The United States is inserting itself into Venezuelan politics again by questioning the victory of Hugo Chavez successor Nicolas Maduro and calling for a recount of the vote from Sunday’s closely fought election.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry told the House Committee on Foreign Affairs that he had yet to decide whether the disputed result was legitimate.

“We think there ought to be a recount,” he said in reference to Venezuelan opposition demands for a full audit of the vote.

The interference is likely to enrage Latin American leftists. At least seven people have died in protests since the result was announced. Venezuela’s National Electoral Council declared Maduro the winner by 262,000 votes out of 14.9 million cast.

— Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.

The Guardian:

Henrique Capriles, the opposition candidate, claims the count may have been rigged and says he considers the outcome illegitimate unless it is checked in full.

Maduro initially agreed to a recount. But the electoral council as declared the result “irreversible”.

On Wednesday, the president of the supreme court said a manual count was an impossibility and called the request for a recount “a deceit of the people” that aimed to destabilise the country.

The ruling party has accused the opposition of plotting a coup, as they did in 2002. Maduro – the political heir of Hugo Chávez – says the US embassy has been inciting violence. His supporters point to WikiLeaks documents that suggest US diplomats have been trying to divide the movement that Chávez pulled together.

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