Venezuela's president Nicolas Maduro seeks another six years in power

Venezuela's president Nicolas Maduro seeks another six years in power
By Daniel Bellamy with Reuters
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As Sunday's election approaches Venezuelans continue to suffer a deep and prolonged economic and social crisis.


Venezuela's president Nicolas Maduro is looking to secure another six years in power in Sunday's election.

The oil-rich economy is in deep crisis but, since the two most popular opposition leaders are banned from running in the election, Maduro is expected to win.

Mainstream economists blame strict currency controls, poor management, and corruption for Venezuela's deep recession.

Rights activists also say Maduro has cracked down on protests and unjustly imprisoned activists.

To bolster his chances he got the support of Argentina's football legend Diego Maradonna, who appeard at his last election rally.

"They are taking away from me the power to act against the criminal mafia of the economy and to do all that I want to do with the power that you have to give to me. I ask you to give me the power," he told his supporters.

Maduro regularly says a right-wing, U.S.-led campaign is sabotaging the economy in order to foment a coup and usher in a capitalist leadership.

The man he has to beat, Henri Falcon, is in fighting mood however.

At his final rally, he waved a copy of a $100 bill to remind voters that he would ditch the national currency, the bolivar and dollarize the economy.

"We're not going to sit with our arms folded because we have to go out and defend Venezuela and I, here and now, say to Nicolas Maduro that the people want you to go to hell, Maduro because you've done a lot of damage to Venezuela, he told his supporters.

Whichever candidate wins on Sunday has a lot of work to do.

The International Monetary Fund says the inflation rate is an eye-watering thirteen thousand percent.

And with the health care system in crisis, the World Health Organisation warns that malaria is spreading rapidly.

Washington has already criticised the vote and the Trump administration has threatened further sanctions. It's urged Latin America to cut off Venezuelan officials from financial systems and restrict their travel visas.

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