Venezuelan president's crisis recalls Obama's - where was he born? Here come the birthers in Venezuela.
Birth certificate for Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has yet to be found
Those who sought to drive United States President Barack Obama from office claimed that he was born in Africa, and therefore ineligible to hold the nation's highest office. After a birth certificate was produced for Obama, these opponents - called "birthers," said the certificate was a forgery. In a case of déjà vu, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro is being accused of being born abroad. No birth certificate for Maduro has yet surfaced .
Some maintain that Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro is in fact from Colombia - but no birth certificate for him has been discovered in Colombia as well.
Venezuelan "birthers" claim that Maduro was born in neighboring Colombia, and that he is either a Colombian citizen or a dual citizen. Either status would make him ineligible to be president. These birthers have taken their complaint to Venezuela's Supreme Court, to Colombian authorities and even to the European Union.
Maduro's supporters dismiss these claims as nonsense. Madura has not addressed the question directly, but on several occasions said during speeches that he was born in Caracas.
The movement has gained the support of some opposition parties, which have asked the president to release a copy of his birth certificate. "This is an international problem," Pablo Medina, a member of the opposition Patriotic Assembly told CNN>
Medina presented a letter to the European Union asking them to scrutinize Maduro's nationality, and to take a position on the matter. Medina went to the European Union because other governments "should know that any contracts or any agreements that they sign with Nicolas Maduro, a Colombian citizen, are invalid, illegal, null and void."
Three lawyers have since asked the country's highest court to order Maduro to reveal where he was born, along with his parents' nationality.
It's not yet known how seriously Venezuelans consider the accusations against Maduro.
The theory is welcomed by some Venezuelans who see it as a sliver of hope to unseat him. The hand-picked successor of the late Hugo Chavez, Maduro narrowly won the election.
Many tut-tut this theory if not ignoring it altogether. "I sincerely regret these rotten, ill-intentioned campaigns, which make us think about what would have happened if this country was in the hands of people who only act to destroy the dignity and reputation of others," wrote pro-Maduro columnist Casto Gil Rivera in the pro-government newspaper Correo del Orinoco.
Rivera claims to have known Maduro since he was a child when he lived in Caracas.
However -- the fact that Maduro's birth record has not been located in either Venezuela or Colombia allows the doubts to persist. Some maintain that Maduro is in fact from Colombia - but no birth certificate for him has been discovered in Colombia as well.
© 2013, Distributed by NEWS CONSORTIUM.
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