Magazine article New Internationalist

Introducing. Nicolás Maduro

Magazine article New Internationalist

Introducing. Nicolás Maduro

Article excerpt

Talk about big shoes to fill. Venezuela's recently elected President Nicolás Maduro is faced with the biggest going - those of charismatic former President Hugo Chávez. Maduro and his partner Cilia Flores (above right) are both longtime militants and, in a sense, the 'first couple' of radical Bolivarianism. He as a bus driver and then head of the busdrivers' union; she as a human rights lawyer who defended Chávez after his unsuccessful coup attempt in 1993. Both have served as presidents of the National Assembly and pushed through pro-poor measures of the Bolivarian programme. Nicolás went on to become Chávez's foreign minister and took over during Chávez's losing battle with cancer.

Maduro's victory was much narrower than expected (less than two per cent of the vote) and the question remains as to how he will negotiate the choppy waters of class polarization in Caracas. …

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