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Profile of Hugo Chavez
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|Also Know As:
|Date of Birth:
||28th July 1954
|Place of Birth:
|Hugo Rafael ChÃ¡vez FrÃas
President of Venezuela
|Terms in office
||* February 2, 1999 â€“ April 12, 2002
* April 13, 2002 â€“ Present
||JosÃ© Vicente Rangel
Hugo Rafael ChÃ¡vez FrÃas (born July 28, 1954)more is the 61st and current President of Venezuela. A member of the governing MVR, ChÃ¡vez is best known for his leftist and democratic socialist governance, his promotion of Latin American integration together with Third World independence from foreign interference, and his vocal opposition to both neoliberal globalization and American foreign policy.
During his presidency, ChÃ¡vezâ€™s policiesmore have significantly altered Venezuelaâ€™s sociopolitical landscape. Most notably, ChÃ¡vez's administration has presided over double-digit economic growth, significant drops in both unemployment and poverty, and marked improvements in national health indicators between 1998 and 2005. Domestically, the ChÃ¡vez administration has launched massive government anti-poverty initiatives, constructed thousands of free medical clinics for the poor, instituted educational campaigns that have made more than one million Venezuelans literate, enacted deep food and housing subsidies, and promulgated the new progressive 1999 Bolivarian constitution. ChÃ¡vez has also overseen the granting of thousands of free land titles to formerly landless poor and indigenous communities; in contrast, hundreds of large landed estates and factories have been â€” or are in the process of being â€” expropriated.
ChÃ¡vez has also refocused Venezuelan foreign policymore on Latin American economic and social integration by enacting bilateral trade and reciprocal aid agreements, including his so-called â€œoil diplomacyâ€. ChÃ¡vez regularly portrays his movement's objectives as being in intractable conflict with â€œneocolonialismâ€ and neoliberalism. As a result of his anti-capitalist and redistributive domestic policies combined with his strong friendship and collaboration with Cuba's Fidel Castro and other controversial figures, ChÃ¡vez has overseen a marked deterioration in relations between the Venezuelan and U.S. governments.
ChÃ¡vezâ€™s formal political career began when he founded the Movement for the Fifth Republic (MVR) in 1994, immediately after he was pardoned for his lead role in an abortive 1992 coup d'Ã©tat. He was first elected to the presidency in the independently verified 1998 presidential election on promises of helping Venezuelaâ€™s poor. ChÃ¡vezâ€™s influence in Venezuela has only grown since. ChÃ¡vez led the MVR to victory in the independently monitored (but not validated) 2000 presidential election. The victory was declared by Consejo Nacional Electoral ("National Electoral Council", or CNE). ChÃ¡vez and the MVR later garnered sweeping victories in the independently validated and endorsed 2004 recall referendum and the 2005 parliamentary elections. As a result, ChÃ¡vez's MVR and its political allies have come to fill the vast majority of elected municipal, state, and national posts, as well as obtaining the power to create firm majorities in the supreme court, the national electoral council (CNE), and the National Constituent Assembly. This is all compounded by ChÃ¡vezâ€™s gradual expansion and consolidation of the powers exercised by the Venezuelan executive. ChÃ¡vez next faces re-election in 2006.
The ChÃ¡vez administration has faced vigorous opposition from the more affluent and established sectors of Venezuelan society; notable among these are the Venezuelan national chamber of commerce (FedecÃ¡maras) and Venezuelaâ€™s largest national trade union federation, the ConfederaciÃ³n de Trabajadores de Venezuela. As such, the Venezuelan opposition has lodged several severe criticisms against the ChÃ¡vez government; notable among these are allegations of electoral fraud, human rights violations, political repression, and censorship. Their consistent opposition to the ChÃ¡vez administration's democratic socialist policies eventually resulted in a 2002 coup d'Ã©tat, general strike/lockout, and the recall referendum, all of which ultimately failed to remove ChÃ¡vez from the presidency. Nevertheless, whether he is seen as a socialist liberator or an authoritarian demagogue, ChÃ¡vez remains one of the most complex, controversial, and high-profile figures in the history of Latin America and the 21st century.
- For more details on this topic, see Early life of Hugo ChÃ¡vez.
The second son of schoolteachers Hugo de los Reyes ChÃ¡vez and Elena FrÃas de ChÃ¡vez (nee FrÃas), Hugo Rafael ChÃ¡vez FrÃas was born in Sabaneta, Barinas on July 28, 1954. The ChÃ¡vez family are among the mestizos and mulattos that live in central Venezuela's vast and verdant llanos, home to a rural cattle ranching culture nationally famed as restive and fiercely independent. ChÃ¡vez himself was born of primarily indigenous Indian blood immixed with significant African roots.
Hugo ChÃ¡vez himself was raised together with six brothers and sisters in a small hut composed of large palm leaves assembled over a bare dirt floor; they lived without electricity or running water within a small village on the edge of Venezuela's vast southern grasslands. The village was itself mired in poverty, far from the oil-rich provinces that were in the mid 20th century making northern and urban Venezuela rich. ChÃ¡vez's mother had initially wished Hugo to become a Catholic priest; he thus was made to serve as an altar boy for one year. One of his duties was to clean and polish figurines depicting the saints and Jesus; ChÃ¡vez was deeply upset with Christ's depiction as a helpless figurine; indeed ChÃ¡vez would state years later that he was offended by the Catholic church's portrayal of Jesus as "an idiot" and not, as ChÃ¡vez considered Jesus to be, "a rebel". These experiences would result in ChÃ¡vez's lifelong distrust of religious and political hierarchies.
