Venezuela’s self-proclaimed President Maduro

Written by Staff Writer at CNN, Nicolas Maduro is the president of Venezuela

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Nicolas Maduro has become the de facto leader of Venezuela since his predecessor, Hugo Chavez, died of cancer in 2013.

Here are a few facts about the nation’s controversial leader:

1. He was born in 1954 in Barinas, a state east of Caracas

2. His father, Juan Barinas, was a former congressman for his home state. He left the country in 1970 and renounced his Socialist credentials in a 2002 attempt to overthrow Chavez.

3. Maduro graduated from Barinas State University with a degree in management and worked as a clerk. He later went on to serve as a congressional secretary and in the ministerial position of postmaster general.

4. After Chavez became president in 1999, Maduro became a deputy in the national assembly and after two years was chosen as the new president of Chavez’s United Socialist Party of Venezuela.

5. In 2005, Maduro finally beat Joseph Francisco Torres as the country’s president of the National Assembly.

6. Since he assumed power, many countries around the world have tried to diplomatically isolate him. In May of last year, he announced the discovery of a UFO in the vicinity of the Colombian border, which was dismissed by U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter as a “Jurassic Park-style experiment gone horribly wrong.”

7. In November 2015, the government of the UK became the first to lift its diplomatic sanctions on Maduro. But the U.S. did not, placing restrictions on Venezuelan officials based on their close ties to the current leader. In March this year, the European Union issued a statement of concern over human rights abuses in Venezuela.

8. A number of US companies — including PepsiCo, British American Tobacco and Nestle — have withdrawn operations from Venezuela in recent years due to the country’s economic crisis.

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