Wednesday, April 17, 2013

US calls for Venezuela election recount after narrow win for Nicolás Maduro

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Hesitation over recognising Hugo Chávez's successor as president is likely to enrage left in Latin America

The United States is hesitating to recognise Nicolás Maduro as president of Venezuela and has called for a recount of the vote from Sunday's closely fought election.

The procrastination is likely to embolden Venezuela's opposition and enrage many on the left in Latin America, who have long accused the US of interfering in the region's politics.

The US secretary of state, John Kerry, said he had yet to evaluate whether the disputed result was legitimate when asked about the matter by members of the House of Representatives.

"We think there ought to be a recount," he told the foreign affairs committee in reference to Venezuelan opposition demands for a full audit of the vote.

At least seven people have died in the protests that have riven Venezuela following Sunday's narrow presidential poll. The National Electoral Council declared Maduro the winner by 262,000 votes out of 14.9m cast.

Henrique Capriles, the opposition candidate, claims the count may have been rigged and says he considers the outcome illegitimate unless it is checked in full.

Maduro initially agreed to a recount. But the electoral council as declared the result "irreversible".

On Wednesday, the president of the supreme court said a manual count was an impossibility and called the request for a recount "a deceit of the people" that aimed to destabilise the country.

The ruling party has accused the opposition of plotting a coup, as they did in 2002. Maduro – the political heir of Hugo Chávez – says the US embassy has been inciting violence. His supporters point to WikiLeaks documents that suggest US diplomats have been trying to divide the movement that Chávez pulled together.

The oil-rich country can call on support from foreign allies. The Argentinian president, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and 13 other foreign leaders will attend Maduro's inauguration ceremony on Friday. © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds


Tom McCarthy 18 Apr, 2013

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