Position: Acting president
Incumbent: Nicolas Maduro
Date of Birth: November 23, 1962
Term: Assumed presidency on March 8, 2013, three days after the death of President Hugo Chavez from cancer. Maduro is the ruling Socialist Party's candidate in the April 14 presidential election.
- Maduro served six years as foreign minister before being named vice president last October and then Chavez's handpicked successor two months later. As Chavez's illness worsened, the burly, mustachioed Maduro became the South American nation's de facto leader.
- A former bus driver and union leader and self-declared "Chavista," Maduro is expected to continue Chavez's policies, including nationalizations, tight state control of the economy and financial support for allies such as communist-led Cuba.
- Maduro faces opposition leader Henrique Capriles, the centrist governor of Miranda state, in the April 14 vote. Maduro has benefited from the outpouring of emotion over Chavez's death and recent polls show him comfortably ahead of Capriles.
- Like Chavez, Maduro has a penchant for extreme rhetoric. He has accused foes of plotting to assassinate him and suggested that "imperialist" enemies infected Chavez with cancer. In a March 13 speech, Maduro said that "far right" figures in the United States were plotting to kill Capriles.
- Maduro inherits an economy beset by high inflation and unemployment but buoyed by the OPEC member's oil reserves. He says private sector hoarding and "speculative attacks" on the bolivar currency are to blame for the economic problems.
- As foreign minister, Maduro had a relatively dull image and never diverted from Chavez's line. He traveled widely, denouncing U.S. foreign policy and cultivating allies in emerging markets such as Russia and China, which would become a key financier.
- In 1992, when Chavez was jailed for a failed coup that made him famous, Maduro took to the streets to demand his release and visited him in prison. Maduro was first elected to the National Assembly in 2000, later becoming its president.
- He was born in Caracas and attended high school in a working-class neighborhood on the outskirts of the city. He began his political career as a trade unionist representing the workers of the Caracas Metro system.
- He is married to Cilia Flores, a former leader of the National Assembly who now serves as the nation's attorney general, and the two have long been viewed as a "power couple" in the government. Maduro was raised a Roman Catholic, and he and his wife are supporters of the late Indian spiritual guru Sai Baba.
(Compiled by Caracas bureau and Washington MPG Desk)
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