Later, at an early age, ChÃ¡vez was sent by his parents to live with his paternal grandmother Rosa InÃ©s ChÃ¡vez in the nearby town of Sabaneta, so that she could help tend to his raising. Although the vast majority of children in the area where ChÃ¡vez grew up never pursued higher studies, ChÃ¡vez progressed in his education while he simultaneously pursued such hobbies as painting and singing. After school, young Hugo would work as a street vendor, selling the caramelized fruit sweets that his grandmother made. ChÃ¡vez developed a strong love of nature; he developed this, he would fondly recall later, because he lived next to a river, and he would take both fishing trips with his father as well as Easter picnics on the river. ChÃ¡vez, though, was most passionate about baseball, and one of his greatest childhood dreams was to become a pitcher for the San Francisco Giants. Young Hugo ChÃ¡vez was also perpetually fascinated by the life, ideology, and writings of SimÃ³n BolÃvar. BolÃvar is widely honored in both Venezuela and wider Latin America as s distinguished Venezuelan revolutionary and independence leader renowned for his role in the South American Wars of Independence. However, at the age of 17, out of financial necessity and an injury sustained during a sporting event, ChÃ¡vez joined the Venezuelan armed forces. He subsequently enrolled at the Venezuelan Academy of Military Sciences.
After graduating â€” 8th in his class â€” in 1975 with master's degrees in military science and engineering, ChÃ¡vez did further graduate work in political science at Caracas's SimÃ³n BolÃvar University, but left there without a degree. ChÃ¡vez eventually became a Lieutenant colonel in the elite Manuel Cedeno paratrooper battalion. Throughout his early military career, ChÃ¡vez was already well recognized for his fiery and popular lectures at the war college in Caracas, in which he would speak for hours in a "folksy" manner that captivated supporters in his audiences. ChÃ¡vez's interests in the politics of Venezuela grew throughout his career in the military. On July 24, 1983 â€” the 200th anniversary of BolÃvar's birth â€” ChÃ¡vez established the Revolutionary Bolivarian Movement-200 â€” MBR-200 â€” and established as its political goals the realization of Bolivar's ideals by means of a "Bolivarian Revolution".
Coup of 1992
- For more details on this topic, see Venezuelan coup attempt of 1992.
Through ChÃ¡vez's early life, Venezuela had enjoyed a period of economic and democratic stability that was remarkable in South America at the time; the stability was based on the massive foreign exchange earnings forthcoming from oil sales. However, Saudi Arabia and other U.S.-aligned oil producers significantly raised their production output (in an attempt to collapse the heavily oil dependent Soviet economy), a glut ensued. Oil prices collapsed to historic lows, and Venezuelan oil earnings, economic, and social stability were suddenly imperiled as per-capita income fell to a fraction of their previous levels. Responding to this, the Carlos AndrÃ©s PÃ©rez administration in 1989 enacted widely unpopular IMF-inspired structural adjustment programs. The programsâ€™ backers sought to restore fiscal stability to Venezuela's ailing economy by way of neoliberalism; they intended to accomplish this by, among other measures, curtailing social spending and releasing longstanding price controls on many goods. These policies resulted in much hardship for Venezuela's majority poor, whose resulting discontentment erupted in the violent February 27, 1989 Caracazo riots â€” the worst and deadliest in Venezuelan history.
Responding to this unrest, Hugo ChÃ¡vez led associates from the MBR-200 in launching a coup d'Ã©tat against PÃ©rez on February 4, 1992. ChÃ¡vez justified this coup by citing the discontent triggered by PÃ©rez. The coup was foiled, and ChÃ¡vez was forced to call upon his fellow conspirators to stand down. While he did so, ChÃ¡vez famously quipped that he had only failed por ahora â€” "for now". A second coup attempt in November 1992 â€” while ChÃ¡vez was still in prison â€” also failed. But with PÃ©rez's public image shattered, the turmoil and failed coups were deftly utilized by former president Rafael Caldera â€” who is ChÃ¡vez's godfather â€” to comment on the gradual deterioration of Venezuelan democracy and the explosive conflation of poverty and corruption in the nation. Subsequent actions by Caldera associated intellectuals resulted in PÃ©rez's ouster from the presidency in May 2, 1993 stemming from charges of corruption; in contrast, swift political maneuvering allowed Caldera to gain the presidency in 1993 with a heterogeneous and non-traditional group of small independent political parties.
While ChÃ¡vez was in prison, he developed a carnosity (a small fleshy excrescence) of the eye; the condition gradually spread to his iris and the clarity of his eyesight was slowly corrupted. ChÃ¡vez was operated on while still in prison, but his eyesight has remained severely compromised to this day. ChÃ¡vez later cited this experience as important in his avowed sympathy towards those without access to quality eye care and healthcare, particularly those poor people whose learning and life are disrupted by preventable and operable eye conditions such as congenital cataracts.
Elections of 1998
- For more details on this topic, see Venezuelan presidential election, 1998.
