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Veneuelan democracy will be defended by love ahead of Nicolas Maduro's inauguration

VENEZUELA’S democracy will be defended because “we love it, we respect it,” a state official proclaimed on Tuesday in defiance of the right-wing Lima Group’s attacks on the Bolivarian government.

Venezuela’s national constituent assembly president Diosdado Cabello warned against any attempt to “alter the constitutional order and peace of our country and region” after the group urged President Nicolas Maduro not to serve another term of office ahead of his inauguration tomorrow.

He said the group — which is made up of right-wing leaders from across the region, including far-right Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro — “mistakenly believes … that they may appoint the president of Venezuela.”

Following a gathering in the Peruvian capital last week, the Lima Group issued a statement saying it would refuse to recognise Mr Maduro’s next six-year term of office. It was signed by 13 of its 14 members from Latin America plus Canada, with only Mexico refusing.

Proposals aimed at increasing the pressure on Venezuela, including new sanctions, the targeting of government officials and the suspension of military support, appear designed to try and break the country’s armed forces’ support for Mr Maduro.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo indicated the possibility of further measures from Washington as he claimed there were “several things” that could be done to bring down the Bolivarian government.

And Mr Bolsonaro’s son Eduardo warned: “The noose is tightening around Nicolas Maduro.”

The threats came ahead of Mr Maduro’s inauguration in Caracas tomorrow. He was re-elected as president, comfortably beating rival Henri Falcon with 67 per cent of the vote, in May 2018.

Since the election, numerous attempts have been made to destabilise Venezuela’s democratically elected government, including EU- and US-imposed financial sanctions and a threat by US President Donald Trump to launch a military intervention.

US and Colombian collusion was suspected when Mr Maduro survived an assassination attempt after a drone attack as he attended a military parade in Caracas in August.

Mr Cabello said the Bolivarian government “does not care if Colombian President Ivan Duque tries to intervene against national sovereignty.”

“We defend it because we love it, we respect it. The right does not understand that Venezuela commands the Venezuelan people.

“No opposition group can negotiate our territory.”

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