|President of Venezuela|
Assumed office |
19 April 2013
Acting: 5 March 2013 – 19 April 2013
Jorge Arreaza (2013–16) |
Aristóbulo Istúriz (since 2016)
|Preceded by||Hugo Chávez|
|Secretary General of the Non-Aligned Movement|
Assumed office |
17 September 2016
|Preceded by||Hassan Rouhani|
|President pro tempore of the Union of South American Nations|
Assumed office |
23 April 2016
|Preceded by||Tabaré Vázquez|
|Vice President of Venezuela|
13 October 2012 – 5 March 2013
|Preceded by||Elías Jaua|
|Succeeded by||Jorge Arreaza|
|Minister of Foreign Affairs|
9 August 2006 – 15 January 2013
|Preceded by||Alí Rodríguez Araque|
|Succeeded by||Elías Jaua|
|President of the National Assembly|
5 January 2005 – 7 August 2006
|Preceded by||Francisco Ameliach|
|Succeeded by||Cilia Flores|
Nicolás Maduro Moros|
23 November 1962
United Socialist Party (2007–present)|
Fifth Republic Movement (Before 2007)
|Children||Nicolás Maduro Guerra|
|Religion||Roman Catholic, Sathya Sai Baba|
Nicolás Maduro Moros (Spanish: [nikoˈlas maˈðuɾo ˈmoɾos]; born 23 November 1962), more commonly known as Nicolás Maduro, is a Venezuelan politician who has been the 65th President of Venezuela since 2013. Previously he served under President Hugo Chávez as Minister of Foreign Affairs from 2006 to 2013 and as Vice President of Venezuela from 2012 to 2013.
A former bus driver, Maduro rose 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". After Chávez's death was announced on 5 March 2013, Maduro assumed the powers and responsibilities of the president. A special election was held on 14 April 2013 to elect a new president, and Nicolas Maduro won with 50.62% of the votes as the candidate of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela. He was formally inaugurated on 19 April.
Since being elected president, Maduro has ruled Venezuela by decree for the majority of the period between 19 November 2013 through 2016. As a result of Chávez's policies and Maduro's continuation of them, Venezuela's socioeconomic status declined, with crime, inflation, poverty and hunger increasing. Shortages in Venezuela and decreased living standards resulted in protests beginning in 2014 that escalated into daily riots nationwide by 2016, with Maduro's popularity suffering. The loss of popularity saw the election of an opposition-led National Assembly in 2015 and a movement toward recalling Maduro in 2016, though Maduro still maintains power through loyal political bodies, such as the Supreme Court and electoral authority, as well as the military. Maduro, like Chávez, has been accused of authoritarian leadership.
His father, Nicolás Maduro Garcia, died in a motor vehicle accident on 22 April 1989. His mother, Teresa de Jesús Moros, was born in Cúcuta, a Colombian border town at the boundary with Venezuela on "the 1st of June of 1929, as it appears in the National Registry of Colombia." Nicolás Maduro was raised as a Roman Catholic, although in 2012 it was reported that he was a follower of Indian guru Sathya Sai Baba.
Racially, Maduro has indicated that he identifies as mestizo ("mixed [race]"), stating that he includes as a part of his mestizaje ("racial mixture") admixture from the Indigenous peoples of the Americas and Africans.
Early life and education
Officially, Maduro was born into a leftist family, with his father being a union leader and "militant dreamer of the Movimiento Electoral del Pueblo (MEP)." The only male of four siblings, he had "three sisters, María Teresa, Josefina, and Anita “Lala”."
Maduro was purportedly raised in "Calle 13", a street in Los Jardines, El Valle, a working-class neighborhood on the western outskirts of Caracas. He attended a public high school, the Liceo José Ávalos, in El Valle. His introduction to politics was when he became a member of his high school's student union. According to school records, Maduro never graduated from high school.
At 24 years of age, "Maduro travelled through the streets of Havana with other militants of leftist organizations in South America that moved to Cuba in 1986, to attend a one year course in the Escuela Nacional de Cuadros Julio Antonio Mella, a centre of political indoctrination directed by the Union of Communist Youth."
Marriage and family
Maduro is married to Cilia Flores, a lawyer and politician who replaced Maduro as President of the National Assembly in August 2006, when he resigned to become Minister of Foreign Affairs, becoming the first woman to serve as President of the National Assembly. The two had been in a romantic relationship since the 1990s when Flores was Hugo Chávez's lawyer following the 1992 Venezuelan coup d'état attempts and were married in July 2013 months after Maduro became president.
