PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad (CMC) — Trinidad and Tobago's Prime Minister Kamla Persad Bissessar said the victory of Nicolás Maduro in Sunday's presidential elections in Venezuela ensures a continuation of the vision that the late President Hugo Chavez had for Latin America and the Caribbean.
Fifty-year-old Maduro, who was chosen by Chavez before his death from cancer last month to succeed him, defeated Henrique Capriles who obtained 49.1 per cent of the votes.
The Opposition has demanded an immediate recount of the votes, claiming there were more than 300,000 incidents from Sunday's poll that need to be examined.
Maduro won 50.7 per cent of the votes.
In a congratulatory message, Prime Minister Persad Bissessar said the "victory is evident of the confidence the Venezuelan people have reposed in his published commitment to building on the legacy of the late President Hugo Chavez, whose vision was for the creation and consolidation of a strong Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC)".
"My Government therefore looks forward to working closely with you in pursuit of mutually agreed goals as we celebrate this year, the fiftieth anniversary of the establishment of bilateral diplomatic relations," the prime minister said.
The National Electoral Council has said the results of the polls were "irreversible" and Maduro, who will be sworn in on April 19, has called for the results to be respected.
Maduro will serve until January 2019 to complete the six-year term that Chavez would have begun in January.