After serving two years of a prison sentence â€” handed down on charges stemming from his coup attempt â€” ChÃ¡vez was pardoned by Caldera in 1994. Immediately upon his release, ChÃ¡vez reconstituted the MBR-200 as the Movimiento Quinta RepÃºblica (MVR) â€” the V representing the Roman numeral five. In working to gain the trust of poor voters and promote his own presidential candidacy, ChÃ¡vez drafted an agenda that bore striking similarity to Caldera's own previously successful platform. ChÃ¡vez campaigned on an anti-corruption, anti-poverty, and populist agenda while simultaneously promoting what he referred to as "Bolivarianism".
The ChÃ¡vez platform comprised three basic pledges:
- ChÃ¡vez promised that he would first break Venezuelaâ€™s old political system â€” known as puntofijismo â€” and open up political power to independent and third parties. The term Puntofijismo originates from Punto Fijo, where representatives of the Christian Democratic COPEI and Social Democratic AcciÃ³n DemocrÃ¡tica signed an accord that bound them to limit Venezuelaâ€™s political system to an exclusive competition between their two parties.
- ChÃ¡vez promised to end corruption.
- ChÃ¡vez promised to eradicate poverty in Venezuela.
|Hugo ChÃ¡vez's Electoral Results
|â€” 1998 Presidential Election â€”
|Henrique Salas R.:
|Valid votes cast:
|â€” 1999 consitutional referendum â€”
Approve the new 1999 constitution?
|â€” 2000 presidential election â€”
|Francisco Arias C.:
|Valid votes cast:
|â€” 2000 ReferÃ©ndum â€”
State-monitored labor union elections?
|â€” 2004 Recall Referendum â€”
Recall Hugo ChÃ¡vez?
ChÃ¡vez utilized his own considerable charisma and renowned oratory skills on the campaign trail; he gradually won the trust and favor of a primarily poor and working class following. ChÃ¡vez also condemned the traditional two-party system that had dominated Venezuelan politics from 1958 up until the catastrophic riots and turmoil of 1992 â€” 1993. Until then, democratic transfers of power always occurred between the social democratic AcciÃ³n DemocrÃ¡tica and the Christian democratic ComitÃ© de OrganizaciÃ³n PolÃtica Electoral Independente (COPEI), which together had garnered more than 90% of the votes in all elections held since 1973. Owing to his leftist agenda, the ChÃ¡vez candidacy began a remarkable ascent. ChÃ¡vez registered 30% in polls taken in May 1998; by August he was registering 39%. ChÃ¡vez won the 1998 presidential election on December 6, 1998 by the largest margin â€” 56.2% of the vote â€” won by any candidate in four decades of Venezuelan democracy. These results were independently audited and verified by, among others, the Carter Center.
- For more details on this topic, see Presidency of Hugo ChÃ¡vez.
ChÃ¡vez took office on February 2, 1999 with a mandate to reverse Venezuela's economic decline and strengthen the role of the state in ensuring distributive social justice. ChÃ¡vezâ€™s first few months in office were mostly dedicated to the dismantling of the old puntofijo system. As a recession triggered by historic low oil prices hit Venezuela during 1999, few resources for ChÃ¡vez 's promised anti-poverty policies were available from the shrunken federal treasury. As a result, in April 1999 ChÃ¡vez looked to the one Venezuelan institution that he saw as costly for the government, but did little for social development: the military. ChÃ¡vez immediately ordered all branches of the military to devise their own programs that would aid Venezuela's poor. ChÃ¡vez also demanded that their programs further civic and social development in Venezuela's vast slum and rural areas. This civilian-military program was launched as "Plan Bolivar 2000". The plan was heavily patterned after a similar program enacted by Fidel Castro during the early 1990s, while the Cuban people were still suffering through the depths of the Special Period. Examples of projects under Plan Bolivar 2000's purview are road building, housing construction, and mass vaccination. This program was widely criticized by ChÃ¡vez's opposition as corrupt and inefficient. ChÃ¡vez has defended it, stating that the program was one of the only means in effecting his social agenda so early into his presidency, in the face of a state bureaucracy dominated by a recalcitrant opposition members appointed under previous administrations.
By mid-1999, ChÃ¡vez was thoroughly incensed by his administration's setbacks in enacting the promised anti-poverty initiatives; the National Assembly's opposition members were forestalling his allies' legislation. ChÃ¡vez thus moved to bypass such opposition by approving two fresh national elections for July [ â€” just months after ChÃ¡vez's assuming the presidency. The first was a nationwide referendum to determine whether a national constitutional assembly should be created. The assembly would be tasked with framing a new Venezuelan constitution. A second election was held that would elect delegates to this constitutional assembly. ChÃ¡vez's widespread popularity allowed the constitutional referendum to pass with a 71.78% 'yes' vote; in the second election, members of ChÃ¡vez's MVR and select allied parties formed the Polo Patriotico ("Patriotic Axis"). ChÃ¡vez's Polo Patriotico went on to win 95% (120 out of 131 seats) of the seats in the voter-approved Venezuelan Constitutional Assembly.
However, in August 1999, the Constitutional Assembly first set up a special "judicial emergency committee" with the power to remove judges without consultation with other branches of government â€” over 190 judges were eventually suspended on charges of corruption. In the same month, the assembly declared a "legislative emergency," resulting in a seven-member committee that was tasked with conducting the legislative functions ordinarily carried out by the National Assembly â€” legislative opposition to ChÃ¡vez's policies was thus instantly disabled. Meanwhile, the Constitutional Assembly prohibited National Assembly from holding meetings of any sort.
