Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez was known as a Don Juan. He loved women and apparently, women loved him back.
Wherever Hugo Chavez went for his public appearances, women of all ages flocked to him, hoping to get a hug or a kiss.
Hugo Chavez loved to be the center of the scene but particularly when it came 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, Hugo Chavez also tried to court CNN en Espanol journalist Patricia Janiot, American activist Cindy Sheehan and journalist and TV personality Barbara Walters.
Hugo Chavez had a long list of romances but he was married only twice. The first time he married Nancy Colmenares when he was only 23. Nancy 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 Hugo Chavez was occupied with the beginning of his military career.
A few years later, Hugo Chavez met Herma Marksman, a revolutionary historian, and had her as his mistress for as long as 10 years while he was married to Nancy Colmenares. Some say Herma Marksman was the woman Hugo Chavez loved most, the one who influenced his ideological training and participation in the preparation of the coup d’ etat of 1992 that put him in jail and the one who visited him there as reported by Spanish publications. In an interview with Televen, Hugo 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 Nancy Colmenares.
Meanwhile, Herma Marksman stood by his side while he was in prison but their relationship began to decline before he was released. In the recent years Herma Marksman fiercely opposed the Chavez regime.
Hugo 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, Rosa Ines, on their very first date according to declarations they made to El Universal diary. Hugo Chavez and Marisabel Rodriguez were married from 1997 to 2004. Their divorce was caused by Hugo Chavez’s affairs and the feeling of hatred in his world, said Marisabel Rodriguez. Hugo Chavez said it was her bad temper that caused their separation.
After the divorce, Marisabel Rodriguez and Hugo Chavez ended up in a legal dispute for custody of Rosa Inés. In his demand for guardianship, Hugo Chavez alleged that his former wife projected an unsuitable image for the integral development of the child. Marisabel Rodriguez replied with strong statements about her former husband, accusing him of domestic violence and harassment.
This was his last marriage.
People say Hugo Chavez had 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 Hugo Chavez and supermodel Naomi Campbell as a fact. Naomi Campbell attended an official ceremony in Caracas in commemoration of the Woman National Institute and some days earlier Hugo 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 Hugo Chavez and what was going on, Naomi 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 Hugo Chavez started when he was still married to Marisabel Rodriguez. Alicia Castro has denied any romantic relationship with Hugo Chavez; she said that her romance is with the Revolution although some critics of Chavez said that there was something stronger than friendship between these two.
The alleged relationship with the Venezuelan actress and former Miss Venezuela World Ruddy Rosario Rodriguez de Lucia sailed around the world. Ruddy Rodriguez was discovered by the press upon her departure from Miraflores but some time later, she invalidated stories with strong declarations. Ruddy Rodriguez said she had met Hugo Chavez to discuss issues about her foundation and not under any romantic scenario.
“He’s not my type of man,” Ruddy Rodriguez said.
In January 2006, President Hugo Chavez also denied the romance and claimed that it was all false.
While there wasn’t an official wife, the second of Hugo Chavez’s four children, 29 year-old Maria Gabriela Chavez plays the role of First Lady of Venezuela.
Hugo Chavez himself agreed she’s his most political daughter. After her dad’s second divorce, Maria Gabriela Chavez stepped to the front of the political scene, accompanying the president in his local and international acts.
His daughters accompanied 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.