CARACAS, Venezuela — Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro was being sworn in to a second term Thursday amid international calls for him to step down and a devastating economic crisis, but with some long-time friends in attendance both from abroad and at home.
A dozen Latin American governments and Canada in a coalition have rejected the legitimacy of Maduro’s next term, and Washington has sanctioned top officials in his government.
But Cuba’s President Miguel Diaz-Canel and Bolivian President Evo Morales were among the foreign leaders who attended the ceremony at the country’s Supreme Court.
And while Maduro’s popularity has plunged amid scarcities, hyperinflation and rising authoritarianism that have sparked a mass emigration, supporters who receive government subsidies in shantytowns continue to back the man who took over for the late Hugo Chavez.
“It’s not the president’s fault,” said Frances Velazquez, a 43-year-old mother of two who survives on government-subsidized boxes of rice, flour and cooking oil. Velazquez blamed opportunists who drive up the prices on scarce items making life difficult for families like hers.
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