Maduro has one son, Nicolás Maduro Guerra, whom he appointed to senior government posts: Chief of the presidency's Special Inspectors Body, head of the National Film School, and a seat in the National Assembly, while Flores has an adopted son, Efraín Campos, who is her nephew from her deceased sister. He has two granddaughters, Paula and Sofía.
Early political career
Maduro found employment as a bus driver for many years for the Caracas Metro company. 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. In the early 1990s, he joined MBR-200 and campaigned for the release of Hugo Chávez when Chávez was jailed for his role in the 1992 Venezuelan coup d'état attempts. In the late 1990s, Maduro was instrumental in founding the Movement of the Fifth Republic, which supported Hugo Chávez in his run for president in 1998.
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.
On 9 August 2006, Maduro was appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs. According to Rory Carroll, Maduro does not speak foreign languages. 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.
Vice President of Venezuela
Chávez appointed Maduro Vice President of Venezuela on 13 October 2012, shortly after his victory in that month's presidential election. Two months later, on 8 December 2012, Chávez announced that his recurring 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 be called to replace him, Venezuelans should vote for Maduro to succeed him. This was the first time that Chávez named a potential successor to his movement, as well as the first time he publicly acknowledged the possibility of his demise.
Chávez's endorsement of Maduro sidelined Diosdado Cabello, a former Vice President and powerful Socialist Party official with ties to the armed forces, who had been widely considered a top candidate to be Chávez's successor. After Maduro was endorsed by Chávez, Cabello "immediately pledged loyalty" to both men.
Upon the death of Chávez on 5 March 2013, Maduro assumed the powers and responsibilities of the president. He appointed Jorge Arreaza to take his place as vice president. Since Chávez died within the first four years of his term, the Constitution of Venezuela states that a presidential election had to be held within 30 days of his death. Maduro was unanimously adopted as the Socialist Party's candidate in that election. At the time of his assumption of temporary power, opposition leaders argued that Maduro violated articles 229, 231, and 233 of the Venezuelan Constitution, by assuming power over the President of the National Assembly.
In his speech during the short ceremony in which he formally took over the powers of the president, Maduro said: "Compatriots, I am not here out of personal ambition, out of vanity, or because my surname Maduro is a part of the rancid oligarchy of this country. I am not here because I represent financial groups, neither of the oligarchy nor of American imperialism... I am not here to protect mafias nor groups nor factions."
President of Venezuela
The succession of the presidency to Maduro, according to Corales and Penfold, was due to multiple mechanisms that were established by Maduro's predecessor, Hugo Chávez. Initially, oil prices were high enough for Maduro to maintain necessary spending for support, specifically with the military. Foreign ties that were established by Chávez were also utilised by Maduro as he applyied skills that he had learned while serving as a foreign minister for his advantage. Finally, the PSUV and government institutions aligned behind Maduro, and "the regime used the institutions of repression and autocracy, also created under Chávez, to become more repressive vis-à-vis the opposition".
On 14 April 2013, Maduro was elected President of Venezuela, narrowly defeating opposition candidate Henrique Capriles with just 1.5% of the vote separating the two candidates. Capriles immediately demanded a recount, refusing to recognize the outcome as valid. Maduro was later formally inaugurated as President on 19 April, after the election commission had promised a full audit of the election results. On 24 October 2013, he announced the creation of a new agency, the Vice Ministry of Supreme Happiness, to coordinate all the social programmes.
On May 2, 2016, opposition leaders in Venezuela handed in a petition to the National Electoral Council (CNE) calling for a recall referendum, with the populace to vote on whether to remove Maduro from office. On July 5, 2016, the Venezuelan intelligence service detained five opposition activists involved with the recall referendum, with two other activists of the same party, Popular Will, also arrested. After delays in verification of the signatures, protestors alleged the government was intentionally delaying the process. The government, in response, argued the protestors were part of a plot to topple Maduro. On August 1, 2016, CNE announced that enough signatures had been validated for the recall process to continue. While opposition leaders pushed for the recall to be held before the end of 2016, allowing a new presidential election to take place, the government vowed a recall would not occur until 2017, ensuring the current vice president would potentially come to power.
Many of the policies that were in action throughout Maduro's presidency were the same or similar to policies created by his predecessor Hugo Chávez. Maduro stuck to Chávez's policies in order to remain popular to those who find a connection between the two. Despite the increasingly difficult crises facing Venezuela such as a faltering economy and high crime rate, Maduro continued the use of Chávez's policies.
