Footage has emerged showing Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro using a lookalike to avoid unwanted attention at the seventh Summit of the Americas last week.

A man resembling the 52-year-old who took the reins of the South American country at the death of his predecessor and mentor Hugo Chavez in 2013 is seen leaving a Panama conference centre in the video published by the CNN's Spanish service.

The man sporting Maduro's famous moustache is escorted down the building's entrance stairs by a large number of bodyguards, who walk with him past members of the press camped on the other side of the street. By his side is a woman with features similar to those of Venezuela's first lady Cilia Flores.

However the its claimed that both were so-called 'doubles'. The real Maduro can be seen moments later entering an SUV with tinted windows while the press is focusing on his lookalike, CNN said.

If the video is to be confirmed as authentic, the leftist head of state would join a small group of leaders and dictators, including Stalin and Saddam Hussein, who reportedly used 'doubles' for personal security reasons.

The Summit of the Americas meeting held in Panama City was the set for a historic meeting between US president Barack Obama and his Cuban counterpart Raul Castro.