1. The former president, Hugo Chavez, was in office from 1999 until his dead in february 2013
He started as a career military officer, and launch his political career with the failed coup d’état against Carlos Andrés López. He was imprisoned for it for 2 years.
In 1998 he was elected President. Hi instituted a new constitution and the so-called “Bolivarian Revolution” and took the country towards a model of 21st Century Socialism.
2. A lot happened in 14 years
During Chávez’s 14 years in office he was re-elected 3 times, won a revocatory referendum and overcame a coup d’état that ousted him from power for 2 days.
His 21st Century Socialism Model became a “love-it-or-hate-it” one with passionate defenders and an equally passionate oposition.
He also had a “friends and foes exterior politics”, which included his widely publicized feud with the USA.
3. Chavez became known for his beligerant and outspoken style.
Giving us several quotes that, from calling George W. Bush “the devil” and stating the UN smelled like sulphur from his visit the previous day; to accusing capitalism and imperialism of killing life in Mars.
One of his final statements speculated on the possibility that USA have developed a way to infect people with cancer and was using it on Latin America’s presidents.
4. The cancer period.
On June 2011 Chavez admitted to be in recovery from a surgery that removed an abscessed tumor that had cancerous cells. He underwent cancer treatment in Cuba in the midst of secrecy and conspiracy theories, from the complete lost of his voice due to respiratory complications during a surgery, to him being dead long ago without anyone knowing it. A photo of Chavez intubated was released in El País, and quickly spread around the world, only to be proven a fake days later.
The type of cancer that would eventually claim his life was never revealed.
In 2012 right before the last election, Chavez stated that he was fully recovered from cancer. He was re-elected and Nicolás Maduro came on board as his VP.
5. Cue Nicolás Maduro - Acting President of Venezuela.
Pronounced: [nikoˈlaz maˈðuɾo ˈmoɾos]. A former bus driver that became an union leader and later on, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Venezuela. During the last election he was Chavez´s formula for VP.
He became acting president of Venezuela upon the death of Chavez on March 5th of this year.
6. And here’s Henrique Capriles, candidate for the oposition
The two of them will face-off for the Presidency of Venezuela on April 14th.
Capriles was defeated by Chavez on the elections of October of 2012.
The presidential campaign was considered as vicious by several members of the foreign press when Capriles was attacked by his Jewish roots, among other things.
He is quite popular among the younger voters, and before the elections, Twitter thought that he was the elected president.
7. After Chavez´s death:
Things started to get weird.
Chavez´s body was set to tour all the important places of his revolution, after being embalmed. Maduro, the self-appointed “political son of Chavez” told the Venezuelan people that the embalming of the body was a “gift out of love” and that Chavez “was theirs” and his destiny was to be set in a crystal urn to be admired. However, after a week of being displayed in the Military Academy of Caracas, it was determined that the body wasn’t apt for the process.
More than 2 million people arrived at the Academy for the first day of grieving. Maduro established national mourning for 7 days and kicked of his presidential campaign.
8. The Presidential Campaign Kicks-Off while the Venezuelan people mourn.
Followers of of Sai Baba, the Indian guru, bless Maduro as he his sworn as interim President on March 5th of 2013.
9. And Chavez is still present on it.
Maduro first claimed that Chavez revealed to him in the form of a small, yellow bird. “I felt him there giving us his blessing, telling us:’ today the battle begins. Go to the victory. You have our blessings’. That’s how I felt it from my soul”, stated Maduro.
After that, Maduro claimed that Chavez helped with the election of Pope Francis, and he might even called for a referendum in the skies.
Capriles called Maduro a “toripollo”, or bull-chicken, as in someone with the body of a bull and the mind of a chicken.
10. Candidates face-off in a musical duel
In a display of (terrible) rap skills, Maduro accused Capriles of being a burgeois and a copycat.
Capriles and his campaign responded with a reggaeton referencing the tiny-yellow-bird incident.
12. And then a century-old curse appeared
“If anyone votes against Maduro, he votes against himself. The curse of Maracapana will fall over them!” Maduro assured a crowd reunited in the state of Guarico.
In the meantime Capriles lead a multitude in the Bolivar Avenue of Caracas, but that was pretty much it.
13. The campaign will be open until Thursday and the election, the first one without Chavez in 14th years, will take place on Sunday, April 14th.
Stay tuned to see who wins, and if Chavez makes another appearance.