One of the first important presidential programs of Nicolas Maduro became the "Safe Homeland" program, a massive police and military campaign to build security in the country. 3,000 soldiers were deployed to decrease homicide in Venezuela, which has one of the highest rates of homicide in Latin America. Most of these troops were deployed in the state of Miranda (Greater Caracas), which has the highest homicide rate in Venezuela. According to the government, in 2012, more than 16,000 people were killed, a rate of 54 people per 100,000, although the Venezuela Violence Observatory, a campaign group, claims that the homicide rate was in fact 73 people per 100,000. The government claims that the Safe Homeland program has reduced homicides by 55%. The program had to be reinitiated one year later after the program's creator, Miguel Rodríguez Torres, was replaced by Carmen Melendez Teresa Rivas. Murder also increased over the years since the program's initiation according to the Venezuela Violence Observatory, with the murder rate increasing to 82 per 100,000 in 2014.
When elected in 2013, Maduro continued the majority of existing economic policies of his predecessor Hugo Chávez. When entering the presidency, Maduro's Venezuela faced a high inflation rate and large shortages of goods that was left-over from the previous policies of President Chávez.
Maduro blamed capitalism for speculation that is driving high rates of inflation and creating widespread shortages of staples, and often said he was fighting an "economic war", calling newly enacted economic measures "economic offensives" against political opponents he and loyalists state are behind an international economic conspiracy. However, Maduro has been criticized for only concentrating on public opinion instead of tending to the practical issues economists have warned the Venezuelan government about or creating any ideas to improve the economic situation in Venezuela such as the "economic war".
Venezuela was ranked as the top spot globally with the highest misery index score in 2013, 2014 and 2015. In 2014, Venezuela's economy entered a recession.
President Maduro reached out to China for economic assistance while China funneled billions of dollars from multiple loans into Venezuela. China is Venezuela's second largest trade partner with two-thirds of Venezuelan exports to China composed of oil. According to Mark Jones, a Latin American expert of the Baker Institute, China was "investing for strategic reasons" rather than ideological similarities.
Venezuela has also used military equipment from China using the NORINCO VN-4 armoured vehicle against protesters during the 2014–15 Venezuelan protests, ordering hundreds more as a result of the demonstrations.
Maduro has accused the United States of intervention in Venezuela several times with his allegations ranging from post-election violence by "neo-Nazi groups", economic difficulties from what he called an "economic war" and various coup plots. The United States denied such accusations while analysts have called such allegations by Maduro as a way to distract Venezuelans from their problems.
Following targeted sanctions of 7 Venezuelan officials that allegedly participated in human rights violations, Maduro wrote an open letter in a full page ad in The New York Times in March 2015 stating that Venezuelans were "friends of the American people" and called President Obama's action of making targeted sanctions on the alleged human rights abusers a "unilateral and aggressive measure". Examples of accusations of human rights abuses from the United States to Maduro's government included the murder of a political activist prior to legislative elections in Venezuela. Maduro threatened to sue the United States over an executive order issued by the Obama Administration that declared Venezuela to be a threat to American security.
On April 6, 2015, twenty-five (25) ex-presidents issued called Declaración de Panamá, a statement denouncing the VII Cumbre de las Américas, what they called "democratic alteration" in Venezuela, promoted by the government of Nicolas Maduro. The statement calls for the immediate release of "political prisoners" in Venezuela. Among the former heads of government that have called for improvements in Venezuela are: Jorge Quiroga (Bolivia); Sebastián Piñera (Chile): Andrés Pastrana, Álvaro Uribe and Belisario Betancur (Colombia); Miguel Ángel Rodríguez, Rafael Ángel Calderón Guardia, Laura Chinchilla, Óscar Arias, Luis Alberto Monge (Costa Rica), Osvaldo Hurtado (Ecuador); Alfredo Cristiani and Armando Calderón (EL Salvador); José María Aznar (Spain); Felipe Calderón and Vicente Fox (México), Mireya Moscoso (Panamá), Alejandro Toledo (Perú) and Luis Alberto Lacalle (Uruguay).
Roberta S. Jacobson, US Undersecretary of State for Latin America, says that sanctions "were not to harm Venezuelans or the Venezuelan government as a whole". The arguments for sanctions against Venezuelan officials, according to the State Department of the United States collected "erosion of human rights guarantees, persecution of political opponents and restrictions on press freedom, violence and human rights abuses to answer to anti-government protests, arbitrary arrests and detention of protesters and public corruption significant".
