Venezuela's Maduro warns of 'diplomatic measures' against LatAm critics

Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro holds a copy of the National Constitution while he speaks during a news conference at Miraflores Palace in Caracas, Venezuela January 9, 2019. REUTERS/Manaure Quintero

CARACAS (Reuters) – Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro on Wednesday warned he could take “diplomatic measures” against Latin American nations that signed a statement last week describing his second term, which starts on Thursday, as illegitimate.

Members of the so-called Group of Lima, which includes Brazil, Argentina and Colombia, said Maduro’s new term would be illegitimate because the 2018 election that gave him a second term was not free or fair and that they would not recognize his leadership.

Venezuela “has alerted very clearly to the governments of the Cartel of Lima that, if they do not rectify their position (…) we will take the most crude and energetic measures that can be taken in diplomacy,” Maduro, using a pejorative name for the group widely used by ruling Socialist Party leaders.

He did not provide details what measures he could take.

Maduro called Peru’s government “ridiculous” for announcing that it plans to prohibit Maduro and other high-ranking Venezuelan officials from entering its territory.

The May 2018 election was widely boycotted by the opposition, which described it as a farce that was rigged in his favor. Governments around the world also described it as illegitimate.

Maduro insists the election was fair and that the opposition did not participate because it knew it would lose. He accuses foreign governments including Latin American nations of seeking to overthrow him.

Reporting by Vivian Sequera, writing by Brian Ellsworth; Editing by James Dalgleish

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