Cilia Flores

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Cilia Flores
Cilia Flores 2013.jpg
Cilia Flores in 2013
First Lady of Venezuela
Assumed office
19 April 2013
Preceded by Marisabel Rodríguez de Chávez
4th President of the National Assembly
In office
15 August 2006 – 5 January 2011
President Hugo Chávez
Preceded by Nicolás Maduro
Succeeded by Fernando Soto Rojas
Attorney General of Venezuela
In office
25 January 2012 – 11 March 2013
President Hugo Chávez
Nicolás Maduro
Preceded by Carlos Escarrá
Succeeded by Manuel Enrique Galindo
Personal details
Born Cilia Flores
(1953-10-15) 15 October 1953 (age 62)
Tinaquillo, Cojedes
Political party United Socialist Party of Venezuela
Spouse(s) Walter Gavidia Rodríguez
Nicolás Maduro (2013-present)
Children Walter Gavidia Flores
Profession lawyer
Religion Catholic

Cilia Flores (born in Tinaquillo, Cojedes, on 15 October 1953) is a Venezuelan lawyer and politician. She is married to President of Venezuela Nicolás Maduro, making her the current First Lady of that country.[1] Since 2015, she is also a deputy in the National Assembly of Venezuela (of which she was president from 2006 to 2011) for her home state of Cojedes.[2]

Personal life[edit]

Flores is married to President Nicolás Maduro, and replaced Maduro as President of the National Assembly in August 2006, when he resigned to become Minister of Foreign Affairs, with Flores becoming the first woman to serve as President of the National Assembly.[3] The two had been in a romantic relationship since the 1990s when Flores was Hugo Chávez's lawyer following the 1992 Venezuelan coup d'état attempts[4] and were married in July 2013 months after Maduro became president.[5]

Her husband Maduro has one son, Nicolás Maduro Guerra, whom he appointed to senior government posts: Chief of the presidency's Special Inspectors Body, head of the National Film School, and a seat in the National Assembly,[6] while Flores has an adopted son, Efraín Campos, who is her nephew from her deceased sister.[4]

Political career[edit]

As the lead attorney for Chávez's defense team, she was instrumental in securing Chávez's release from prison in 1994 after his unsuccessful coup in 1992.[7]

Tactical Command for the Revolution[edit]

While serving as chair of the Political Command of the Bolivarian Revolution, Flores was part of the Tactical Command for the Revolution, an organization that ran the majority of Hugo Chávez's political machine. On 7 April, days before the 2002 Venezuelan coup d'état attempt, Flores along with Guillermo García Ponce and Freddy Bernal shared plans of using the Bolivarian Circles as a paramilitary force to end opposition marches and defend Chávez in Miraflores Palace by organizing them into brigades.[8]

On 11 April while opposition marchers headed towards Miraflores Palace in protest, Bolivarian Circles gathered around the palace[9] armed with rocks, clubs and molotov cocktails all within view of the National Guard that was stationed nearby.[10] The Bolivarian Circles then participated in demonstrations that became violent.[11]

National Assembly[edit]

A member of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), Flores replaced her husband Maduro as Speaker of the Assembly in August 2006, when he was appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs; she was the first woman to serve as president of the National Assembly (2006–2011). On 10 January 2007, Flores swore Chávez into office following the 2006 presidential election.[3]

Flores is running for a seat in the National Assembly in Venezuela's 2015 parliamentary elections as a candidate for the Great Patriotic Pole.[12] She said she would use her seat to defend the social rights of citizens and the achievements of the Bolivarian Revolution.[13]

First Lady[edit]

Upon Maduro's tight victory in the 2013 presidential election over Henrique Capriles, Cilia Flores became Venezuela's First Lady, a position that had long been vacant.

Controversy[edit]

Nepotism[edit]

Page of sealed superseding indictment of United States of America v. Efrain Antonio Campo Flores and Franqui Francisco Flores de Freitas.

Flores was accused of nepotism with individuals claiming that several of her close relatives became employees of the National Assembly while she was a deputy.[14][15][16] According to Tal Cual, 16 relatives of Flores were in an office while she was in the National Assembly.[17] Flores responded to the reporters who shared the nepotism allegations stating it was part of a smear campaign, calling them "mercenaries of the pen".[14] Both opposition and members of the government denounced the alleged nepotism calling it an injustice, with one PSUV member taking the allegations to Venezuela's Ministry of Labour.[14] In 2012, relatives of Flores were removed from office[17] though some received other occupations in the government a year later.[18]

Drug trafficking incident[edit]