For his part, President Nicolas Maduro planned to deliver 10 million signatures, or signatures from about 1/3 of Venezuela's population, denouncing the United States' decree declaring the situation in Venezuela an "extraordinary threat to US national security". Maduro ordered all schools in the country to hold an "anti-imperialist day" against the United States with the day's activities including the "collection of the signatures of the students, and teaching, administrative, maintenance and cooking personnel". Maduro also ordered state workers to apply their signatures in protest, with some workers reporting that firings of state workers occurred due to their rejection of signing the executive order protesting the "Obama decree". There were also reports that members of Venezuelan armed forces and their families were ordered to sign against the United States decree.
Maduro and members of his entourage have voiced on several occasions of alleged conspiracies against Maduro and his government. Maduro continued the practice of his predecessor, Hugo Chávez, of denouncing alleged conspiracies and in a period of fifteen months following his election, dozens of conspiracies, some supposedly linked to assassination and coup attempts, were reported by Maduro's government. In this same period, the number of attempted coups claimed by the Venezuelan government outnumbered all attempted and executed coups occurring worldwide in the same period. In TV program La Hojilla, Mario Silva, a TV personality of the main state-run channel Venezolana de Televisión, stated in March 2015 that President Maduro had received about 13 million psychological attacks.
Analysts and observers of such allegations state that Maduro uses such conspiracy theories as a strategy to distract Venezuelans from the root causes of some problems facing his government. According to Foreign Policy, Maduro's predecessor, Hugo Chávez, "relied on his considerable populist charm, conspiratorial rhetoric, and his prodigious talent for crafting excuses" to avoid backlash from troubles Venezuela was facing, with Foreign Policy further stating that for Maduro, "the appeal of reworking the magic that once saved his mentor is obvious". Such conspiracy theories presented by the Venezuelan government have never involved any substantial evidence.
United States involvement accusations
In early-2015, the Maduro's government accused the United States of attempting to overthrow him. The Venezuelan government performed elaborate actions in order to respond to such alleged attempts and in order to convince the public that such claims were true. Such reactions included the arrest of Antonio Ledezma in February 2015, forcing American tourists seeking to visit Venezuela to go through travel requirements and by holding military marches and public exercises "for the first time in Venezuela's democratic history". After the United States ordered sanctions to be placed on seven Venezuelan officials for alleged human rights violations, Maduro used anti-US rhetoric to bump up his approval ratings. However, according to Venezuelan political scientist Isabella Picón, only about 15% of Venezuelans believed in the alleged coup attempt accusations at the time.
In 2016, Maduro again claimed that the United States was attempting to assist the opposition with a coup attempt. On 12 January 2016, Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), Luis Almagro, threatened to invoke the Inter-American Democratic Charter, an instrument used to defend democracy in the Americas when threatened, when opposition National Assembly member were barred from taking their seats by the Maduro-aligned Supreme Court. Human rights organizations such as Human Rights Watch, and the Human Rights Foundation called for the OAS to invoke the Democratic Charter. After, more controversies and pursuing a recall on Maduro, on 2 May 2016, opposition members of the National Assembly met with OAS officials to ask for the body to implement the Democratic Charter. Two days later on 4 May, the Maduro government called for a meeting the next day with the OAS, with Venezuelan Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez stating that the United States and the OAS were attempting to overthrow Maduro. On 17 May 2016 in a national speech, Maduro called OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro "a traitor" and stated that he worked for the CIA.
"I am not a CIA agent. And your lie, even if it is repeated a thousand times, will never be true ... I am not a traitor ... But you are, President. You betray your people and your supposed ideology with your rambling tirades, you are a traitor to ethics in politics with your lies and you betray the most sacred principle in politics, which is to subject yourself to the scrutiny of your people. You should return the riches of those who have governed with you to your country, because they belong to the people ... You should give the National Assembly back its legitimate power, because this comes from the people, you should return to the people the decision about their future. You will never be able to give back the lives of the children who have died in hospitals because they did not have medicine, you will never be able to free your people from so much suffering, so much intimidation, so much misery, so much distress and anxiety."
Homophobic comments and insults
During a tenth anniversary gathering commemorating the 2002 Venezuelan coup d'état attempt going into the 2012 Venezuelan presidential election, Maduro called opposition members "snobs" and "big faggots".
During the presidential campaign of 2013, Maduro used homophobic attacks as a political weapon, calling representatives of the opposition "faggots". Maduro used a homophobic speech against his opponent Henrique Capriles calling him a "little princess" and saying "I do have a wife, you know? I do like women!"
