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While Latin America congratulates Maduro, the US and OAS adopts caution

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The United States Government has publicly joined the Venezuelan opposition in taking the position that the results of Sunday's presidential election are not valid, and are calling for a "100 percent recount."  This means that there is both an international as well as a domestic (Venezuelan) campaign to contest the results of the election, most likely regardless of the CNE (National Electoral Council).

According to the CEPR Americas Blog, "There has already been violence, and since this is the first time in many years that the U.S. government has refused to recognize the results of a Venezuelan election, there is a possibility of more conflict.So far, the United States is the only government in the hemisphere to join the opposition's campaign against the election results."

Venezuela's President-elect Nicolas Maduro is accusing the United States of inciting all the violence that has occurred in the wake of Sunday's contested elections.

Maduro charges that the U.S. Embassy has been "financing and leading all the violent acts." He says the embassy is backing what he calls "neo-Nazi groups" that he claims are behind the violence.

Most of the countries in Latin America, including Mexico, Colombia, Peru, Brazil, Argentina, Ecuador, Bolivia, Uruguay, Haiti, Guatemala, Cuba, Panama and Nicaragua have recognized the results and congratulated President Nicolas Maduro on his electoral victory.



CEPR feels that "this sets up a dynamic similar to that following the military coup in Honduras in 2009, where the United States was isolated with respect to the rest of the hemisphere (in that case the rest of the hemisphere was demanding the re-instatement of democratically elected President Manuel Zelaya)."

The Union of South American Nations, UNASUR, Electoral mission praised the “civic spirit” of the Venezuelan people in Sunday’s election and called for respect for the official electoral results plus sending a veiled message to opposition leader Henrique Capriles who is demanding a ballot recount.

In an official release the Unasur mission said they had been witness of an ample exercise of civic responsibility and freedoms by the Venezuelan people.

As to the electoral result: “Unasur states that as it did from the very first day it set office in the country, the results must be respected since they originate in the National Electoral Council, CNE, the only competent authority in the matter according to Venezuela’s constitution and legal framework”.

“Any claim, questioning or extraordinary procedure which any of the participants in the electoral process might request, must be channelled and resolved in the current legal framework”.

Brazil’s Foreign minister Antonio Patriota congratulated Nicolas Maduro for his election as president of Venezuela and reaffirmed Brazil’s decision to continue working closely with Caracas.

In addition Argentina’s Foreign Ministry sent its congratulations to Venezuela’s elected President Maduro stating that “the people of Argentina and its government congratulate President Nicolás Maduro for his electoral victory.”

“Once more, the Venezuelan people ratified that voting is the most pacific way possible in order to keep carrying all the transformations started by late leader Commandant Hugo Rafael Chávez Frías.”

Likewise Argentina questions Capriles attitude: ”the Argentine delegation sent along with Unasur watchdogs, ratify the transparency of the electoral process as it had also been the case of the previous 18 elections celebrated in Venezuela since Chávez’s first win 14 years ago.”

Finally, “as President Cristina Fernández said, all Argentines will join and support President Nicolás Maduro in the continuation of the work started by the Venezuelan people.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin also congratulated Maduro and said he expected good relations to continue with a country where Moscow has significant oil investments.

“Putin expressed confidence that under Maduro's leadership Venezuela will further strengthen its relations of strategic partnership with Russia,” the Kremlin said after the Sunday vote.

In similar terms the governments of Ecuador, Bolivia and Cuba, Trinidad and Tobago and Dominica among others congratulated the Venezuelan people and President Maduro for his victory which ensures the continuity of Hugo Chavez Bolivarian legacy.

However the US State Department, the OAS, Organization of American States and Guatemala were more cautious in considering Sunday’s election.

“First of all, we congratulate the Venezuelan people for their broad participation in this electoral process. Given the extraordinary tightness of the result – around 1 percent of the votes cast separate the candidates – the opposition candidate, Henrique Capriles, and one member of the electoral council have called for a 100% audit or recount of the results. Governing party candidate Nicolas Maduro also welcomed the full recount. This appears an important, prudent, and necessary step to ensure that all Venezuelans have confidence in these results”, said the State Department spokesperson when asked about Sunday’s election in Venezuela.