On January 23, Venezuela’s opposition party held nation-wide protests against President Nicolas Maduro, who had just been sworn in for a second term. Over the past few years, the Maduro government has been sharply criticized for brutally crushing street protests and jailing opposition leaders. Maduro won re-election in 2018, but most international observers said the election was fraudulent, especially since most opposition candidates boycotted the poll. So after Maduro was sworn in for a second term, the Venezuelan opposition, reportedly backed by the United States, decided to challenge his right to power.
On January 23, the opposition announced that President Maduro was failing to meet his duties as president. The opposition then declared that Juan Guaido, the president of the country’s National Assembly, would take over as president of Venezuela until new elections can be held. Guaido was sworn in as the country’s interim president at a mash-shift outdoor ceremony. The United States has already recognized Guaido as the interim president of Venezuela, as have many Latin American countries. France and the UK have said they will also recognize Guaido as the interim president unless Nicolas Maduro holds a new election within eight days. Meanwhile, the Maduro government — backed by China, Russia, and others — says it is the victim of a US-backed coup.
Nicolas Maduro also has a complex relationship with money. He earns one of the lowest salaries among South American leaders, since Venezuelan law caps his salary at 12 times the country’s minimum wage. But Maduro’s net worth has been estimated at 2 million dollars — which, while lower than many leaders, still does not make him exactly a man of the people. Local media have also been highly critical of Maduro’s spending habits, which they say amount to 1.8 million a day.
Here’s what you need to know about Maduro’s net worth:
1. Maduro’s Net Worth Is Estimated at 2 Million Dollars, but His Salary Is Just Four Thousand Dollars A Month
Nicolas Maduro rose from fairly humble beginnings to become the right-hand man of Hugo Chavez and, after Chavez’s death, the president of Venezuela. Along the way, he seems to have accumulated some money.
Maduro may have begun to set aside money during the years he worked as a union leader. More recently, he has been accused of taking bribes from a transnational construction company.
Venezuelan law puts a cap to how much the president can earn. In accordance with the law, Maduro’s salary is 12 times the Venezuelan minimum wage. He earns just over four thousand a month.
Maduro is not the only Venezuelan politician with millions, of course. Hugo Chavez’s daughter has been named the richest person in Venezuela.
2. Maduro Dreamed of Being a Rock Star bBut Became A Bus Driver In Caracas Instead
Maduro was born in November of 1962 in Caracas, the Venezuelan capital. He was the son of a working class family; his father was a union organizer.
Maduro flirted with the idea of becoming a musician but became a bus driver instead. He and his father organized a local trade union.
From there, he slowly rose through the political ranks until he became one of Hugo Chavez’s top allies. Before Chavez’s death, he served as both the vice president and the foreign minister. After Chavez died from cancer, Maduro became interim president. Then — in a contested election — he became president in his own right.
3. South American Media Say Maduro Budgets 1.8 Million Dollars A Day For Food, Clothing, And Travel
Maduro and his children have often been criticized in the Latin American press for their spending habits.
In 2016, El Mundo said that Maduro was able to spend 1.8 million dollars a day on his food, clothing, and travel expenses.
That figure comes from the Venezuelan government’s 2014 budget, which was obtained by a group called Traparencia de Venezuela. The budget reportedly included a daily personal spending sum of 1.8 million dollars a day. Venezuelan media notes that this is 16 times more than Queen Isabella budgets for.
4. Maduro Has Been Accused of Accepting Millions in Bribes & Has Been Allegedly Linked to a Money Laundering Case
While Maduro was running for election in 2013, he allegedly asked the Brazilian construction giant, Obredecht, to pay him 50 million dollars in order to continue its contracts in Venezuela.
Obredecht has been named in bribery scandals across Latin America.
The company reportedly refused to give Maduro 50 million dollars — but they allegedly paid him 35 million.
Maduro’s name has also been linked to a money laundering scandal involving 1,200 million dollars and centering in Miami. He was anever actually charged in that case.
5. Maduro’s Political Mentor Was Hugo Chavez, Whose Daughter Is The Richest Person in Venezuela
Maduro was both vice president and foreign minister under Venezuela’s populist president Hugo Chavez. Chavez’s daughter, Maria Gabriela Chavez, has been listed as the richest person in Venezula.
Maria Gabriela has has bank accounts in the U.S. and Andorra with assets totaling nearly $4.2 billion. That figure would make her the richest person in Venezuela.
In 2017, Maria Gabriela was appointed to be Venezuela’s deputy ambassador to the United Nations.
She has been accused of involvement in a sweetheart deal with an Argentine rice company, Biart. But nothing was ever proven.
After that accusation came out, Maria Gabriela wrote an Instragram post, directed at her late father. It read,
“They speak about millions, about inheritance, about riches … and the think they insult us. They’re such simple beings that they have no inkling about the bigger riches that you always gave me and that you left me.”