What you need to know about current Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro


1) Mr. Maduro’s father Manuel Díaz-Canel, Sr. was a former deputy in the Venezuelan National Assembly. In 1989, at the age of 45, Mr. Maduro was elected and elected to the local government in the town of Catia. (the town happens to be the model for the U.S. city of Catonsville in Maryland.) Mr. Maduro had attended Catania University on a scholarship, and had even graduated with a degree in business. His mother, Angelica Hernández, was from Matagalpa. (The capital city of the southwestern Venezuelan state of Zulia is currently undergoing a revolt.) Mr. Maduro’s elder brother Felipe served as a deputy in the National Assembly.

2) Mr. Maduro’s wife is Cilia Flores. She is, of course, the former first lady of Venezuela, and the president’s mother-in-law. She is the president’s lover and she married the president after separating from his former wife, Miriális Maduro.

3) Mr. Maduro’s father-in-law, Manuel Díaz-Canel, Sr., was assassinated in 1989 in Catania. A teenager he had met while in high school, Felipe was accused of killing Mr. Diaz-Canel’s father. (In the course of all this, Felipe does end up being implicated in the murder.) The episode inflamed sentiment in Venezuela, and his was the first confirmed death in a high-profile political assassination in the country.

4) Mr. Maduro’s father-in-law is probably the most famous political assassination of the 20th century. The account of the assassination is notoriously vague, and alternates between dueling stories, but one has him shot at his apartment with a submachine gun by a man looking like a government official, while another says he died as an innocent bystander.

5) Mr. Maduro gave a speech at the 2016 World Socialist Congress in Spain with the backing of Hugo Chávez, who was the president of Venezuela from 1999 to 2013. Mr. Chávez was elected just two years before his father-in-law was assassinated. Mr. Chávez said that then president Juan Carlos Varela had invited him to attend the conference after he received permission from his father.

6) In 2015, Mr. Maduro’s administration temporarily banned the Spanish newspaper El País from publishing articles in Venezuela because it had published critical articles.

7) Rumors suggest that Mr. Maduro’s father-in-law was also involved in the murder of a Venezuelan ambassador. Just before his assassination in 1989, he had traveled to the U.S. to work with Leon Perón, the late president of Argentina, on political matters.

8) In 2007, an Italian newspaper published claims that Mr. Diaz-Canel had served as a minister in Mr. Chávez’s government. A newspaper previously published accusations that Mr. Maduro had participated in a 1983 assassination of the presidential opponent Luis Herrera Campins.

9) A U.S. Senate committee revealed in a 2012 report that National Security Adviser Ricardo González had met a commander and an intelligence operative when he traveled to Venezuela with Hillary Clinton, then the secretary of state. The report also alleged that Mr. Díaz-Canel met with the same U.S. officials during the trip.

10) Mr. Maduro has threatened assassinations against opponents. One example of this was last year’s assassination attempt on María Corina Machado, an opposition leader. And more recently, he is calling for those seeking his ouster to face the death penalty. According to a Venezuelan government document cited by Reuters, Mr. Maduro has claimed that 16 of those that had participated in previous attempts to overthrow his government had died or committed suicide.

Related Stories

Leave a Comment