Hugo Chávez has served as president of Venezuela since 1999 until his death in 2013. During his reign, he sold oil to Cuba, was against stopping illicit drug trafficking in Colombia, and later with the United States he developed a strained relationship.
Unsuccessful coup attempt
Hugo Rafael Chávez Frías was born on July 28, 1954 in Sabaneta, Venezuela, to a family of teachers. Before becoming famous for his attempts at reform and harsh statements as the president of Venezuela. Chavez studied at the Military Academy of Venezuela, which he graduated in 1975, having received an education in the field of military arts and natural sciences. Then he went to serve in the airborne troops.
In 1992, Chávez, along with other disappointed military personnel, attempted to overthrow the rule of Carlos Andres Perez. The coup attempt failed, and Chavez, afterwards, spent two years in prison, but was eventually pardoned. After liberation, he created the “Movement Fifth Republic” – a revolutionary political party. Chavez ran for president in 1998, campaigning against corruption in the government and promising to carry out economic reforms.
President of Venezuela
After coming to power in 1999, Chavez decided to change the constitution of Venezuela, amending the powers of Congress and the judiciary. Under the new constitution, the name of the country was changed to the “Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela”. As president, Chávez faced problems both in his own country and abroad. His attempts to strengthen his influence on the state oil company in 2002 sparked controversy and led to protests, which is why the military leaders in 2002 for a while pushed him away from power. Protests continued even after his return to power, as a result, a referendum was held, where it was decided whether to leave Chavez for office. In August 2004, a referendum was held, and by a majority vote it was decided to leave him as president.
Hostility with the US
Throughout the period of the reign Chavez was known as a straightforward and categorical person, he did not particularly hold back, expressing his opinion or criticism. He insulted the leaders of oil companies, church ministers and other world leaders, and he was particularly hostile to the US government, which, in his opinion, was involved in the failed coup in 2002. Chavez was against the war in Iraq, saying that the US, deploying military operations, abuses its powers. He also called President George Walker Bush a vile emperor.
Relations... between the US and Venezuela have been strained for some time. After assuming the presidency, Chavez sold oil to Cuba – a longtime US opponent – and opposed US plans to stop illicit drug trafficking in Colombia. He also helped the partisan troops in neighboring countries. In addition, during his reign, Chavez threatened the US with a halt to the supply of oil if another attempt was made to remove him from power. However, he donated household fuel to help those affected by Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita, who destroyed many refineries.
The international cooperation
Regardless of Venezuela’s relations with the US, when Chávez was president, he effectively used his country’s oil resources to form relations with other countries, including China and Angola. In 2006, he helped create the Bolivarian Alliance for America, a socialist free trade organization united by Fidel Castro, President of Cuba and Evo Morales, President of Bolivia. Chavez was also an active member of the Non-Aligned Movement, which included more than 100 countries, including Cuba, Iran and several African countries.
Deterioration of health and death
Chavez was diagnosed with cancer in June 2011, after an operation to remove the pelvic abscess, and from 2011 to early 2012 he suffered three operations to remove cancer tumors.
Prior to his third operation, in February 2012, Chávez acknowledged the gravity of his condition, and also that perhaps he would no longer be able to continue serving the country as president, and later he named as his successor the vice-president of Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro. Due to worsening health, Chávez was not admitted to the official inauguration ceremony for the fourth term in January 2013.
After his long struggle with cancer, Hugo Chavez died in Venezuela on March 5, 2013 at the age of 58 years. He has a wife, Maria Isabel Rodriguez, and five children: Rosines, Maria Gabriella, Rosa Virchinia, Raul Alfonso and Hugo Raphael. Two days after Chávez’s death, Vice President Maduro stated that Chávez’s body would be embalmed and in the glass tomb will forever be represented in the museum in Caracas, which is currently under construction. It is located near the palace, where Chavez ruled for more than ten years, and was named el Museo Histórico Militar de Caracas.
“The left forces have returned, and this is the only way that we must go to get out of the shame that the conservatives have drowned us in. Socialism creates and capitalism destroys.”