The Constitutional Assembly itself drafted the new 1999 Venezuelan Constitution. With 350 articles, the document was, as drafted, one of the world's lengthiest constitutions. It first changed the countryâ€™s official name from â€œVenezuelaâ€ to the "Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela". It also increased the presidential term of office from four to six years and introduced a presidential two-term limit. The document also introduced provisions for national presidential recall referenda â€” that is, Venezuelan voters now were to be given the right to remove their president from office before the expiration of the presidential term. Such referenda were to be activated upon provision of petitions with a valid number of signatures. The presidency was also dramatically strengthened, with the power to dissolve the National Assembly upon decree. The new constitution also converted the formerly bicameral National Assembly into a unicameral legislature, and stripped it of many of its former powers. Provision was also made for a new position, the Public Defender, that was an office with the authority to check the activities of the presidency, the National Assembly, and the constitution. The Public Defender is thus putatively meant to defend public and moral interests. Lastly, the judiciary was reformed. Judges would, under the new constitution, be installed after passing public examinations and not, as in the old manner, be appointed by the National Assembly.
This new constitution was presented to the national electorate in December 1999 and approved with a CNE-audited 71.78% "yes" vote. Elections for the new unicameral National Assembly were held on July 30, 2000. During this same election, ChÃ¡vez himself stood for reelection. ChÃ¡vez's coalition garnered a commanding two-thirds majority of seats in the National Assembly while ChÃ¡vez was reelected with 60% of the votes. The Carter Center monitored the 2000 presidential election; their report on that election stated that, due the a lack of transparancy, lack of CNE partiality, and political pressure from the ChÃ¡vez government that resulted in unconstitutionally early elections, it was unable to validate the official CNE results.
In the span of 60 days, the Constitutional Assembly thus framed a document that enshrined as constitutional law most of the structural changes ChÃ¡vez desired. ChÃ¡vez stated such changes were necessary in order to successfully enact his social justice programs. Sweeping changes in Venezuelan governmental structure were to be made; ChÃ¡vez's plan was, stemming from his 1998 campaign pledges, thus to dramatically open up Venezuelan political discourse to independent and third parties by radically altering the national political context. In the process, ChÃ¡vez sought to fatally paralyze AD and COPEI opposition.
Later, on December 3, 2000, local elections and a referendum were held. The referendum, backed by ChÃ¡vez, proposed a law that would force Venezuela's labor unions to hold state-monitored elections.more The referendum was widely condemned by international labor organizations â€” including the ILO â€” as undue government interference in internal union matters; these organizations threatened to apply sanctions on Venezuela. After the May and July 2000 elections, ChÃ¡vez backed the passage of the "Enabling Act" by the National Assembly. This act allowed ChÃ¡vez to rule by decree for one year. In November 2001, shortly before the Enabling Act was set to expire, ChÃ¡vez enacted a set of 49 decrees. These included the Hydrocarbons Law and the Land Law, which are detailed below.more The national business federation FedecÃ¡maras opposed the new laws and called for a general business strike on December 10, 2001.
Coup of 2002
- For more details on this topic, see Venezuelan coup attempt of 2002.
On April 9, 2002, Venezuela's largest union federation, the national trade union ConfederaciÃ³n de Trabajadores de Venezuela (CTV) Carlos Ortega Carvajal, initiated a call for a two-day general strike. FedecÃ¡maras joined the strike and called on all of its affiliated businesses to close for 48 hours. An estimated half million people took to the streets on April 11, 2002 and marched towards the headquarters of Venezuela's state-owned oil company PDVSA in defense of its newly fired management. The organizers decided to redirect the march to Miraflores, the presidential palace, where a pro-government demonstration was taking place. Violence erupted between the two groups of demonstrators, the metropolitan police of Caracas (at that time run by the opposition), and the Venezuelan national guard (controlled by ChÃ¡vez). More than 100 casualties resulted, with seventeen confirmed deaths. Doctors who treated the wounded reported that many of them appeared to have been shot from above in a sniper-like fashion. As of 2005, the events of that day remain unclear; an official investigation into the incidents has not yet concluded.
Lucas RincÃ³n Romero, commander-in-chief of the Venezuelan armed forces, announced in a nationwide broadcast that ChÃ¡vez had tendered his resignation from the presidency. ChÃ¡vez reports that he had negotiated the agreement to resign only after he realized that many top military leaders opposed him. ChÃ¡vez agreed in principle to resign only on the condition that his resignation would follow constitutional order: it must be tendered before the National Assembly, and ChÃ¡vezâ€™s own vice-president would succeed him. ChÃ¡vez stated that he was given assurances by the rebel generals that they would comply with these conditions, and he instructed RincÃ³n to announce his resignation. ChÃ¡vez has stated that shortly after RincÃ³n's announcement, the assurances were rescinded and that he was then taken prisoner. FedecÃ¡maras president Pedro Carmona was then appointed by the rebel military leaders as Venezuelaâ€™s interim president.