On 10 November 2015, two nephews of Cilia Flores, Efraín Antonio Campos Flores and Francisco Flores de Freites, were arrested in Port-au-Prince, Haiti by local police while attempting to make a deal to transport 800 kilograms[19] of cocaine destined for New York and were turned over to the Drug Enforcement Administration where they were flown directly to the United States.[20][21][22] Campos stated on the DEA plane that he was the step son of President Maduro and that he grew up in the Maduro household while being raised by Flores.[21][22] The men traveled to Haiti with Venezuelan diplomatic passports but did not have diplomatic immunity according to former head of DEA international operations Michael Vigil.[20] The two were previously monitored and filmed by the DEA between October and November 2015 after they contacted a DEA informant for advice on trafficking cocaine and brought a kilogram of cocaine to the informant to show its quality.[21] The incident happened at a time when multiple high-ranking members of the Venezuelan government were being investigated for their involvement of drug trafficking.[21]

References[edit]

  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ "Diputada Cilia Flores: daremos la pelea, aquí nadie se rinde". TeleSUR (in Spanish). 7 January 2016. Retrieved 9 January 2016. 
  3. ^ a b Cawthorne, Andrew; Naranjo, Mario (9 December 2012). "Who is Nicolas Maduro, Possible Successor to Hugo Chávez?". The Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved 10 December 2012. 
  4. ^ a b Dreier, Hannah (12 November 2015). "US COURT: NEPHEWS OF VENEZUELA FIRST LADY HELD WITHOUT BAIL". Associated Press. Retrieved 14 November 2015. 
  5. ^ Guererro, Kay; Dominguez, Claudia; Shoichet, Catherine E. (12 November 2015). "Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's family members indicted in U.S. court". CNN. Retrieved 14 November 2015. 
  6. ^ "Venezuelan president's son, Nicolas Maduro Jr., showered in dollar bills as economy collapses". Fox News Latino. 19 March 2015. Retrieved 20 March 2015. 
  7. ^ "Cilia Flores Maduro Bio". Daily Entertainment News. Retrieved April 13, 2013. 
  8. ^ Nelson, Brian A. (2009). The silence and the scorpion : the coup against Chávez and the making of modern Venezuela (online ed.). New York: Nation Books. pp. 20–22. ISBN 1568584180. 
  9. ^ Nelson, Brian A. (2012). The silence and the scorpion : the coup against Chávez and the making of modern Venezuela. New York: Nation Books. p. 16. ISBN 9781568586861. 
  10. ^ Nelson, Brian A. (2009). The silence and the scorpion : the coup against Chávez and the making of modern Venezuela (online ed.). New York: Nation Books. p. 19. ISBN 1568584180. 
  11. ^ http://www.unhcr.org/cgi-bin/texis/vtx/home/opendoc.htm?tbl=RSDCOI&page=research&id=3dec9b4b4 UNHCR
  12. ^ "Cilia Flores formalizó su inscripción para las parlamentarias". El Nacional. 5 August 2015. Retrieved 12 August 2015. 
  13. ^ "Cilia Flores inscribió su candidatura parlamentaria". El Universal. 5 August 2015. Retrieved 12 August 2015. 
  14. ^ a b c Lares Martiz, Valentina (15 July 2008). "Denuncian por nepotismo a la presidenta del Congreso venezolano, Cilia Flores". El Tiempo (Colombia). Retrieved 12 August 2015. 
  15. ^ Clan Flores fuera de la AN
  16. ^ "Es falso que tenga muchos familiares en la Asamblea" 30 May 2008.
  17. ^ a b Ayala Altuve, Dayimar (7 July 2012). "Fin al nepotismo Flores". Tal Cual. Retrieved 17 January 2015. 
  18. ^ Lozano, Daniel (5 October 2013). "Acusan de nepotismo a Maduro". El Diario La Prensa. Retrieved 18 January 2015. 
  19. ^ Kay Guerrero and Claudia Dominguez (2015-11-12). "U.S. agents arrest members of Venezuelan President's family in Haiti". 
  20. ^ a b Goodman, Joshua; Caldwell, Alicia A.; Sanchez, Fabiola (11 November 2015). "Nephews of Venezuelan First Lady Arrested on US Drug Charges". The New York Times. Retrieved 12 November 2015. 
  21. ^ a b c d de Córdoba, José (11 November 2015). "U.S. Arrests Two Relatives of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro on Drug-Trafficking Charges". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 12 November 2015. 
  22. ^ a b Llorente, Elizabeth; Llenas, Bryan (11 November 2015). "Relatives of Venezuelan president arrested trying to smuggle nearly 1 ton of drugs into U.S.". Fox News Latino. Retrieved 12 November 2015. 
Political offices
Preceded by
Nicolás Maduro
President of the National Assembly of Venezuela
2006-2011
Succeeded by
Fernando Soto Rojas
Honorary titles
Preceded by
Marisabel Rodríguez de Chávez
First Lady of Venezuela
2013–present
Succeeded by
Incumbent