CARACAS   -   Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro was sworn in before the Supreme Court of Justice (TSJ) to begin a new six-year term on Thursday, with delegations from 94 countries in attendance.

Maduro told the president of the TSJ, Maikel Moreno, that he swore on behalf of the people of Venezuela and that he would fulfill and enforce all constitutional mandates to “seek to defend the independence and absolute integrity of the country.”

“This banner does not belong to me, this banner belongs to the rebellious and sovereign people of Venezuela,” Maduro said, adding that “Venezuela is a profoundly democratic country... In 19 years there have been 25 elections for all general level positions.”

Maduro was elected with 67.84 percent of the votes. He recalled that the May 20, 2018 elections were done “in spite of an international conspiracy to boycott the elections and delegitimize the institutional processes.”

Venezuelan Minister of Defense Vladimir Padrino Lopez said that under no circumstances would the Venezuelan military accept the violation of national sovereignty and the military would remain unscathed “in their unconditional support and unfettered loyalty” to Maduro.

The inauguration ceremony saw the presence of all the public leaders, except those from the opposition-controlled National Assembly.

Guests at the inauguration ceremony included Bolivian President Evo Morales, Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel, Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega and El Salvador’s President Salvador Sanchez Ceren.

Han Changfu, Chinese President Xi Jinping’s special envoy and China’s minister of agriculture and rural affairs, also attended the ceremony and conveyed President Xi’s congratulations.

Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel has said that Maduro’s reelection was a “strategic victory” for all Latin America, signaling people’s support for the Bolivarian movement and political party founded by the late Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez.

First elected in 2013, Maduro pledged to strengthen the Bolivarian Revolution launched by former President Hugo Chavez, which seeks to build an inter-American coalition to implement nationalism and a state-led economy.

Diaz-Canel also called for continued resistance against Washington’s attempts to interfere with the internal affairs of Latin America.

Amid growing tensions between Washington and Caracas over Venezuela’s controversial Constituent National Assembly (ANC), the United States has imposed a series of sanctions on Venezuelan individuals involved in the ANC, including Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, to support the opposition  Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD).

The sanctions included prohibiting transactions of Venezuela’s digital currency and a ban on Venezuela’s gold exports, a significant source of revenue for the South American country.

“The United States always maintains its unilateral posture of not respecting multilateral agencies while trampling on international law,” said Venezuelan Vice President Delcy Rodriguez, adding that Venezuela does not recognize any sanctions imposed on the country without UN authorization.