General Manuel Rosendo, at the time chief of CUFAN (â€˜â€™Comando Unificado de las Fuerzas Armadas Nacionalesâ€™â€™), has given a differing account. He reported that he and General Pietri Pietri presented the deposed ChÃ¡vez with two options: either to be sent to exile (to which ChÃ¡vez responded that he together with his family wished to travel to Cuba) or to stay in the country and be judged owing to his responsibility in the killings that took place in Avenida Baralt, a street where many civilians died during the April 11 protests. General Rosendo says that he did not read the second option because ChÃ¡vez had already made up his mind (to go to Cuba) on the condition that Rosendo would guarantee the integrity of the ChÃ¡vez clan and that the departure to Cuba would be via Simon Bolivar International airport in MaiquetÃa. Therefore, ChÃ¡vez did not negotiate with RincÃ³n Romero but with Rosendo. Later ChÃ¡vez was taken to Fort Tiuna were he met with representatives of the Catholic Church and the commanders of the army, who by then, had decided that he was not to be sent to Cuba but instead to La Orchila (a military base off the coast of Venezuela) until the interim government decided his fate.
Carmona's first decree dissolved all established powers and reverted the nation's name back to RepÃºblica de Venezuela. These events generated pro-ChÃ¡vez uprisings and looting across Caracas. Responding to these disturbances, Venezuelan army soldiers loyal to ChÃ¡vez called for massive popular support for a counter-coup. These soldiers later stormed and retook the presidential palace, liberating ChÃ¡vez from his captivity. The shortest-lived government in Venezuelan history thus was toppled, and ChÃ¡vez resumed his presidency on the night of Saturday April 13, 2002. Following this episode, RincÃ³n was reappointed by ChÃ¡vez as commander-in-chief and later as Interior Minister in 2003..
For two months following December 2, 2002, the ChÃ¡vez administration was faced with a strike aimed at forcing the president from office by cutting off the state from all-important oil revenue. The strike was led by a coalition of labor unions, industrial magnates, and oil workers. As a consequence, Venezuela ceased exporting its daily former average of 2,800,000 barrels (450,000 mÂ³) of oil and its derivatives. Hydrocarbon shortages soon erupted throughout Venezuela, with long lines forming at petrol filling stations. Gasoline imports were soon required. ChÃ¡vez soon replaced the upper management of the Venezuelan national oil company, PetrÃ³leos de Venezuela (PDVSA), and dismissed 18,000 PDVSA employees. ChÃ¡vez justified this by charging that they were guilty of mismanagement and corruption, while opposition supporters of the fired workers stated that the actions were politically motivated. A disputed court ruling declared the dismissal of these workers illegal and ordered the immediate return of the entire group to their former posts. Nevertheless, ChÃ¡vez, PDVSA's CEO AlÃ RodrÃguez, and Minister of Mines Rafael Ramirez have repeatedly expressed that the ruling will not be enforced.
The majority of those who participated in the strike were white-collar employees â€” including management â€” who opposed ChÃ¡vez' attempt to gain control of the oil industry from longstanding vested interests. Tens of thousands of the country's highest paid, most privileged engineers, technicians, managers, field and office workers that worked for PDVSA participated in these protests, risking their paychecks and their livelihood in order to protest the ChÃ¡vez government. Many of these workers were dismissed and officially blacklisted by the government so that they would not be employed at any government or government-supporting firms. Most of them were unable to find oil-related jobs in Venezuela and now work abroad. The ChÃ¡vez government, along with many PDVSA workers who refused to be part of the strike, and the unemployed who participated in getting PDVSA back online, have repeatedly alleged that important equipment was sabotaged and that the white-collar workers who participated in the strike/lockout destroyed many of the computer passwords and sabotaged much of the software.
On January 15, 2004, ChÃ¡vez presented to the National Assembly his version of the State of the Union address. Since opposition parliamentarians did not attend, he spoke only to members of his own party and sympathetic diplomatic representatives. During the speech, ChÃ¡vez stated that he had generated the PDVSA crisis in order to destroy the existing organization.
Recall vote of 2004
- For more details on this topic, see Venezuelan recall referendum, 2004.
Opposition leaders began in August 2003 the process of compiling a valid petition with the requisite number of signatures that would subject Hugo ChÃ¡vez to a recall election. The recall provision was first introduced in the 1999 constitution. When the opposition presented the National Electoral Council (CNE) with 3.2 million signatures, the CNE rejected the petition by a vote of 3-0, with 2 members abstaining. CNE rationale was that signatures collected before the mid-point of ChÃ¡vez's term were not valid under Venezuelan law. In November, the opposition conducted another signature drive, again presenting over 3 million signatures. The Electoral Board delayed the certification of the signatures and forced those whose signatures were questioned to verify them. The opposition finally obtained notarization for the minimum number of signatures required for the referendum.
The recall vote was held on August 15, 2004. Record numbers of voters turned out, and official polling hours were extended by at least eight hours. 59.25% of the vote was against the recall, and Venezuelan electoral authorities stated that an audit of the vote found no proof of fraud. International election monitors Jimmy Carter of the Carter Center and Organization of American States Secretary General CÃ©sar Gaviria also endorsed the results of Venezuela's recall referendum. In the following weeks, opposition supporters reported numerous electoral irregularities, including the inexplicable increase in the number of names on the electoral roll by two million and manipulation of electronic voting machines. Later, outraged opposition leaders unveiled â€œPlan Guarimbaâ€, where small crowds of demonstrators blocked traffic and burned tires and other trash at key intersections in Caracas and other major cities. Extensive street damage and violence ensued before the disturbances finally dissipated.
