Hugo Rafael Chávez Frías, the son of impoverished teachers and a lieutenant colonel in Venezuela’s military, joins with other officers in a plot against the government of President Carlos Andres Perez, but word about the coup gets out. Some rebels are killed; others, like Chávez, jailed.
3. 1994: His career begins.
Chávez talks to reporters after charges were dropped.
A new president, Rafael Caldera, is elected. He releases the imprisoned rebels in March — much to the public’s delight — but does not allow them to return to the military. Chávez goes on a tour of the country and then travels throughout Latin America, eventually beginning an important and lasting friendship with Fidel Castro.
5. 1997: A rising political star.
Commander Chávez greets the press in Caracas.
Chávez and supporters start a political party, the Movimiento Quinta República, and Chávez becomes their candidate for the 1998 election. Chávez marries Marisabel Rodríguez — his second wife — after she gives birth to their daughter.
7. 1998: The first of many victories.
Chávez and his wife Marisabel in Caracas.
Chávez is elected president with 56% of the vote. His victory is attributed to votes from the “young, the poor, and the politically unsophisticated.”
9. 1999: Waves of change.
Chávez speaks to the press in September 1999, in Manaos, Brazil.
Chávez takes the presidential oath, appoints new Bolivarian government leadership, and cuts many presidential perks, including his wages. His popularity surges, and he becomes known as “El Comandante.” With voter approval, he forms a new, powerful constitutional assembly. He also changes the name of the country (the Republic of Venezuela) to the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.
11. 2000: More power, another victory.
Chávez talks with his wife in Caracas.
The new Constitution of 1999 takes effect, giving more power to the president and the military and merging the two-chamber legislature into one. It also increased protections for the environment and the rights of women and indigenous people. Venezuelans now have more government transparency and access to education, housing, and health care. Chávez is reelected.
13. 2002: A brief setback.
Chávez after commemorating his two-year anniversary as president.
Chávez is overthrown — for 47 hours — by Venezuelan Federation of Chambers of Commerce President Pedro Carmona, who moves to dissolve the National Assembly and void the 1999 Constitution before Chávez reclaims power.
15. 2003: A serious challenge.
Chávez gestures during a demonstration in Caracas.
Two petitions are delivered with millions of purported signatures seeking referendum on Chávez’s rule.
17. 2004: Victory, again.
Chávez gestures in front of more than 100 journalists during a press conference in Caracas.
Chávez pours money into social programs and wins the recall referendum with 58% of the vote. His divorce from Marisabel is finalized.
19. 2005: Tension rises with U.S.
Chávez and Cuban President Fidel Castro speak with journalists at the end of a four-day visit to Havana.
“If I am assassinated, there is only one person responsible: the president of the United States,” Chávez says in an address to the nation. In December, Chávez supporters win 100% of parliament seats after Chávez critics boycott the election.
21. 2006: A third term.
Chávez pays a visit to Castro in his sickbed in Havana.
Chávez wins another term with 63% of the vote. He calls President George W. Bush “the devil” and denies renewing a broadcast license for Venezuelan news organization Radio Caracas Televisión Internacional, which allegedly didn’t pay fines and supported the 2002 coup.
23. 2007: His first big loss.
Chávez speaks during a press conference in Caracas.
Chávez launches broad initiatives to nationalize energy and communications companies and redistribute land. The government also forms a commission to review and amend the 1999 Constitution — suggestions include shortening the work week, extending the presidential term, and prohibiting sexual orientation discrimination. The amendments are rejected.
25. 2008: Strained international relations.
Chávez attends a ceremony with representatives of foreign gas companies.
Human Rights Watch releases a report on Chávez’s decade in power, in which he is praised for expanding his country’s human rights, but criticized for discriminating against people for speech and political association. In retaliation, the government throws out members of Human Rights Watch. Chávez also sends troops to the Venezuela-Colombia border after Colombia raids Venezuelan ally Ecuador. The U.S. and Venezuela expel each other’s ambassadors.
27. 2009: A big win.
Chávez attends an event in Caracas.
Chávez proposes a referendum to remove all public-office term limitations. Voters approve it with a 54% vote, granting him a chance at indefinite presidency.
