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Venezuelan President Maduro swears in for 2nd term

President of Venezuela who stands strong against US pressure sworn in for the 2019-2025 period

  | 18.01.2019
Venezuelan President Maduro swears in for 2nd term

By Beyza Binnur Donmez

ANKARA

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro was sworn into his second term last week despite the U.S. calling him "illegitimate."

Representatives from more than 90 countries, including Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay attended Maduro’s oath-taking ceremony, while his main opponents did not recognize his victory, alleging irregularities in the result.

Maduro first took office in 2013 following the death of his predecessor Hugo Chavez.

After being reelected on May 20, the Venezuelan president is set to govern for another six-year term, from January 2019 to 2025.

His was reelected amid serious economic woes in his country.

Early life

Born in 1962 in the capital Caracas into a leftist family, Maduro lived in a working-class neighborhood.

He was president of the student union at the Jose Avalos high school in El Valle. Maduro pursued his training as an organizer in Cuba rather than receiving formal education in college.

Following his father's footsteps -- himself an active union leader -- Maduro became a trade unionist, representing the workers of the Caracas Metro company where he worked as a bus driver.

When Hugo Chavez, then an army officer, was imprisoned in 1992 following an unsuccessful coup attempt, Maduro campaigned for his release as a member of the Revolutionary Bolivarian Movement-200 -- a political and social movement formed by Chavez in 1982.

Maduro campaigned Chavez's release with Cilia Flores, who would later become president of the National Assembly between 2006 and 2011.

The duo got married in 2013, making Flores the current first lady of the country. This was Maduro's second marriage, the first being to to Adriana Guerra Angulo, with whom he had his only son, Nicolas Maduro Guerra.

Maduro helped to establish the Movement of the Fifth Republic, which supported Chavez for his presidential campaign in 1998.

In 1999, he was also part of the team that drafted a new constitution.

In 2000, Maduro was first elected to the National Assembly, to which he was reelected in 2005 and served as its president until 2006 when he became the minister of foreign affairs.

Election victory

He was minister for six years until he was named vice president by Chavez in October 2012, it was his turning point in politics.

Before Chavez departed to Cuba in late 2012 for surgery after announcing his cancer, he indicated that Maduro was his preferred successor.

On March 5, 2013, Maduro announced that Chavez had died and proceeded to rule the country as interim president. He won the presidential election and took oath a month after.

Maduro was reelected as president in May last year, bagging 67.8 percent of the vote.

The result was denounced as fraudulent by most neighboring countries, based on the statements made by oppositions in Venezuela, including Argentina, Mexico, Chile, Colombia, Brazil, Canada and the U.S., as well as organizations such as the EU, and the Organization of American States.

It is counted legitimate by other neighboring countries such as Bolivia, Cuba and Nicaragua along with China, Russia, North Korea, Iran and Turkey.

Maduro was claimed that the U.S. has its eyes on Venezuela’s oil reserves while U.S. President Trump wouldn’t rule out a military option for Venezuela.


Assassination attempt

Maduro survived an apparent "assassination attempt" during his speech when explosive drones went off on Aug. 4, 2018.

Maduro blamed the far-right wing factions for the attack, saying the perpetrators were linked to Colombia and the United States.


Economic decline

Economic decline has led to deadly protests against the government demanding Maduro to be removed from the office.

Maduro has defended his actions by saying he took steps to stop a revolution that is dedicated to ending socialism in Latin America and allow U.S.-backed business elites to gain control of the country's oil assets. He blames the country’s economic and political woes on interference by the U.S. and its regional allies.

Venezuela's economic and political crisis caused two million people to flee away since 2015, says UN reports.

The current inflation rate in Venezuela is 1.3 million percent. In August 2018, the government decided to scrape off five zeros from the bolivar to fight with inflation.

In November 2013, the exchange rate was 6.3 Venezuelan bolivar per U.S. dollar but the rate surpassed 200,000 VEF/USD in 2018.

During the six years of Maduro's presidency, social investments in the country increased by 74.1 percent, while unemployment dropped by 6 percent to reach 60.8 percent.

Health programs offered free medical care around 100,000 times, while nearly 400 hospitals were renovated and surgical interventions increased by 600 percent over the last six years.


Relations with Turkey

As part of Maduro's first official visit in October 2017, Turkey and Venezuela signed several agreements in areas including economic and commercial cooperation as well as security, air transportation, agricultural, tourism and civil aviation.

While the bilateral trade between two countries amounted to $803.6 million between 2013 and 2017, it reached $892.4 million in the first five months of 2018, according to the Turkish Statistical Institute.

In May, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan stated that bilateral trade would reach $2 billion by the end of 2018.

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