- For more details on this topic, see Alleged planned Venezuelan coup in 2004.
In May 2004, Venezuelan state TV reported the capture of 126 Colombians accused of being paramilitaries, near properties belonging to Cuban exile Roberto Alonso, one of the leaders of the Venezuelan opposition group Bloque DemocrÃ¡tico, and media magnate Gustavo Cisneros, a Cuban-Venezuelan ChÃ¡vez opponent and one of the alleged architects of the 2002 coup. According to one of the detainees, they would have been offered 500,000 Colombian pesos to work on the farm, before being informed upon their arrival that they would have to prepare for an attack on a National Guard base, with the goal of stealing weapons to potentially arm a 3,000-strong militia.
The event caused conflicting reactions. Spokesmen and supporters of the Venezuelan government interpreted this as evidence of a planned coup attempt by sectors of the Venezuelan opposition in alliance with Colombian paramilitaries, and investigators also implicated several members of the Venezuelan military forces. Those of the Venezuelan opposition dismissed those claims and alleged that they constituted a setup meant to discredit them. Colombian authorities denied being involved and welcomed the capture of the men, later collaborating with Venezuela by providing information about their background during the subsequent investigation. During the judicial process, the number of the accused shrunk to 100 as several of the alleged paramilitaries were deported or opted to collaborate with Venezuelan authorities. In October 2005, the Venezuelan prosecution asked for a sentence of 6 years for 57 to 62 of the alleged paramilitaries, while refraining from prosecuting between 38 and 43 of the men, which were considered to have been led to Venezuela under false pretenses and some had apparently suffered mistreatment from the supposed coup leaders.
- For more details on this topic, see Bolivarian Missions.
With ChÃ¡vez's emergence, there have been many social and economic changes in Venezuela. The Venezuelan business community, represented by the Venezuelan Federation of Chambers of Commerce (FedecÃ¡maras), strongly opposes ChÃ¡vez and his policies, and the largest labor federation has joined them. Almost all of these policies run contrary to neoliberalism theory and are designed to benefit the poorer sections of Venezuelan society.
Venezuela is a major producer of oil products, and oil is the vital keystone of the Venezuelan economy. ChÃ¡vez has gained a reputation as a price hawk in OPEC, pushing for stringent enforcement of production quotas and higher target oil prices. He has also attempted to broaden Venezuela's customer base, striking joint exploration deals with other developing countries, including Argentina, Brazil, China, and India. Record oil prices have meant more funding for the social programs, but has left the economy increasingly dependent on both the ChÃ¡vez government and the oil sector; the private sector's role has correspondingly diminished. Despite the high government income, official unemployment figures has remained above 11%. Associated social problems are present, such as the large informal economy and record high crime levels.
ChÃ¡vez has redirected the focus of PDVSA, Venezuelaâ€™s state-owned oil company, by bringing it more closely under the direction of the Energy Ministry. He has also attempted to repatriate more oil funds to Venezuela by raising royalty percentages on joint extraction contracts that are payable to Venezuela. ChÃ¡vez has also explored the liquidation of some or all of the assets belonging to PDVSAâ€™s U.S.-based subsidiary, CITGO. The oil ministry has been successful in restructuring CITGO's profit structure, resulting in large increases in dividends and income taxes from PDVSA. In 2005 CITGO announced the largest dividend payment to PDVSA in over a decade â€” $400 million. Yet despite massive efforts to increase production, daily oil production is still well short of the levels attained under the previous administration of president Rafael Caldera.
ChÃ¡vez has had a combative relationship with the nation's largest trade union confederation, the ConfederaciÃ³n de Trabajadores de Venezuela (CTV), which is historically aligned with the AcciÃ³n DemocrÃ¡tica] party. During the December 2000 local elections, ChÃ¡vez placed a referendum measure on the ballot that would mandate and enforce state-monitored elections within unions. The referendum measure, which was condemned by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU) as undue interference in internal union matters, passed by a large margin on a very low electoral turnout. In the ensuing CTV elections, Carlos Ortega declared his victory and remained in office as CTV president, while Chavista (pro-ChÃ¡vez) candidates declared fraud. In response, the UniÃ³n Nacional de los Trabajadores (UNT â€” National Union of Workers) is a new pro-ChÃ¡vez union federation which has been growing in its membership during ChÃ¡vez's presidency; it seeks to ultimately supplant the CTV. Several Chavista unions have withdrawn from the CTV due to their strident anti-ChÃ¡vez activism, and have instead affiliated with the UNT. In 2003, ChÃ¡vez chose to send UNT, rather than CTV, representatives to an annualILO meeting.
At the request of its workers, ChÃ¡vez nationalized the just-closed paper- and cardboard-manufacturing firm Venepal on January 19, 2005. Workers had occupied the factory floor and restarted production, but following a failed deal with management and amidst management threats to liquidate the firmâ€™s equipment, ChÃ¡vez ordered the nationalization, extended a line of credit to the workers, and ordered that the Venezuelan educational missions purchase more paper products from the company.
