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Jorge Rodríguez: The Calculating Psychiatrist Biding His Time to Succeed Nicolás Maduro

Nicolás Maduro and his allies were anxious as they counted the votes, but it was not enough to defeat opponent Henrique Capriles. In April 2013, the candidate chosen by Hugo Chávez lost the Presidency of Venezuela just a month after Chavez’s death. The Bolivarian revolution was at a crossroads, but Maduro managed to come out on top. A former minister, who remains anonymous due to fear of his old comrades, reveals that there were discussions about ignoring the defeat and holding on to power, but ultimately a coup was not necessary. That night, the National Electoral Council announced that Maduro had reversed the result and ended up winning the Presidency with a 1.5% lead. Following this disputed victory, Maduro teamed up with psychiatrist Jorge Rodríguez, a key political figure now aligned with the government, who had become involved in electoral matters earlier in his career in 2003.

On July 28, which marks Hugo Chávez’s birthday, a new election will challenge the ruling Chavismo regime, currently led by Maduro, Jorge Rodríguez, and Delcy Rodríguez. The situation in 2013 could repeat itself, but the circumstances now are more challenging: Maduro’s government has dwindling support, many international governments question its legitimacy, international courts are investigating its actions, and the opposition, led by María Corina Machado, is gaining strong popular backing.

Facing a transition he does not desire, Maduro has put Jorge Rodríguez in charge of negotiations that could lead to a change in government. However, those opposed to him claim that the true intention is not to build bridges but to burn them, preventing the adversary’s progress. If Maduro were to step down, Rodriguez only sees himself as a viable successor.

This ambition stems from the tragic history of Jorge Antonio Rodríguez, the father, a politician and guerrilla fighter who kidnapped William Niehous, a vice president of a glass company with alleged ties to the CIA in 1976. Jorge Antonio was later arrested and tortured to death by the state. His widow, Delcy Gómez, instilled in her children the mandate to excel, seize power, and avenge their father’s death. Their upbringing took place in a subversive environment, alongside other families with ties to guerrilla movements and leftist political groups like the Communist Party and the Socialist League founded by the Rodríguez patriarch.

You can find the complete article on The country website.

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