Chavez’s pal or US-backed rich kid: Who will inherit Venezuela?

Published time: March 06, 2013 12:29 
Edited time: March 07, 2013 01:35
This combination of file pictures shows Venezuelan Vice-President Nicolas Maduro (left) and Venezuelan opposition presidential candidate Henrique Capriles Radonski. (AFP Photo / Leo Ramirez)

This combination of file pictures shows Venezuelan Vice-President Nicolas Maduro (left) and Venezuelan opposition presidential candidate Henrique Capriles Radonski. (AFP Photo / Leo Ramirez)
 
An election to be held in Venezuela in 30 days will likely see a tough stand-off between “the Chavez man” Nicolas Maduro and the late president’s main opponent, US-supported Henrique Capriles Radonski.
An election to be held in Venezuela in 30 days will likely see a tough stand-off between “the Chavez man” Nicolas Maduro and the late president’s main opponent, US-supported Henrique Capriles Radonski.
Three months prior to his death, Hugo Chavez made it clear to his loyalists he wanted Vice-President Nicolas Maduro to replace him if he did not win his battle against cancer.
The chosen successor had already made a momentous declaration just hours before Chavez’s death, laying the blame for the Commandante’s illness on his political enemies and announcing that two US Air Force officials had been expelled from the country for spying on the military and plotting to destabilize the country.
Maduro made it all the way up to the top of the Venezuelan political elite from a grassroots level. He was a bus driver and later a trade unionist for the workers of the Caracas Metro transport system. Maduro got acquainted with Hugo Chavez while he served his prison term for an unsuccessful 1994 coup. Maduro’s wife, Cilia Flores, was a lawyer leading Chavez’s defense.