July 31, 2017 / 8:27 PM / a year ago

Venezuela's Maduro a 'dictator' after vote: White House

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The White House said on Monday that Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro is now effectively a dictator after “seizing absolute power” through what Washington said was a sham election of the country’s National Constituent Assembly.

Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro (L) gestures next to his wife Cilia Flores during the closing campaign ceremony for the upcoming Constituent Assembly election in Caracas, Venezuela, July 27, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins

“Maduro is not just a bad leader. He is now a dictator,” national security adviser H.R. McMaster told a news briefing. “Recent actions culminating in yesterday’s seizure of absolute power through the sham election of the National Constituent Assembly represent a very serious blow to democracy in our hemisphere.”

Reporting by Ayesha Rascoe and Matt Spetalnick; Writing by David Alexander; Editing by Tom Brown

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