Nicolás Maduro

Nicolas Maduro
Nicolas Maduro 
Nicolás Maduro Moros (Spanish pronunciation: [nikoˈlaz maˈðuɾo ˈmoɾos]; born 23 November 1962) is a Venezuelan politician and has been the President of Venezuela since April 14th 2013. He previously was the Vice President of Venezuela from 2012 and the Minister of Foreign Affairs from 2006 to 2013. Maduro became interim President following the death of Hugo Chávez. The electoral authority declared Maduro as the President on April 14, 2013.
 
A former bus driver, Maduro went on to become a trade union leader, before being elected to the National Assembly in 2000. He was appointed to a number of positions within the Venezuelan Government under Chávez, ultimately being made Foreign Minister in 2006. He was described during this time as the “most capable administrator and politician of Chávez’s inner circle”.[1]
After Chávez’s death in 2013, Maduro became interim President. A special election was held on 14 April to elect a new President, and Maduro was unanimously adopted as the candidate of the United Socialist Party and won. His opponent in that election is Henrique Capriles, the Governor of Miranda. The constitutionality of his assumption of power has been questioned by the opposition.[2]
 
Early life and education
Nicolás Pajarito Maduro was born in Cucuta, Colombia in 1962, the son of a union leader.[3] He attended a public high school at the Liceo José Ávalos in El Valle, a working-class neighborhood on the western outskirts of Caracas.[4][3] His first introduction to politics was when he became a member of his high school’s student union.[5]
Maduro was raised as a Roman Catholic, and his paternal family ancestry is of Sephardic Jewish origin.[6][7][8][9][10] He has also been associated with the Sathya Sai Baba movement.[11]

  Early political career

After leaving school, Maduro found employment as a bus driver for many years. He began his political career in the 1980s, by becoming an unofficial trade unionist representing the bus drivers of the Caracas Metro system. He was also employed as a bodyguard for José Vicente Rangel during Rangel’s unsuccessful 1983 presidential campaign.[12] During the 1990s, Maduro was instrumental in founding the Movement of the Fifth Republic, which supported Hugo Chávez in his run for president in 1998.[3]

  National Assembly

Maduro was elected on the MVR ticket to the Venezuelan Chamber of Deputies in 1998, to the National Constituent Assembly in 1999, and finally to the National Assembly in 2000, at all times representing the Capital District. The Assembly elected him as Speaker, a role he held from 2005 until 2006.

  Foreign Minister

On 9 August 2006, Nicolás Maduro was appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs. According to Rory Carroll, Maduro does not speak foreign languages.[13] During his time as Minister of Foreign Affairs, Venezuela’s foreign policy stances included support for Libya under Muammar Gaddafi, and a turnaround in relations with Colombia.[14]

  Vice President of Venezuela

On 8 December 2012, in an address to the nation, President Hugo Chávez announced that his cancer had returned and that he would be returning to Cuba for emergency surgery and further medical treatment. Chávez said that should his condition worsen and a new presidential election need to be called to replace him, Venezuelans should vote for Maduro to succeed him. This was the first time that Chávez, who died on 5 March 2013, had named a potential successor to his movement, as well as the first time he had publicly acknowledged the possibility of his demise.[15][16]
Chávez’s endorsement of Maduro sidelined Diosdado Cabello, a military man and powerful Socialist Party official, with ties to the armed forces who had been considered a top candidate as Chávez’s successor. He “immediately pledged loyalty” to both Chavez and Maduro.[17]
Ideological orientation
According to Professor Ramón Pinango, a sociologist from the Venezuelan University of IESA, “Maduro has a very strong ideological orientation, close to the communist ideology. Contrary to Diosdado, he is not very pragmatic.”[4] However, the World Socialist Web Site has argued that Maduro intends to roll back Chavez’s reforms, noting that, “In the conduct of his campaign, Maduro has continued his appeal to right-wing and nationalist sentiments, with repeated invocations of patriotism and the fatherland”. [25]

 Controversies

Maduro declared upon announcing Chávez’s death that “historical enemies” had poisoned the president and labelled the opposition as fascists.[26] The US dismissed claims that the CIA gave Chávez cancer as “absurd”.[27]
Maduro’s ad campaign has focused around photos of Chávez, not himself.[28] Henrique Capriles argues this is part of an overarching strategy by “Nicolas Maduro of using Chavez’s death for political gain” and accused Maduro “of lying to the country about the timing of the death of the president”.[29] An Associated Press article stated that a Venezuelan army colonel provided paint and other materials to paint pro-Chavez slogans all over a slum, a violation of a constitutional ban on the military from engaging in politics.[30]

     Personal life

Maduro is married to Cilia Flores, a lawyer within the Fifth Republic Movement (MVR) who replaced Maduro as Speaker of the Assembly in August 2006, when he was appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs; she was the first woman to serve as president of the National Assembly (2006–2011).[34]
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