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Venezuelan leaders declare mayoral elections a victory over Trump

Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro gives a press conference at Miraflores presidential palace in Caracas, Venezuela. As the ruling party captured a majority of mayoral seats across Venezuela in early December, Maduro said that opposition parties would be banned from future elections as punishment for boycotting the Sunday races.
Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro gives a press conference at Miraflores presidential palace in Caracas, Venezuela. As the ruling party captured a majority of mayoral seats across Venezuela in early December, Maduro said that opposition parties would be banned from future elections as punishment for boycotting the Sunday races. AP

The head of the Venezuelan’s National Constituent Assembly is the latest Venezuelan leader to call the overwhelming victory of mayoral seats across Venezuela as a victory against the Trump administration.

Delcy Rodriguez, who previously served as foreign minister, said Monday afternoon via Twitter that the results reflected the public’s response to the “vulgar meddling” of the United States in Venezuelan internal affairs.

“Government of the USA was defeated in the municipal elections of Venezuela!” Rodriguez tweeted.

For many years, Venezuela along with Cuba has portrayed itself as a victim of U.S. aggression. Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, like his predecessor, Hugo Chavez, has pointed to the U.S. criticism of Venezuela as a broader plot against both countries.

Caracas has doubled down on the theme in recent weeks as the Maduro government has come under increasing pressure to restore democratic institutions through a series of personal and economic sanctions.

On Sunday, Maduro announced to a crowd of loyal supporters that pro-government candidates won more than 300 of the 335 mayoral offices. Many chanted: "Go Home, Donald Trump."

“The imperialists have tried to set fire to Venezuela to take our riches,” Maduro said at the rally, according to local AP reports. “We've defeated the American imperialists with our votes, our ideas, truths, reason and popular will.”

Three major opposition parties boycotted what they described as a rigged election. In response, Maduro announced that he would ban opposition groups from participating in the next presidential election.

U.S. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert called the threat “yet another extreme measure to close the democratic space in Venezuela & consolidate power in his authoritarian dictatorship."

“We stand with the Venezuelan people as they seek to restore their democracy,” she tweeted.

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