans in Chile held a demonstration at Paseo Bulnes in downtown Santiago, Chile, to protest their homeland’s presidential election, which they said is a “farce”.

Demonstrators in cities including Miami, Bogota, Lima and Paris held up signs that read “Maduro Assassin” and “Fraud” while waving Venezuelan flags.

Venezuelans in Uruguay denounce ‘fraudulent’ presidential elections

Most of the protests Sunday had no more than a few dozen participants.