Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro will be sworn in to a second term Thursday amid international calls for him to step down and a devastating economic crisis, but with some long-time friends in attendance both from abroad and at home.
A dozen Latin American governments and Canada in a coalition have rejected the legitimacy of Maduro's next term, and Washington has sanctioned top officials in his government, but Cuba's President Miguel Diaz-Canel and Bolivian President Evo Morales were coming to Caracas to show their support.
And while Maduro's popularity has plunged amid scarcities, hyperinflation and rising authoritarianism that have sparked a mass emigration, supporters who receive government subsidies in shantytowns continue to back the man who took over for the late Hugo Chavez.
Maduro's second term will extend Venezuela's socialist revolution amid widespread complaints that he has stripped Venezuela of its last vestiges of democracy.
The economic collapse has left the nation of roughly 30 million in the throes of a historic crisis.
An estimated 2.3 million Venezuelans have fled their nation's hyperinflation, food and medical shortages over the last two years, according to the United Nations. Those remaining live on a monthly minimum wage equal to less than $5 and falling daily.
Venezuela's splintered opposition movement has failed to counter the socialist party's dominance. Maduro's government has jailed or driven into exile its most popular leaders.
Anti-government politicians successfully rallied thousands to the streets across Venezuela for four months of demonstrations in 2017, when clashes with government forces left more than 120 protesters dead and thousands injured. Maduro remained squarely in power.
The Trump administration has increased pressure on Maduro through financial sanctions, this week singling out powerful Venezuelan media magnate Raul Gorrin. U.S. banks are also banned from doing business with Venezuela, putting a financial strangle-hold on the cash-strapped country.