Venezuela's rural areas have seen substantial economic disinvestment, depopulation, and abandonment ever since oil wealth was discovered in the early 20th century; as a consequence Venezuela now has an urbanization rate of more than 85% and is, despite its vast tracts of highly fertile soil and arable land, a net food importer. The Ley de Tierras â€” "Law of the Lands" â€” was passed by presidential decree in November 2001; it included the creation of a Plan Zamora to implement land reforms, including redistribution, in Venezuelan agriculture. Underutilized or unused private corporate and agricultural estates would now be subject to expropriation after fair-market compensation was paid to the owners. Inheritable, inalienable, and at times communal land grants were also gifted to small farmers and farmer's collectives. The rationale given for this program was that it would provide incentives for the eventual and gradual repopulation of the countryside and provide "food security" for the country by lessening the present dependence on foreign imports. There are three types of land that may be distributed under the program:
- government land,
- land that is claimed by private owners, but whose claims the government disputes,
- and underutilized private land.
To date, the ChÃ¡vez government has only distributed the first two types of land.
- For more details on this topic, see democratic socialism.
On 30 January 2005 at the World Social Forum in Porto Alegre, Brazil, ChÃ¡vez declared his support for democratic socialism, in his words "a new type of socialism, a humanist one, which puts humans and not machines or the state ahead of everything." He later reiterated this in a February 26 speech at the 4th Summit on the Social Debt held in Caracas. To charges from business leaders that ChÃ¡vez is eroding private property rights, and from the Roman Catholic cardinal that he was becoming a dictator, he said that Venezuelans must choose between "capitalism, which is the road to hell, or socialism, for those who want to build the kingdom of God here on earth."
| Social Justice Missions of Hugo ChÃ¡vez
|â€” food â€” housing â€” medicine â€”
| Barrio Adentro Â· Plan Bolivar 2000
HÃ¡bitat Â· Mercal
|â€” education â€”
| Ribas Â· Sucre
Robinson I Â· Robinson II
|â€” indigenous rights â€” land â€” environment â€”
| Guaicaipuro Â· Identidad
Miranda Â· Piar
Vuelta al Campo Â· Vuelvan Caras
|â€” (Bolivarian Revolution) â€”
- For more details on this topic, see Bolivarian Missions.
Oil profits â€” approximately $25 billion in 2004 â€” have subsequently allowed the ChÃ¡vez administration to inject massive amounts of capital into various new social programs; these take the guise of the Bolivarian "Missions". Between them, these programs have constructed and modernized thousands of public medical and dental clinics, launched massive literacy and education initiatives, subsidized food, gasoline, and other consumer goods, and established numerous worker-managed manufacturing and industrial cooperatives. Opposition forces allege that these programs are corrupt and inefficient, while a number of international organizations â€” including the UN, UNICEF, and the WHO â€” have praised the programs as positive models for bringing about social development.
Human rights violations
- For more details on this topic, see Human rights violations under Hugo ChÃ¡vez.
Human rights organization Amnesty International has, as of December 2004, documented at least 14 deaths and at least 200 wounded during confrontations between anti-Chavez demonstraters and National Guard, police, and other security personnel in February and March 2004. Several reports of ill-treatment and torture at the hands of the Chavez government's security forces have also surfaced. There are reports of slow and inadequate investigations into these abuses, which AI had attributed to the lack of police and judiciary impartiality. The organization also has documented numerous reports of both police brutality and unlawful extrajudicial killings of criminal suspects, as well as intimidation of witnesses to the abuses. Calls by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights on the Chavez government to quell such threats and intimidation have also reportedly not been addressed, and ChÃ¡vez himself has suggested that some international human rights defenders had intentions of fomenting turmoil and destabilizing the country. These allegations have been reported to result in the endangerment of human rights defenders, including death threats.
The Chavez government has been denounced by Human Rights Watch for its passage of legislation that threatens to stifle anti-Chavez criticism and dissent from Venezuelan media. The statements are leveled specifically at restrictive amendments to the Venezuelan Criminal Code that criminalize insults, disrespect, and libelous remarks from the news media aimed at either the president or other government authorities. Severe punishments, including sentences of up to 40 months, are part of the so-called "Law on the Social Responsibility of Radio and Television" personally endorsed by Chavez.
- For more details on this topic, see Foreign policy under Hugo ChÃ¡vez.
ChÃ¡vez has made Latin American integration the keystone of his administrationâ€™s foreign policy. Exemplars of this prioritization have come in the cooperative multinational institutions ChÃ¡vez has helped found: Mercosur, PetroCaribe, Petrosur, and Telesur. Bilateral trade relationships with other Latin American countries have also featured prominently, including increased arms purchases from Brazil, oil-for-expertise trade arrangements with Cuba, an oil pipeline built through neighboring Colombia, and unique barter arrangements that exchange Venezuelan petroleum for cash-strapped Argentinaâ€™s meat and dairy products.
Venezuela under ChÃ¡vez has had a mostly antagonistic relationship with the United States government under the George W. Bush administration. ChÃ¡vez accuses the United States government of planning an invasion, codenamed "Plan Balboa". ChÃ¡vez's own warm friendship with Cuban president Fidel Castro, in addition to Venezuelaâ€™s now significant and expanding economic, social, and aid relationships with Cuba, have undermined the U.S. policy objective seeking to isolate the island. Longstanding military, intelligence, and counter-narcotics ties between the U.S. and Venezuelan were severed on ChÃ¡vez's initiative. ChÃ¡vez's early stance as an OPEC price hawk has also raised the price of oil for the United States, as Venezuela pushed OPEC producers towards a higher price, around $25 a barrel. During Venezuela's presidency of OPEC in 2000, ChÃ¡vez made a ten-day tour of OPEC countries, in the process becoming the first head of state to meet Saddam Hussein, since the Gulf War. Despite OPEC duties, the visit was controversial at home and in the US. ChÃ¡vez did respect the ban on international flights to and from Iraq (he drove from Iran, his previous stop). Ever since, President ChÃ¡vez has consolidated diplomatic relations with Iran, including defending its right to civilian nuclear power.
