US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo censured on Monday the presidential decision in Venezuela that saw Nicolas Maduro stay in control.
He pledged “swift economic and diplomatic actions” following elections, which observers described as deeply flawed.
“Until the Maduro regime restores a democratic path in Venezuela through free, fair, and transparent elections, the government faces isolation from the international community,” he said.
Vice President Mike Pence slammed the “sham” election, describing the vote as a “neither free nor fair.”
The “illegitimate result of this fake process” is another blow to democratic traditions in the country, he added in a statement.
Pence stressed the US “will not sit idly by as Venezuela crumbles and the misery of their brave people continues.”
The US official said the Maduro government must allow humanitarian aid into Venezuela “and must allow its people to be heard.”
Venezuela’s official election results gave Maduro a larger percentage of the vote than any other candidate running for head of state since 1958.
Information Minister Jorge Rodriguez said Monday that Maduro’s victory was of “epic proportions” and called it “the biggest victory” by a candidate in Venezuela’s history.
The pro-government National Election Council stated Maduro won 4 million votes more than independent challenger Henri Falcon.
That’s a bigger percentage win than any other candidate since Venezuela’s 1958 election following the overthrow of dictator Marcos Perez Jimenez.
However, low turnout means Maduro’s actual vote total was lower than when he only narrowly won election for the first time in 2013.
Venezuela is deep in the worst economic crisis of its history, with its people enduring food and medicine shortages that have sparked violent unrest and a mass exodus by hundreds of thousands of people.
Later on Monday, Venezuela’s two main opposition coalitions pledged to unify the nation’s fragmented anti-government movement and push for a new election later this year.
Opposition leader Omar Barboza said the Broad Front and the United Democratic Roundtable will push for a “free, transparent” election with international observers in the last trimester of 2018.
He said both groups will announce new actions toward that goal in the days ahead.