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Maduro sworn in, warns of painful difficulties caused by US

Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro takes the oath at the Palacio Federal Legislativo in Caracas on May 24, 2018. (Photo by Reuters)

Nicolas Maduro has been sworn in for a second six-year term as Venezuela’s president after winning a re-election which prompted the US to impose new sanctions on the country.

Maduro, who won Sunday’s presidential vote, swore "to respect and enforce the constitution and lead all revolutionary changes" that should lead Venezuela to "the peace, prosperity and happiness of our people." 

During his inauguration ceremony before the Constituent Assembly on Thursday, the president of the crisis-ridden country admitted that a fresh take on Venezuela's problems was needed.

“We need a profound rectification, we have to do things anew and better, we are not doing things well and we have to change this country," Maduro said.

He admitted that tighter sanctions imposed by Washington after his re-election will bring more difficulties to the oil producer but vowed to defeat them. 

"I cannot deceive anyone, they are going to create serious difficulties for us, painful difficulties, that we will face gradually -- we will defeat them," he said.

The US announced new sanctions against Caracas after dismissing the presidential election as a "sham."

Washington has already imposed sanctions against Venezuela and blamed Maduro’s government for the country’s acute economic crisis.

Maduro, however, accuses the US of being behind the crisis, saying Washington is plotting to topple his government. He also accuses the opposition which boycotted Sunday’s election of colluding with the US.  

The president-elect said the oil-rich country would increase its output by a million barrels per day to spur economic activity.

Venezuela, which has a quintuple-digit annual inflation rate, suffers from severe food and medicine shortages, the return of once-controlled diseases, and mass emigration.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro (C), Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino Lopez (L) and Admiral-in-Chief Remigio Ceballos (R) attend a military honor ceremony in Caracas on May 24, 2018. (Photo by AFP)

During Thursday’s ceremony, Maduro also announced the release of an unspecified number of opposition prisoners. He vowed to enter into “a process of dialog and peace” with the entire opposition so that Venezuela could set aside political disputes.

Maduro's second term will formally begin on January 10, 2019.

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