María Gabriela Chávez
María Gabriela Chávez
María Gabriela Chávez Colmenares
12 March 1980
|Alma mater||Bolivarian University of Venezuela|
|Alternate Ambassador of Venezuela to the United Nations|
|Assumed office |
13 August 2014
Serving with Samuel Moncada
|First Lady of Venezuela|
María Gabriela Chávez Colmenares (born 12 March 1980) is a Venezuelan diplomat, a current Alternate Ambassador of Venezuela to the United Nations. She is the daughter of former President Hugo Chávez, and acted as his First Lady after his separation from Marisabel Rodríguez in 2003.
María Gabriela Chávez is the youngest of the three children that Hugo Chávez had during his first marriage with Nancy Colmenares. She enrolled at the Central University of Venezuela majoring in International Studies, but transferred to Social Communication after her sixth semester when she had a problem with a teacher. She graduated as a social communicator at the Bolivarian University of Venezuela, although she has not formally practiced the profession.
On 12 April 2002, during the coup d'état attempt, after the military announced that President Chávez had resigned and transferred him to the Fuerte Tiuna base outside of Caracas, María Gabriela was the first person whom Chávez phoned; their conversation was captured by the Associated Press. She contacted several journalists to report that a coup was taking place. According to statements by Fidel Castro in the Cuban newspaper Granma, he advised her to declare to the international media that Chávez had not resigned from the presidency, saying that "Then I immediately prepared her to speak with Randy the journalist, and at 12:40 we fired off (her message) on the air (...) and we delivered it to the agencies and CNN." On the same day, María Gabriela Chávez offered a telephone interview to the Cuban journalist Randy Alonso.
Like Zulemita Menem and Keiko Fujimori, she assumed the role of First Lady of Venezuela after her father divorced, accompanying him on trips and at official events. During the 17th Ibero-American Summit of Heads of State and Government, held in Santiago, Chile from 8 to 10 November 2007, she participated in the First Ladies' agenda. On 13 August 2014, she was appointed as Alternate Ambassador of Venezuela to the United Nations.
In July 2014, deputies Abelardo Díaz and Homero Ruiz, both of the Copei party, alleged that María Gabriela Chávez was involved in an irregular contract with the Argentine company Bio Ar S.A., which consisted of the purchase of rice and white corn overpriced by $15.5 million under the agri-food agreement between Venezuela and Argentina.
On 15 September 2014, the American moderator María Elvira Salazar, through her program on a small local television station in the US state of Florida, made a series of statements about María Gabriela Chávez's "fortune", where she presented a withdrawal receipt dated 07/20/14, against an account belonging to “CHAVEZ MARIA GABIRELA PDVSA", with the sum of 736,992,001 USD stil “available”, in “FRABZ FEREDAL BANK”, between other accusations. This financial institution doesn’t exist, but started further unproven statements about Maria Gabrielas "fortune".   On 7 August 2015, Diario Las Américas published an article on its website entitled "María Gabriela Chávez podría ser la mujer más rica de Venezuela" (María Gabriela Chávez Could Be the Richest Woman in Venezuela). In it, the newspaper said that Chávez holds $4.197 billion in her bank accounts in Andorra and the United States, more than Venezuelan businessmen such as Lorenzo Mendoza and Gustavo Cisneros. On 10 August 2015, Eva Golinger sent a letter to Diario Las Américas acting as Chávez's lawyer, demanding that the newspaper "desist from defamation of the character and reputation" of her client and "issue a complete and just retraction (...) of any defamatory assertion," affirming that Chávez was a victim of defamation and that she had suffered damages from the article.
María Gabriela Chávez is banned from entering neighboring Colombia. The Colombian government maintains a list of people banned from entering the country or subject to expulsion; as of January 2019, the list had 200 people with a "close relationship and support for the Nicolás Maduro regime".
- "DLA: María Gabriela Chávez, de hija consentida a diplomática internacional" [DLA: María Gabriela Chávez, from Privileged Daughter to International Diplomat]. El Diario de Caracas (in Spanish). 15 August 2014. Retrieved 31 December 2018.
- "María Gabriela Chávez, la hija del mandatario venezolano que actúa como primera dama" [María Gabriela Chávez, the Venezuelan President's Daughter Who Acts as First Lady]. El Tiempo (in Spanish). 6 September 2008. Retrieved 31 December 2018.
- Núñez Jaime, Víctor (16 May 2013). "La telenovela de la hija de Chávez" [The Telenovela of Chávez's Daughter]. El País (in Spanish). Retrieved 31 December 2018.
- "María Gabriela Chávez podría ser la mujer más rica de Venezuela" [María Gabriela Chávez Could Be the Richest Woman in Venezuela]. Diario Las Américas (in Spanish). Caracas. 7 August 2015. Retrieved 31 December 2018.
- "María Gabriela Chávez designada embajadora alterna de Venezuela ante la ONU" [María Gabriela Chávez Appointed Alternate Ambassador of Venezuela to the UN]. El Nacional (in Spanish). 13 August 2014. Retrieved 31 December 2018.
- "Abogada de María Gabriela Chávez intentó intimidar a Diario Las Américas" [María Gabriela Chávez's Lawyer Tries to Intimidate Diario Las Américas]. El Nacional (in Spanish). 25 August 2015. Retrieved 31 December 2018.
- "Primera parte de lista de colaboradores de Maduro que no pueden ingresar a Colombia" [First part of list of Maduro collaborators who can not enter Colombia] (in Spanish). RCN Radio. 31 January 2019. Retrieved 13 April 2019.
- "Maduro encabeza lista de 200 venezolanos que no pueden entrar al país" [Maduro tops list of 200 Venezuelans who can not enter the country]. El Tiempo (in Spanish). 30 January 2019. Retrieved 13 April 2019.