After Re-Election, Venezuela's Maduro Faces Criticism, US Sanctions

The bitterly divided opposition has vowed to

The bitterly divided opposition has vowed to"up the pressure on Maduro More

The U.S. announced new sanctions against Venezuela on Monday.

Moreover, the order prohibits the purchase of any debt owed to Venezuela that is pledged as collateral after the effective date of the order; the sale, transfer, assignment, or pledging as collateral by Venezuela of any equity interest in any entity in which the Venezuelan government has a 50-percent or greater ownership interest. Even as voting was taking place Sunday, a senior State Department official warned that the USA might press ahead on threats of imposing crippling oil sanctions on the nation that sits atop the world's largest crude reserves.

US President Donald Trump called for new elections to "end the repression" of Venezuelans.

In Beijing, foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said China believed Venezuela's government and people could handle their own affairs and the choice of the people should be respected.

As the new sanctions kick in, Al Jazeera looks at what is next for Venezuela. The United States will continue to stand with democratic nations in support of the Venezuelan people and take swift economic and diplomatic actions to support the restoration of their democracy.

Venezuela's Foreign Minister, Jorge Arreaza, rejected on Monday the new sanctions imposed by the United States Government against the South American nation, based on non-compliance with worldwide law. "The Maduro regime uses hunger as a weapon", said the official. As Maduro and the diverse sectors of Chavismo have already expressed, the victory is just the first step, the challenges that Venezuela faces are complex but they will confront them in the spirit of the Bolivarian revolution, always putting the most needy people first and never compromising on humanist and socialist values.

The United States on Monday escalated its rhetoric and moves against Venezuela, right after Nicolas Maduro secured a second six-year term in the country's election.

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Shadow chancellor John McDonnell said on Sunday that Venezuela "took a wrong turn" following the death of Maduro's predecessor Hugo Chavez in 2013 and was now in difficulties because it had abandoned the former president's socialist policies.

According to the Venebarometro polling institute, 76 percent of Venezuelans disapprove of Maduro.

People celebrated Maduro's victory on the streets.

Argentine Foreign Minister Jorge Faurie, the host of Monday's G-20 summit, accused Mr. Maduro of having created a political and economic crisis that represents "a threat for regional security in health, migration, food, social and educational terms".

He described the situation in Venezuela as "hopeless", adding that things would only change if there was a coup.

Shortly before Christmas, officials in Venezuela announced they would expel Canadian diplomat Craig Kowalik from the country by declaring him persona non grata and taking away his diplomatic credentials.

Prior to Sunday, CEELA observers participated in all fourteen of the pre-election audits conducted by the CNE in conjunction with all participating political parties, in addition to overseeing the "hot audit" of 54.4 percent of all voting machines mandatorily carried out on election day.

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