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Sham elections in crisis-stricken Venezuela

Police guard a polling station in Caracas, where turnout was notably low. Photo: Roman Camacho/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro is declaring victory in Sunday's sham election — and the U.S. is responding with new sanctions.

Between the lines: Turnout plummeted to 46% from about 80% in previous elections despite the fact that Maduro offered cash and boxes of food to those who cast ballots. That's remarkable in a country struggling through one of the world's worst economic crises. Dwindling support, a collapse in oil production and signs of dissent within the military mean Maduro could struggle to see out his new six-year term.