With his health declining, Venezuelan leader Hugo Chávez has urged his supporters to vote for his vice president if he becomes too ill to remain in office.
President Hugo Chávez has named Vice President Nicolas Maduro as the heir of his self-styled socialist revolution should cancer force him out of office. He urged Venezuelans to vote for Maduro in the event of a snap election.
Here are some facts about Maduro:
* A former bus driver and trade unionist with Caracas public transport, the mustachioed Maduro, 50, has been foreign minister since 2006 and also was named vice president in October.
* As foreign minister, he has been a faithful ambassador of Chávez's views, including often radical critiques of global affairs from a hard left-wing stance.
* Maduro has won plaudits from foreign diplomats for his affable, easygoing manner. "He's the smoothest and least prickly of all the top Chávistas to deal with," one European envoy said.
* Maduro has been increasingly close to Chávez since his first cancer diagnosis in mid-2011, often at his side in Havana and giving brief updates to Venezuelans, although without giving away too many details of his boss's condition.