Pence slams Maduro's inauguration in Venezuela as a 'sham'

Pence slams Maduro's inauguration in Venezuela as a 'sham'
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Vice President Pence on Thursday decried Nicolás Maduro's inauguration as Venezuelan president for a second term as a "sham." 

"The US does not recognize the illegitimate result of a stolen election," Pence wrote on Twitter.

He added that the Trump administration will "continue to stand" with Venezuelans against Maduro’s "corrupt regime until freedom & democracy prevail in Venezuela."

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Pence made similar remarks after Maduro's election last May to another six-year term. The vote was marred by low turnout, a boycott and irregularities at the polls.

The Trump administration has taken a hard-line stance against Venezuela and Maduro, imposing sanctions against members of his inner circle and Venezuelan businesses in an attempt to isolate the country and put pressure on its leader.

Maduro has sought to tighten his grip on power in the country, which is in the midst of a worsening humanitarian and economic crisis. Widespread reports indicate Venezuelans are struggling with poverty and hunger.

U.S. officials have urged Central American allies to increase pressure on Maduro in order to spur change.