Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro makes the victory sign after a meeting with former Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero at the presidential palace in Caracas, Venezuela, Friday, May 18, 2018. Maduro is seeking a new six-year mandate and, despite crippling hyperinflation and widespread shortages of food and medicine, he is widely expected to win it on May 20 in an election that opponents have denounced as a fraud and have been condemned by much of the international community. (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos)

Maduro favored as Venezuelans vote amid crisis

May 20, 2018 - 12:15 am

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro is expected to win a second six-year term in Sunday's election, despite a deepening crisis that's made food scarce and inflation soar as oil production in the once wealthy nation plummets.

More than 1 million Venezuelans have abandoned their country for a better life abroad in recent years, while those staying behind wait in line for hours to buy subsidized food and withdraw cash that's almost impossible to find.

While polls show Venezuelans overwhelmingly blame Maduro for their mounting troubles, he's still heavily favored to win thanks to a boycott of the election by his main rivals amid huge distrust of the electoral council.

Maduro ended his campaign Thursday dancing on stage before a crowd while blaming Venezuela's increasingly dire outlook on a U.S.-orchestrated "economic war."

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