LatAm leaders congratulate Venezuela's new president

Source:Xinhua Published: 2013-4-16 13:08:41

Latin American leaders Monday congratulated Venezuela's newly-elected President Nicolas Maduro, following his victory in Sunday's tightly-raced presidential elections.

Argentine President Cristina Fernandez said "once again, the Venezuelan people have ratified elections as the peaceful means of making changes initiated by the late Bolivarian leader Hugo Chavez," according to a statement released by the Foreign Ministry.

"Along with the election observers of Unasur (the Union of South American Nations), the delegation sent by Argentina affirms the correctness of the electoral process, as has happened in the past 18 elections," the statement said.

Praising the "democratic spirit" of the elections, Brazilian Foreign Minister Antonio Patriota said Brazil and Venezuela should bolster their already close relations.

"I congratulate President Maduro on his victory and reaffirm our position to keep on working together," he said.

The minister highlighted the importance of Brazil-Venezuela relations, saying leaders of both countries should meet frequently to discuss issues of common interest, and calling for even closer ties.

In a message to Maduro through state media, Cuban leader Raul Castro said, "On behalf of the government and people of Cuba, I congratulate you on this transcendental victory, demonstrating the strength of the ideas and the work of Commander Hugo Chavez."

Dominican President Danilo Medina conveyed his "best wishes for a term accompanied by great success" in promoting "lasting prosperity and well-being" for the people, and "strengthening democracy."

Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa, a close ally of Maduro's predecessor Hugo Chavez, hailed the socialist party's win over the conservative opposition.

Ecuador's Foreign Ministry earlier issued a statement, celebrating "the historic victory" of Chavez's political heir and candidate of Venezuela's ruling United Socialist Party (PSUV).

"The government of Ecuador congratulates its fellow Bolivarian country on its free, well-reasoned decision and embraces the winner of these presidential elections," the ministry said.

Ecuador "is confident that it will continue to work together with the Venezuelan authorities to build the great country our ancestors dreamed of," it added.

In Bolivia, President Evo Morales told a press conference in the capital of La Paz, that "the people have decided that the Bolivarian revolution will continue and democracy won in Venezuela."

Maduro's win represented the continuity of Chavez's reforms not just in Venezuela but also in Latin America, he added.

In Haiti, President Michel Martelly said he "on behalf of the government and people of Haiti, reaffirms his commitment to maintaining and strengthening the cordial ties that have always characterized the history between our two nations."

Martelly said he hoped bilateral cooperation will continue to grow under the leadership of Maduro.

In a statement, Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto reiterated his willingness to strengthen the ties of friendship and cooperation between the two nations.

Maduro's "victory takes place in the context of an electoral process with ample participation of the Venezuelan people and in an acknowledged atmosphere of peace," the statement said.

In Peru, the state-run Andina news agency cited head of the congressional Foreign Relations Committee, Victor Andres Garcia, as saying that the "bilateral ties will remain the same as now, and they are good."

The Colombian government congratulated Maduro, but also noted the opposition's call for a recount to dispel any doubts about the electoral outcome.

"By virtue of the announcement made by the National Electoral Council, (Colombia) congratulates Mr. Nicolas Maduro Moros on his election as president of Venezuela," the Colombian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

But it also "acknowledges the willingness of the government and the opposition to undertake an audit that will help provide peace of mind and a reliable reading of the results."

Costa Rican Foreign Minister Enrique Castillo hailed Venezuela for holding "elections with ample participation, in which the Venezuelans have been able to express themselves."

Maduro narrowly won the elections with 50.75 percent of the votes, or less than 2-point advantage over his opposition challenger Henrique Capriles, according to the National Electoral Council (CNE).

Maduro, who served as acting president after President Chavez died of cancer on March 5, will govern until 2019.

Posted in: Americas

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