Wednesday, April 17, 2013


US won't recognize Maduro yet as Venezuelan president

Secretary of State John Kerry urged a recount in the Venezuelan election and declined to say whether the United States officially recognized Nicolas Maduro as president-elect.

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration is refusing to recognize Venezuelan President-elect Nicolas Maduro and says a recount of this week's election should occur.
Testifying before Congress, Secretary of State John Kerry backed the call by opposition leader Henrique Capriles for the vote count of Sunday's presidential election to be re-examined.
Venezuela's National Electoral Council says Maduro won by 262,000 votes out of 14.9 million cast. Capriles is alleging thousands of irregularities at polling centers and wants a full audit of the ballots.
Asked directly at a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing Tuesday if he recognized Maduro as the winner, Kerry wouldn't say yes or no.
"We think there ought to be a recount," Kerry told lawmakers. "Obviously, if there are huge irregularities, we are going to have serious questions about the viability of that government. ... I'm not sure that's over yet."
Venezuela's opposition leaders said Wednesday that they feared persecution over post-election protests.
Seven people have died in opposition-led protests, and the government has vowed to take legal action against the opposition leader and others whom they accuse of stirring up violence.
There was no immediate response from Maduro's administration, but Tuesday a senior "Chavista" official, Diosdado Cabello, had cautioned the United States to "hold its tongue" and not meddle in Venezuelan affairs.
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