Boris Johnson condemns Venezualan president Maduro for stealing election victory as Jeremy Corbyn faces calls to slam socialist leader
- Foreign Secretary said he was ‘disappointed but not surprised’ at Maduro
- Johnson said he was ‘deeply concerned’ at the ‘man made’ humanitarian crisis
- Maduro has driven Venezuela into economic ruin since taking power in 2013
- Calls began today for Corbyn to condemn the leader of the socialist state
Boris Johnson today condemned Venezuelan President for stealing re-election in his shattered country.
The Foreign Secretary hit out at Nicolás Maduro as calls began for Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn to condemn the socialist leader.
Maduro was re-elected for six years despite massive irregularities in the conduct of the poll.
Venezuela has descended into chaos and economic ruin since Maduro succeeded Hugo Chavez, a left-wing hero of Mr Corbyn, in 2013.
Boris Johnson (pictured yesterday in Argentina) today condemned Venezuelan President for stealing re-election in his shattered country
Venezuela’s leftist leader Nicolas Maduro (pictured overnight after the results were declared) 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
Following declaration of the eleciton, Mr Johnson said he was ‘disappointed but not surprised’ Maduro pressed ahead with ‘deeply flawed’ elections.
He said: ‘They were neither free nor fair, and have further eroded Venezuelan democracy. There is an urgent need to restore democratic order, release political prisoners, and respect the National Assembly and political opposition.
‘The condemnation of the international community is loud and clear. We shall work closely with our EU and regional partners in the coming weeks to determine how we can continue to support a political resolution.
‘I remain deeply concerned by the man-made humanitarian and economic crisis, which is growing worse by the day.
‘I urge the Venezuelan government to take immediate action, and let the international community deliver essential food and medicines. The suffering of ordinary Venezuelan people cannot be allowed to continue.’
Mr Corbyn was condemned last year for failing to slam Maduro following an outbreak of violence.
And renewed calls began today for Mr Corbyn to intervene following the election.
The Foreign Secretary hit out at Nicolás Maduro as calls began for Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn to condemn the socialist leader
Before the elections were concluded yesterday, shadow chancellor John McDonnell (pictured on the Sunday Politics yesterday) said Venezuela was no longer socialist and had taken a ‘wrong turn’ under Maduro
Tory MP Simon Clarke told MailOnline: ‘Maduro’s hollow victory in a sham election will deliver more years of misery to the starving Venezuelan people.
‘Yet this prompts no condemnation from the Labour leadership – instead, we had the Shadow Chancellor on TV yesterday saying Maduro hasn’t really tried socialism properly, and Young Labour activists celebrating his victory.
Venezuela’s economic crisis, explained
Venezuela was once South America’s most successful economy, though much of its success relied upon its crude oil reserves.
As the price of crude dropped from $100 per barrel in 2014 to a low of $26 per barrel in 2016, the government ran short of money.
The socialist regime’s hostility to foreign business coupled with seizures of farmland which were then left untended meant it relied on imports to provide food and medicine to its people.
Falling oil prices left the government short on cash to pay for imports, and as Maduro struggled to pay down debts with China and Russia, the country began to run out of supplies.
Despite price-fixing by the government, the shortages led to inflation on the black market, which in turn prompted Maduro to raise the national wage and print more cash, devaluing the currency.
Maduro’s opponents accuse him of economic mismanagement, while he blames a ‘right-wing plot’ against him.
‘Jeremy Corbyn should come out now, admit he was wrong and stop aiding and abetting the regime through his support for it.’
Nigel Evans added: ‘Maduro is bleeding his country dry and yet Jeremy Corbyn probably thought it was a good result.
‘I’m still awaiting Jeremy Corbyn to actually pronounce, himself, that he believes this election was invalid.’
Labour has not yet issued a statement on the elections.
Before the elections were concluded yesterday, shadow chancellor John McDonnell said Venezuela was no longer socialist and had taken a ‘wrong turn’ under Maduro.
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.
‘They underestimated me,’ Maduro told cheering supporters on a stage outside Miraflores presidential palace in downtown Caracas as fireworks sounded and confetti fell on the crowd.
Turnout at the election was just 46.1 per cent, the election board said, way down from the 80 per cent registered at the last presidential vote in 2013.
The opposition said that figure was inflated, putting participation at nearer 30 per cent.
An electoral board source told Reuters 32.3 per cent of eligible voters cast ballots by 6pm as most polls shut.
‘The process undoubtedly lacks legitimacy and as such we do not recognize it,’ said Falcon, a 56-year-old former state governor, looking downcast.
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