In December 2014, amid the celebration of 15 years of the "Bolivarian Constitution", Maduro made a comment on the drafted bill in the United States that would potentially penalize some government officials involved in corruption, drug trafficking and violation of human rights, with Maduro saying in radio and television, "they grab their visa and where the mess has to shove, insert the visa in the ass".
Jose Zalt wedding incident
At the wedding of Jose Zalt, a Syrian-Venezuelan businessman that owns the clothing brand Wintex, on 14 March 2015, Nicolás Maduro's son, Nicolas Ernesto Maduro Guerra, was seen being showered with American dollars at the gathering in the luxurious Gran Melia Hotel in Caracas. The incident caused outrage among Venezuelans who believed this to be hypocritical of President Maduro, especially since many Venezuelans were experiencing hardships due to the poor state of the economy and due to the president's public denouncements of capitalism. The incident took place hours after the Venezuelan government military parade conducted against the United States which Maduro's government claims is behind an "economic war" with Venezuela.
Drug trafficking and money laundering incidents
Two nephews of Maduro's wife Cilia Flores, Efraín Antonio Campo Flores and Francisco Flores de Freitas were found guilty for their alleged involvement in illicit activities such as drug trafficking in November 2016, with some of their funds possibly assisting President Maduro's presidential campaign in the 2013 Venezuelan presidential election and potentially for the 2015 Venezuelan parliamentary elections, with the funds mainly used to "help their family stay in power". One informant stated that the two would often fly out of Terminal 4 of Simon Bolivar Airport, a terminal reserved for the president. Due to the fact that the "sobrinos" (nephews in Spanish) of Maduro and his wife Cilia Flores were arrested for narcotics trafficking, the media described the nephews as the narcosobrinos.
After Maduro's nephews were apprehended by the Drug Enforcement Agency for the illegal distribution of cocaine on November 10, 2015, Maduro posted a statement on Twitter criticizing "attacks and imperialist ambushes" which was viewed by many media outlets as being directed towards the United States. Diosdado Cabello, a senior official in Maduro's government, was quoted as saying the arrests were a "kidnapping" by the United States.
Secretary of the President investigation
In December 2015 following controversial investigations surrounding laundered drug money performed by the Bal Habour Police Department and Glades County Police without the cooperation of the United States Department of Justice, a report from The Miami Herald revealed that much of the drug money was ultimately funneled from multiple banks into the Venezuelan Banesco Bank, with some of the largest payments wired to the bank. It was found that William Amaro Sanchez, a secretary and longtime friend of Maduro that was described as his "right-hand-man", had over $200,000 of the drug money transferred to his account. Juan Carlos Escort, head of Banesco, denied the allegations, although unnamed Banesco employees assured The Miami Herald that it was Amaro's account by providing information that included his account number, full name and Venezuelan government identification number.
Following such revelations, Panamanian lawyer and politician Guillermo Cochez called on Panama's Public Ministry to investigate accounts in Banesco related to the Venezuelan government, including accounts belonging to Willam Amaro Sanchez and also possible accounts belonging to relatives of President Maduro's wife, Cilia Flores. After Flores' nephews were arrested by the United States Drug Enforcement Administration, it was discovered that one of the arrested nephews, Efraín Campo Flores, owned a Panamanian company, with Cilia Flores and other relatives belonging to the company's board of directors.
- In 2014, Maduro was named as one of TIME magazine's 100 Most Influential People. In the article, it explained that whether or not Venezuela collapses "now depends on Maduro" saying that it also depends on if Maduro "can step out of the shadow of his pugnacious predecessor and compromise with his opponents".
- In 2016, the Reporters Without Borders (RSF) Top 35 Predators of Press Freedom list placed Maduro as a "predator" to press freedom in Venezuela, with RSF noting his method of "carefully orchestrated censorship and economic asphyxiation" toward media organizations.
According to Professor Ramón Piñango, 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."
- Venezuela 60-day state of emergency
- List of Presidents of Venezuela
- Venezuelan parliamentary election, 2015
- Supreme Tribunal of Justice (Venezuela) (after it gets updated)
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Nicolás Maduro.|
- Ministerio del Poder Popular para Relaciones Exteriores (Venezuelan Foreign Ministry) (Spanish)
- Biography by CIDOB (Spanish)
Alí Rodríguez Araque
|Minister of Foreign Affairs
| Succeeded by|
|Vice President of Venezuela
| Succeeded by|
|President of Venezuela
|Secretary General of the Non-Aligned Movement
|Party political offices|
|Leader of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela