Venezuela’s National Assembly asks for President Maduro’s birth certificate

A comment by Laura Campiglia

From the moment Nicolás Maduro arrived in office, rumors regarding his nationality emerged. It is believed by the opposition that President Maduro might not have been born in Venezuela, and because he is of Colombian descent (his mother is Colombian), he might possess two nationalities.

Nicolás_Maduro_in_meeting_with_Iranian_President_Hassan_Rouhani_in_Saadabad_Palace

Nicolás Maduro (Image by Hossein Zohrevand CC-BY 4.0)

The website runrun.es states that the rumors started after Guillermo Cochez, former Panama ambassador for the OAS, presented an alleged Colombian birth record of President Maduro. Even though the Colombian registration considered this document false, and Maduro has fervently denied this, the speculation surrounding the president’s nationality did not subside.

The opposition has fixated on this issue because, according to Article 227 of the Constitution, in order to be elected President, a person must have been born in Venezuela and must not possess another nationality. This condition was placed in order to avoid any conflicts of interest, and in defense of the principle of sovereignty. Therefore, if the rumors were true, Maduro’s Presidency would be unconstitutional and he would be impeached.

As a result of this controversy, on April 12th the National Assembly, according to its website, formally requested President Maduro to present his birth certificate, as well as any other pertinent documents that would prove his birth in Venezuela, and the lack of another nationality.

Article 96 of the Colombian Constitution states that a person holds the nationality if their parents were Colombian and they later resided in Colombian territory. Deputy Walter Márquez provided proof that Maduro’s mother was Colombian by birth and, thus, held a Colombian nationality. Moreover, Jairo Andrés Navarro did an article for the Colombian newspaper La Opinión, in which he provides details of President Maduro’s life in Cucuta. Lastly, both of Maduro’s older sisters were born in Colombia. Therefore, Maduro should constitutionally have a Colombian nationality.

A little over a month after this request, the Supreme Justice Court’s Constitutional Court sentenced on the official Gazette N. 40,909 that if a person has multiple nationalities and one of them is Venezuelan, this will prevail in all legal matters; this sentence has created even more debate because of its vagueness. On one hand, the opposition argues that this is an attempt to exempt Maduro in the case that his dual citizenship is proven. On the other hand, the government insists that the sentence is only applicable to charges in the public sector that do not include any officials in the higher levels of the public administration.

Laura Campiglia

Based in Caracas, Venezuela. Studied International Studies, writes about politics, history, international relations, international conflicts and philosophy.