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Standing proudly alongside her embattled dictator husband Nicolas Maduro, Cilia Flores may appear to be like any other first lady.
But she is more than a dutiful politician's wife. She is a lawyer, television host, political trailblazer and trendsetter. She is also - according to some - the most powerful woman, indeed person, in Venezuela.
Venezuelan - Government - Researcher - Flores - Operative
A former Venezuelan government researcher described Flores as a 'secretive, conniving and ruthless political operative' and 'Maduro's chief adviser in all political and legal matters'.
The 62-year-old has been at the heart of Venezuelan politics for nearly three decades, dating back before she and Maduro first met.
Period - Allegations - Corruption - Nepotism - Drug
Over that period she has faced numerous allegations of corruption ranging from nepotism to drug trafficking to human rights abuses.
As conflict within the nation's presidency has reached a fever pitch over the last week amid massive street protests and the US recognition of opposition leader Juan Guaido as the rightful leader, many Venezuelans are pinning just as much blame on Flores as they are Maduro.
Insider - End - Maduro - Wife - Pit
The insider said: 'In the end, she is Maduro's wife. She will fall on the same pit as Maduro.'
Flores came from humble beginnings, having been born in the small town of Tinaquillo.
Lawyer - Hugo - Chavez - Loyalty - Days
She rose to prominence in the 1990s as a lawyer for Hugo Chavez, whom she pledged her loyalty to during his days leading the Bolivarian Revolution.
It was during that time she was first introduced to Maduro, who is ten years her junior, but the couple didn't get married until some two decades later.
Chavez - Coup - D'état - Flores - Release
After Chavez was arrested following an attempted coup d'état in 1992, it was Flores who helped to secure his release from prison in 1994. When he became president four years later, Flores was by his side as one of his most stanch defenders.
She became the...
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