Hugo Chávez

Hugo Rafael Chávez Frías (; 28 July 1954 – 5 March 2013), commonly known as Hugo Chávez, was a Venezuelan politician who served as the 64th President of Venezuela from 1999 to 2013. He was also leader of the Fifth Republic Movement from its foundation in 1997 until 2007, when it merged with several other parties to form the United Socialist Party of Venezuela, which he led until 2012. Born into a working-class family in Sabaneta, Barinas, Chávez became a career military officer, and after becoming dissatisfied with the Venezuelan political system based on the Punto Fijo Pact, he founded the clandestine Revolutionary Bolivarian Movement-200 in the early 1980s. Chávez led the MBR-200 in an unsuccessful coup d’état against the Democratic Action government of President Carlos Andrés Pérez in 1992, for which he was imprisoned. Released from prison after two years, he founded a political party known as the Fifth Republic Movement and was elected president of Venezuela in 1998. He was re-elected in 2000 and again in 2006 with over 60% of the votes. After winning his fourth term as president in the October 2012 presidential election, he was to be sworn in on 10 January 2013, but Venezuela’s National Assembly postponed the inauguration to allow him time to recover from medical treatment in Cuba. Suffering a return of the cancer originally diagnosed in June 2011, Chávez died in Caracas on 5 March 2013 at the age of 58. Following the adoption of a new constitution in 1999, Chávez focused on enacting social reforms as part of the Bolivarian Revolution, which is a type of socialist revolution. Using record-high oil revenues of the 2000s, his government nationalized key industries, created participatory democratic Communal Councils, and implemented social programs known as the Bolivarian Missions to expand access to food, housing, healthcare, and education. With Venezuela receiving high oil profits in the mid-2000s, improvements in areas such as poverty, literacy, income equality, and quality of life occurred primarily between 2003 and 2007. At the end of Chávez’s presidency in the early 2010s, economic actions performed by his government during the preceding decade such as overspending and price controls proved to be unsustainable, with Venezuela’s economy faltering while poverty, inflation and shortages in Venezuela increased. Chávez’s presidency also saw significant increases in the country’s murder rate and corruption within the police force and government. His use of enabling acts and his government’s use of Bolivarian propaganda was also controversial. Internationally, Chávez aligned himself with the Marxist–Leninist governments of Fidel and then Raúl Castro in Cuba, and the socialist governments of Evo Morales (Bolivia), Rafael Correa (Ecuador), and Daniel Ortega (Nicaragua). His presidency was seen as a part of the socialist „pink tide” sweeping Latin America. Chávez described his policies as anti-imperialist, being a prominent adversary of the United States’s foreign policy as well as a vocal critic of US-supported neoliberalism and laissez-faire capitalism. He described himself as a Marxist. He supported Latin American and Caribbean cooperation and was instrumental in setting up the pan-regional Union of South American Nations, the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas, the Bank of the South, and the regional television network TeleSUR. Chavez’s ideas, programs, and style form the basis of „Chavismo”, a political ideology closely associated with Bolivarianism and socialism of the 21st Century.

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