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Maduro, Venezuela's surviving president

Maduro, Venezuela's surviving president
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro survived apparent assassination attempt on Saturday

By Meryem Goktas

ANKARA (AA) - After Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro survived an apparent assassination attempt during his speech on Saturday, the world turned its eyes again to the Latin American country.

Explosive drones went off while he was giving a speech in the capital Caracas, which Maduro calls an "assassination attempt".

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

Several suspects, who Maduro said were responsible for the attack, were arrested.

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 reelection occurred as the country faces serious economic woes.

- Early life

Born in 1962 in Venezuela’s capital into a leftist family, Maduro lived in a working-class neighborhood of Caracas.

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 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 for the release of Chavez in 1992 with Cilia Flores, who would later become president of the National Assembly between 2006 and 2011. They would later marry in 2013. Flores now serves as attorney general on top of being first lady.

Maduro helped to found the Movement of the Fifth Republic which supported Chavez for his presidency 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 minister of foreign affairs.

- Election victory

He was minister for six years until he was named vice president in October 2012.

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

On March 5, 2013, Maduro announced that Chavez had died and proceeded to rule the country as interim president.

With nearly 51 percent of the vote, Maduro then won the presidential election and was sworn in as president of Venezuela on April 19, 2013.

In the election held on May 20 this year, Maduro was reelected president, a victory his main opponents did not recognize, alleging irregularities in the result.

Following the reelection of Maduro, President Donald Trump levied new sanctions on Venezuela criticizing the election as fraudulent.

Venezuela -- one of the world's largest exporters of oil and has the world's largest proven oil reserves -- is suffering from a big economic crisis, struggles to continue its socialist agenda in an era of low crude oil prices and the U.S. sanctions.

- Economic decline

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

Maduro has defended his actions by saying he took steps to stop a revolution that is dedicated to end 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.

A group calling itself "Soldiers in T-shirts" claimed responsibility for Saturday's assassination attempt on Maduro through social media.

The attack is not the first in the country towards political leaders, governmental institutions.

In June 2017, a former police officer, Oscar Perez hijacked a police helicopter and attacked the Supreme Court and Interior Ministry premises with hand grenades.

As part the 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 in security, air transportation, agricultural, tourism and civil aviation.

While 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.

source: News Feed
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