Almost as quickly as the news of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez’s death was announced, the world learned that Vice President Nicolas Maduro , 50, is Chavez’s hand-picked successor, the man who will now lead Venezuela. Maduro faces the almost insurmountable task of reuniting a divided country, Fox News Latino reported March 5.
President Chavez lost his battle with cancer in Caracas at 4:25 p.m. local time on Tuesday. Nicolas Maduro, a former bus driver, is said to lack the charisima of the deceased Chavez, but has a loyal spokesman for Chavez. Maduro earned Hugo Chavez’s trust by echoing the late president’s beliefs in Venezuela as a socialist country.
Maduro is widely known throughout Venezuela as a skilled negotiator , but one of the largest tasks the now president will face is attempting to hold together a deeply divided nation that includes radical leftists, moderates and many current and former military officers.
On Dec. 8 Chavez announced that Maduro was his chosen successor to the presidency of Venezuela. Hugo Chavez said that his cancer prevented him from being sworn in as president on Jan. 10, and that government supporters should “rally around” Nicolas Maduro and elect him president of Venezuela.
Maduro stepped in after Chavez underwent cancer surgery on Dec. 11, making appearances on President Chavez’s behalf, providing regular updates on Chavez’s condition and calling for unity among allies and criticizing the opposition.
Nicolas Maduro is expected to carry on President Hugo Chavez leftist, socialist government, promoting free medical clinics, government subsidized food markets as well as other programs that endeared the late president to the poor and incited the middle class as inflation grew and the homicide rate in Venezuela became one of the highest in the world. Steve Ellner, a political scientist at Venezuela’ University of Oriente said:
“Maduro combines two characteristics that influenced [Hugo] Chavez in his decision to designate him [Nicolas Maduro] as his successor: first, his loyalty to the party, leadership, and second, his positions in favor or popular measures [social programs for the poor].”
Political observers say that loyalty to Chavez and his vision for a socialized Venezuela made Nicolas Maduro the logical choice to succeed Hugo Chavez as the Venezuelan president.
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