29. 2011: Public illness.
Chávez holds a meeting with the foreign minister of Brazil, Antonio Patriota.
Chávez travels to Havana multiple times for cancer treatment. He has surgery and reportedly recovers well.
31. 2012: Declining health, increasing power.
Chávez waves a Venezuelan flag while speaking to supporters after receiving news of his reelection.
In a display of recovery, Chávez dances on stage. Before the election, he declares himself in good health. He wins his fourth term with more than 54% of the vote. After the election, Chávez returns to Cuba for more treatment and another surgery. It’s announced that he suffered complications.
33. 2013: A large life ends.
Chavez poses for a photo with his daughters, Maria Gabriela (left), and Rosa Virginia, in Havana, Cuba.
Chávez developed a lung infection that caused “respiratory insufficiency.” He returned to Venezuela and underwent chemotherapy. But by March, his respiratory problems worsened. He died on March 5.
Just before Chávez’s death, Venezuela Vice President Maduro said the president had been infected with cancer by “imperialist” enemies. According to reports, a U.S. embassy official was expelled from the country early Tuesday for allegedly spying on the Venezuelan military.
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Having traveled to VE and spent a good amount of time there, I was consistently approached by people expressing their disdain for Chavez, telling me how he has hurt their country, many wanting to leave or have had relatives leave. Many expressed concern that their property would be taken from them. Poverty still ran rampant, their was a military presence everywhere. The people there were truely wonderful, and I hope for a better future for them.
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Oh yes, “dictator” who won more elections with higher margin than any leader in the world, elections that the Carter Foundation called some of the most participatory and fair in the world. The man who “wasted” Venezuela’s money on programs that just happened to cut poverty in half and extreme poverty by 70% since fending off the coup and taking control of the oil in 2004. Who expanded health care and university education to all who desired, reduced inequality, and reversed decades of economic decline. Chavez was very wrong to offer solidarity to Middle Eastern dictatorships, but he operated from the viewpoint that almost every Latin American country has had brutal and corrupt dictatorships installed or given crucial support by the US. He saw his enemies’ enemies as his friends, an error that US leaders know all too well. He also focused too much on increasing consumption vs. building real industry beyond resource extraction. (The rich actually benefitted a lot from the inflated Venezuelan currency while industry suffered.) Not a saint, but someone who (in both action and as a symbol) did much to advance Latin America away from the violence and subservience of centuries past.
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This has to be the most sanitized review of Chacez I have ever seen. Who wrote this, his PR secretary ? He destroyed his country, devalued their currency, rigged their elections, and silenced the press. Hey, but he led a “large life” so that’s all that matters, right ?
- vanedulac thinks Hugo Chávez Is Dead At 58 is OMG
Esta noticia me anima como no tienen idea, para un estudiante de Artes Liberales y Filosofía vivir en Venezuela era una vergüenza en todos los aspectos, su sociedad muy corrupta y un líder corrupto, tenían que perecer, tienen que perecer, este señor no le aportaba nada valioso al país, decía seguir los pasos de Bolívar y lo que hacía era una blasfema imitación, dividió el país en dos, ha sido lo mejor que le ha pasado a Venezuela en estos últimos 15 años.
Lo que me molesta ahora es que lo pondrán como mártir y de seguro hasta una pseudo-religion harán con el chavismo, por fin!, la bestia ha muerto. Sin duda hoy se han liberado miles de personas que vivian bajo este regimen.
Tenia gran odio al Imperio, o como yo lo veía, paranoia y complejo de inferioridad, por ser Venezuela un país super atrasado comparado con las grandes potencias mundiales, Odiaba al estado de Israel, era muy bélico, le deseó la muerte a muchos, freno la economía privada en Venezuela, hizo del malandro común el ejemplo a seguir en Venezuela.
El era un frustrado.. frustado porque fracaso mas de una vez… y sus “grandes victorias” del 2004 en adelante fueron fraudulentas y eso todo el mundo lo sabe! claro para el fue facil salir impune porque todos los poderes publicos, el triubunal supremo de justicia, el consejo nacional electoral y las fuerzas armadas hacian lo que a el le daba la gana. asi cualquiera hace lo que quiere!