Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro started a second term on Thursday, defying critics in the United States and Latin America who called him an illegitimate usurper of a nation where economic chaos has wrought a humanitarian crisis.
The country's pro-government Supreme Court, which has largely supplanted the opposition-run Congress, swore him in following a welcome with a symphony orchestra and cheering supporters waving miniature yellow, blue and red Venezuelan flags.
The ceremony contrasted with the harsh realities that face the former bus driver turned socialist leader, including hyperinflation, severe food and medicine shortages and an exodus of millions of citizens.
Before he had even completed his inaugural speech, the United States decried a "usurpation of power," and Paraguay announced it was cutting diplomatic ties - highlighting the growing isolation that Maduro will face.
US refused to recognize Maduro and urged rank-and-file government employees to empower the opposition, reported AFP.
"We will continue to increase pressure on the corrupt regime, support the democratic National Assembly, and call for democracy and freedom in Venezuela," national security advisor John Bolton tweeted wrote.
"A new world has risen up that refuses to be controlled by the imperial and hegemonic orders of a single nation or its satellite countries," Maduro said following his swearing-in.
"That's the rallying cry of our revolution to the peoples and governments of the world."
The European Union, and many Latin American countries condemned the vote last year, and issued withering criticism of Maduro on Thursday.