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Venezuela's Maduro pledges to correct 'mistakes' after being sworn in

Sinikka Tarvainen, DPA on

Published in News & Features

BOGOTA, Colombia -- Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro pledged to correct "deep mistakes" made by his country's revolution, while accusing U.S. "imperialism" of waging a "world war" against Venezuela, after being sworn in for a new term in defiance of international criticism.

The U.S. and its "satellite governments" have waged "a manipulation campaign for more than 20 years" to tarnish Venezuela's image, Maduro said in his speech, adding that his country was "in the center of a world war by imperialism."

He also slammed "colonialism" by the "old European oligarchy" while pledging "a new beginning of the Bolivarian revolution," which will include economic growth and a dialogue with entrepreneurs.

Most Latin American presidents boycotted the ceremony. The heads of state of Cuba, Bolivia, El Salvador and Nicaragua -- traditional Venezuela allies -- were the only ones in attendance.

European Union member states decided not to send representatives, EU foreign policy spokeswoman Maja Kocijancic said.

The EU "deeply regrets" the fact that "President Maduro is today starting a new mandate on the basis of non-democratic elections," said foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini in reference to the May 20 poll.

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"This only pushes further away the possibility of a constitutional negotiated solution while the political, economic and social situation in the country keeps getting worse," she added.

The Organization of American States, or OAS, said it did not recognize Maduro as Venezuela's legitimate head of state, calling for a dialogue between all political players and fresh elections.

Paraguayan President Mario Abdo Benitez announced that his country was breaking off diplomatic relations with Venezuela, the Paraguayan daily Hoy reported.

The move was based on an earlier decision by 13 countries belonging to the Lima Group of American states not to recognize Maduro as Venezuela's legitimate head of state, Abdo said.

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