Venezuela: Nicolas Maduro looks to usurp rivals

Nicolás Maduro was born and raised in Guarico, in northern Venezuela.

The 61-year-old never graduated from university but, after working as a journalist and a TV producer, he became a rising star in the military.

He briefly appeared in 2014 on stage in Guarico when he gave a speech at a socialist rally. However, it was unclear whether he had taken part in the event.

Supporters believe he was heavily involved in the construction of the “palmas”, a television tower in Caracas, before becoming mayor of Maracaibo in 2004.

In 2007, he was named minister of tourism and was appointed Venezuelan ambassador to Iran in 2009.

Nicolas Maduro was set to succeed his mentor Hugo Chavez in 2013 but lost the election to Rafael Correa, an ex-colleague from the student movement, for president.

In 2013, he supported Mr Chavez in a peaceful referendum to remove him from office, in opposition to his own party.

He briefly became acting president, but was barred from running in the 2013 election.

He made his first attempt to be the party’s candidate for presidential elections in the election in April 2013, but was beaten by Hugo Chavez’s heir, Nicolas Maduro.

Mr Maduro was appointed vice-president in 2013.

His first term in office as vice-president ended in May 2016, when President Nicolas Maduro came to power.

His record is mixed, with falling living standards, increasing inflation and an unstable foreign policy.

In 2017, Mr Maduro was elected president with 54% of the vote.

He defeated opposition candidate Henrique Capriles and two other candidates, with 54% of the vote.

He was later re-elected in elections earlier this year and has been there ever since.

Currently, Mr Maduro is overseeing a painful economic crisis, where food and medicine are in short supply and major companies are faced with soaring costs and depressionary conditions.

Like his socialist mentor, he has refused to quit despite losing two elections.

The opposition have been increasing pressure on Mr Maduro in recent months, with protests planned on Thursday and thousands joining a march of musicians and rappers in their defence against him.

Opposition leaders are calling on Venezuela’s military to “block the traitor” Mr Maduro’s plan to ignore a court decision recognising presidential elections set for 30 July.

Mr Maduro said the ruling by the National Electoral Council (CNE) gives him the right to choose 30 out of the new 93-member assembly and 10 out of the 33-member constituent assembly.

The assembly will have the power to rewrite the constitution and also can dissolve the government.

Some 68% of Venezuelans believe the country is on the verge of a dictatorship and 84% think the ruling PSUV is guilty of genocide, according to a poll carried out by Datanalisis.

The survey was published on Wednesday and sampled 2,600 people across Venezuela between 6 and 15 August.

The poll, which has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.8 percentage points, found that 68% of Venezuelans believe Mr Maduro is overseeing an “imperialist government that is an extension of the United States”.

It also found that 86% of respondents believed “the Venezuelan bourgeoisie is a willing and active perpetrator of the death, hunger and misery that the population has been subjected to for years”, and the socialist party is responsible for genocide.

Source: News agencies

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