Will Chavez’s Successor Go Rogue?

Francisco Batista/Miraflores Press Office, via AP

In this photo released by Miraflores Press Office, Venezuela's Vice-President Nicolas Maduro delivers a speech at the presidential palace in Caracas, Venezuela, Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2012.

Venezuelan Vice President Nicolas Maduro was chosen as Hugo Chavez’s successor for his “yes man,” qualities, known for following orders and being sure to deflect attention to the ailing, but still in charge, president. But some, like former Colombian foreign minister Maria Emma Mejia, see Maduro as more of “a moderate man, a pragmatic man,” than a yes man, and predict that he will take on a more soft-handed approach to leading Venezuela than his uncooperative predecessor. Though he’s worked alongside the bullish Chavez and his policies for many years, Mejia noted, “He is not dogmatic in a way that rejects other people’s positions.” Others wonder, still, whether Chavez’s legacy will even allow Maduro to forge his own path in Venezuelan history.