INTERNATIONAL

Maduro Sworn In For Second Term As Venezuela President

Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro was sworn in for a controversial second term, posing a challenge to the united states and much of the international community that have branded his mandate illegitimate.

The ceremony contrasted with the harsh realities that face the former bus driver turned socialist leader, including hyperinflation, severe food and medicine shortages and an exodus of millions of citizens seeking to escape the hardship.

Supreme Court Chief Maikel Moreno dedicated nearly 20 minutes to explaining why Maduro was not being sworn in by congress, which the ruling socialist party has systematically ignored since the opposition took control of the body in 2016.

Opposition leaders have portrayed the inauguration as the moment at which Maduro will be internationally branded a dictator following a widely boycotted 2018 election that many foreign governments described as a farce.

But continued support from the military, a fractured opposition and a relentless crackdown on opposition critics means that Maduro appears to face few serious challenges at home, despite the international outcry.

Maduro's first agenda item for his second term is a ceremony at Venezuela's Military Academy, a telling symbol of the importance of armed forces.