Hours after the Venezuelan opposition claimed victory, Cuban president Raul Castro expressed his ongoing support to President Nicolas Maduro, saying that Chavismo waged an “extraordinary battle” in Sunday’s historic legislative election.
“Dear Maduro – reads his 49-word letter posted on Granma, Cuba's official newspaper – I have followed, minute by minute, the extraordinary battle you have given and I listened to your words with admiration. I'm sure that new victories will come for the Bolivarian and Chavist Revolution under your direction. We will always be with you.”
Later in the day, Bolivian President and Maduro's close ally Evo Morales said the election results call for a reflection on what he considered an advance of liberalism in the region.
In a press conference, Morales saluted "the triumph of democracy in Venezuela" but urged to think of ways to defend what he called "our democratic revolution."
"The empire is constantly conspiring and what we're seeing now is that the economic aggressions and the wars are resulting in the empire having geopolitical control of the region again," he said.
Meanwhile, the secretary general of the Organization of American States (OAS) Luis Almagro highlighted "the way in which the electoral process was respected and that, in general, the vote was peaceful." He declined to comment on the results, saying the OAS "should remain completely indifferent."
Venezuela's Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD) won control of the National Assembly by a landslide, stunning the ruling party and altering the balance of power 17 years after the late Hugo Chavez kicked off the nation's socialist revolution.
The victory is likely to fuel demands for President Nicolas Maduro to free jailed opponents and roll back socialist policies during what could be a period of intense political conflict in a deeply polarized country mired in economic crisis.
The streets of the Venezuelan capital of Caracas broke out in shouts of joy, fireworks and car honking after National Electoral Council President Tibisay Lucena announced the partial results six hours after polls closed.
The AP contributed to this report.