Venezuela's Maduro wins reelection with 67.7 percent of vote, Falcon cries fraud

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Venezuela's Maduro wins reelection with 67.7 percent of vote, Falcon cries fraud

US President Donald Trump signed an executive order to limit the Venezuelan government's ability to sell off state assets.

A growing roster of nations condemned Venezuela's presidential election Monday and threatened to ramp up diplomatic and economic pressure on President Nicolas Maduro's already embattled government.

Maduro on Tuesday declared the USA charge d'affaires Todd Robinson and deputy head of mission Brian Naranjo as "personae non gratae", Xinhua news agency reported on Wednesday.

In addition, several Latin American countries said they will consider individual financial and travel sanctions against top Venezuelan officials.

The United Nations has estimated that almost 1 million Venezuelans the country left between 2015 and 2017.

"It's evident we are the resounding majority those who want a new Venezuela", said Henrique Capriles, one of Venezuela's most prominent opposition leaders.

The US has not had an ambassador to Venezuela since 2010, but Robinson served as the mission's Chargé D'Affaires - a position that is akin to an acting ambassadorship.

"That was the straw that broke the camel's back, what pushed me to do it faster", Casique, 29, said while charging her cell phone outside the Aeroexpresos Ejecutivos terminal in Caracas, where she was planning to buy tickets for a bus leaving on Tuesday.

The executive order prohibits US citizens from being involved in sales of Venezuela's pending invoices related to oil and other assets, though Vielma said shipments of fuel and crude to the United States would continue.

Patrick Duddy, the last USA ambassador to Venezuela, who himself was briefly expelled by Chavez in 2008, said the U.S.is not alone in rejecting Maduro's election as illegitimate and harshly criticizing the government for destroying the economy.

Maduro, 55, won some 5.8 million votes, or 68 percent of the total, while main opposition candidate Henri Falcon won 1.8 million votes or 21.2 percent. Turnout in the three previous presidential elections averaged 79 percent.

In a statement released Monday, the group vowed to recall their ambassadors to Caracas for consultations and present a new resolution on Venezuela at the next meeting of the Organization of American States.

The foreign ministry earlier lashed out at the U.S. sanctions, accusing Washington of intensifying a "criminal financial and economic blockade", which it called a crime against humanity for impeding "access to essential goods". The two countries have provided billions of dollars in funding for Venezuela in recent years.

United States spokespeople claim that the measures are aimed at preventing a "firesale" of the country's assets by corrupt officials looking for kickbacks.

Most mainstream economists say the country's strict currency controls, heavy state intervention and money-printing are responsible for a crisis that has caused widespread shortages of food and medicine and led to mass emigration.

Moreover the Venezuela's foreign ministry released a statement referring to the United States sanctions "a crime against humanity".

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