Those who know him report that President Hugo Chavez is a Don Juan. He loves women and apparently, women love him back. Wherever he goes for his public appearances, women of all ages flock to him, hoping to get a hug or a kiss.
Chavez loves to be the center of the scene but particularly when it comes to women. It’s said that he grabbed Queen Elizabeth’s arm and took her for a walk and even tried to kiss Queen Sofia of Spain and the former Chilean president, Michelle Bachelet. According to international media he also tried to court CNN en Espanol journalist Patricia Janiot, American activist Cindy Sheehan and journalist and TV personality Barbara Walters.
Hugo Chavez's ex wives
Hugo Chavez has a long list of romances but he was married only twice. The first time he married Nancy Colmenares when he was only 23. Colmenares is the mother of his first three children: Rosa Virginia, Maria Gabriela and Hugo Rafael. According to Semana Magazine from Spain, theirs was a small, simple wedding ceremony, nothing too extravagant as Chavez was occupied with the beginning of his military career.
A few years later, he met Herma Marksman, a revolutionary historian, and had her as his mistress for as long as 10 years while he was married to Colmenares. Some say Marksman was the woman Chavez loved most, the one who influenced his ideological training and participation in the preparation of the coup d’ etat of 1992 that put Chavez in jail and the one who visited him there as reported by Spanish publications. In an interview with Televen, Chavez apologized to his first wife for leaving her alone with their children and no money after the military coup. That was the end of his marriage to Colmenares.
Meanwhile, Herma Marksman stood by his side while he was in prison but their relationship began to decline before he was released. Today, Marksman fiercely opposes the Chavez regime.
Chavez met his second wife, Marisabel Rodriguez, two years after being released. She was a gorgeous blonde Venezuelan radio journalist. It was love at first sight and they conceived their only child, Rosines, on their very first date according to declarations they made to El Universal diary. They were married from 1997 to 2004. Their divorce was caused by Chavez’s affairs and the feeling of hatred in Chavez’s world, said Rodriguez. Chavez said it was her bad temper that caused their separation.
After the divorce, Rodriguez and Chavez ended up in a legal dispute for custody of Rosinés. In his demand for guardianship, the president alleged that his former wife projected an unsuitable image for the integral development of the child. Rodriguez replied with strong statements about her former husband, accusing him of domestic violence and harassment.
There hasn’t been an official relationship for Chavez since his last marriage. People say he has a lover in Ciudad Bolivar—whom he visits in the presidential plane; that he had a romance with the Colombian Congresswoman Piedad Cordoba; that U.S. singer Courtney Love melted with his presence and Venezuelan politician Jose Vicente Rangel’s daughter had an affair with him… but again, these are only the rumors.
In 2007 almost all the national and international press published a romance between President Chavez and British Supermodel Naomi Campbell as a fact. Campbell attended an official ceremony in Caracas in commemoration of the Woman National Institute and some days earlier Chavez had given her an interview for GQ magazine. They had a couple of additional encounters that were uncovered, and when asked her opinion of Chavez and what was going on Campbell answered: “The President is not a gorilla, but rather a bull!” That was enough for the international press to write for weeks.
Alicia Castro is the former Argentine Ambassador to Venezuela and current Argentine Ambassador in the United Kingdom. Her relationship with Chavez started when he was still married to Marisabel. Castro has denied any romantic relationship with the President; she has said that her romance is with the Revolution although some critics of Chavez said that there was something stronger than friendship between these two.
Ruddy Rosario Rodriguez de Lucia
The alleged relationship with the Venezuelan actress and former Miss Venezuela World sailed around the world. Rodriguez was discovered by the press upon her departure from Miraflores but some time later, she invalidated stories with strong declarations. The actress said she had met Chavez to discuss issues about her foundation and not under any romantic scenario. “He’s not my type of man,” she said. In January 2006, President Hugo Chavez also denied the romance and claimed that it was all false.
Maria Gabriela, the ‘real’ First Lady
While there isn’t an official wife, the second of Hugo Chavez’s four children, 29 year-old Maria Gabriela, plays the role of First Lady of the Republic. Chavez himself agrees she’s his most political daughter. After her dad’s second divorce, she stepped to the front of the political scene, accompanying the president in his local and international acts.
In recent times, Chavez is in a very delicate state of health. He was reelected as President of Venezuela but he is suffering from serious medical complications deriving from his cancer surgery in Cuba. His daughters accompany him and Gabriela Maria performs the functions of first lady in order to maintain order and satisfactory political actions making his presidency an unprecedented family affair.
This story originally appeared at VOXXI under the title "Hugo Chávez's Love Life: Ex Wives To Mistresses."