Venezuelan VP and FM consolidates his vertiginous political career
The recently appointed vice-president has worked his way up in no time
That day, civil insurgents from a larger group trying to topple then Venezuelan President Carlos Andrés Pérez got on Maduro's bus in their attempt to escape from authorities.
At that moment, Maduro recognized some of those faces, said a former "brother in arms", who preferred not to reveal his identity.
Although he was asked to join the coup d'etat, he refused by saying that the leaders were "military fascists," the source said.
Maduro, who is currently the Venezuelan Minister of Foreign Affairs and Executive Vice-President, was at that time a member of socialist party Liga Socialista (Socialist League). His party was fully aware of the coup and had discussed whether they would support such a move or not.
Maduro was among the majority in his party who mistrusted the military officers behind the coup d'état.
In addition to working as a bus driver, Maduro was a leader of Metro de Caracas' trade union.
After the events of February 4, 1992, Chávez and the military officers supporting his coup became popular and began receiving visits while they were in jail. Maduro and his current wife, Cilia Flores, who is currently the Venezuelan Solicitor General, were among the visitors from across the country.
Later on, upon the foundation of left-wing party MVR (Fifth Republic Movement), which would become the ruling party upon Chávez's election as president in 1998, Maduro joined the party, became a leader thereof and earned Chávez's trust.
By working hard inside the party and showing loyalty to the leader, Maduro rapidly worked his way up: he became national coordinator of the Bolivarian Force of Workers, chief of the parliamentary bloc of MVR, and president of the Citizen Participation Committee of the National Constituent Assembly. Yet his debut in the "big leagues" did not take place until 2005, when he became Speaker of the National Assembly.
In 2006, Maduro was reelected as Speaker of the National Assembly. In August that year, he was appointed as foreign minister. In his six years in office, he has shown a strong commitment to Chavezism. Today, upon the emergence of President Chávez's illness, the bonds of trust and friendship between the Venezuelan leader and Maduro are stronger.
The foreign minister, who has been recently appointed as executive vice-president as well, is said to be one of the major candidates to receive the baton from Hugo Chávez.
Translated by Jhean Cabrera
Cristian Fonseca, a businessman in La Candelaria district downtown Caracas, was doing the accounts in his small shop office on Sunday December 21, 2008. The Christmas shopping season kept him working late hours into the night. It was around 11 p.m. and his phone rang. A friend broke the bad news to him over the telephone.