Since the start of the Bush administration in 2000, ChÃ¡vez has been highly critical of U.S. economic and foreign policy; he has critiqued U.S. policy with regards to Iraq, Haiti, the Free Trade Area of the Americas, and other areas. On 20 February 2005, ChÃ¡vez reported that the U.S. had plans to have him assassinated; he stated that any such attempt would result in an immediate cessation of U.S.-bound Venezuelan oil shipments. ChÃ¡vez has also denounced the U.S.-backed ouster of Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide in February 2004; he followed this by referring to U.S. President George W. Bush a pendejo (differing translations have been proposed ); in a later speech, he made personal remarks regarding Condoleezza Rice.
The Bush administration has consistently opposed ChÃ¡vez's policies, and readily recognized the Carmona government upon its installation during the 2002 coup. The U.S. government has called ChÃ¡vez a "negative force" in the region, and has sought support from among Venezuela's neighbors to isolating ChÃ¡vez diplomatically and economically. The U.S. has opposed and lobbied against numerous Venezuelan arms purchases made under ChÃ¡vez, including a purchase of some 100,000 rifles from Russia, which Donald Rumsfeld implied would be passed on to FARC, and the purchase of aircraft from Brazil. At the 2005 meeting of the Organization of American States, a United States resolution to add a mechanism to monitor the nature of democracies was widely seen as a move to isolate Venezuela. The failure of the resolution was seen as politically significant. (For more, see U.S.-Venezuelan relations.) In August 2005, ChÃ¡vez rescinded the rights of US DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) Agents to operate in Venezuela. While US state department officials stated that the DEA agents' presence was intended to stem cocaine traffic from Columbia, ChÃ¡vez argued that there was reason to believe the DEA agents were gathering intelligence for a clandestine assassination targeting him with intentions of ending the Bolivarian Revolution.
After prominent evangelical Pat Robertson apologized for his on-air request that ChÃ¡vez be assassinated, Ted Haggard of the U.S-based National Association of Evangelicals criticized Robertson's remarks. Haggard was concerned about the effects Robersonâ€™s remarks would have on U.S. corporate and evangelical missionariesâ€™ interests in Venezuela. Nevertheless, the ChÃ¡vez administration reported that it would more closely scrutinize and curtail foreign evangelical missionary activity. ChÃ¡vez himself denounced Robertsonâ€™s call as a harbinger of a coming U.S. intervention to remove him from office. ChÃ¡vez reported that Robertson, member of the secretive and elite Council for National Policy (CNP) â€” of which George Bush, Grover Norquist, and other prominent neoconservative Bush administration insiders are also known members or associates â€” was, along with other CNP members, guilty of â€œinternational terrorismâ€.
After Hurricane Katrina battered the United Statesâ€™ gulf coast in late 2005, the ChÃ¡vez administration was the first government that offered foreign aid to its "North American brothers". ChÃ¡vez offered tons of food, water, and a million barrels of extra petroleum to the U.S. He has also offered up to sell at a significant discount as many as 66,000 barrels of heating fuel to poor communities that were hit by the hurricane, and offered mobile hospital units, medical specialists, and power generators. The Bush administration opted to refuse this aid.
At the 2005 UN World Summit, ChÃ¡vez on September 15 mocked and denounced the neoliberal model of globalization promulgated by the Washington Consensus as a fundamentally fraudulent and malicious scheme. Referring to such arrangements as FTAA, DR-CAFTA, and NAFTA ChÃ¡vez stated that such â€œmarket-oriented policies, open market policiesâ€ were and continue to be
... the fundamental cause of the great evils and the great tragedies currently suffered by [the Third World].
ChÃ¡vez went on to contrast the overwhelming hunger, disease, and poverty of many capitalist Third World countries that institute Washington Consensus policies â€” e.g. the Philippines, El Salvadore, Honduras â€” with the results garnered over the last six years of his administrationâ€™s democratic socialist policies:
One million four hundred and six thousand Venezuelans learned to read and write. We are 25 million total â€¦ And three million Venezuelans, who had always been excluded because of poverty, are now part of primary, secondary and higher studies.
ChÃ¡vez also listed the accomplishments of his social welfare programs:
Seventeen million Venezuelans â€” almost 70% of the population â€” are receiving, and for the first time, universal healthcare, including the medicine â€¦ More than 1,700 tons of food are channeled to over 12 million people at subsidized prices, almost half the population. One million gets them completely free, as they are in a transition period. More than 700,000 new jobs have been created, thus reducing unemployment by 9 points.
ChÃ¡vez summarily denounced the global status quo as a mortal threat to humanity, demanding that a new approach be taken towards satisfying the UN Millennium Development Goals. He also stated that both global warming and imminent hydrocarbon depletion were also fundamentally threatening mankindâ€™s wellbeing. His speech concluded to loud applause and raucous cheering from attending delegates. On the same trip the New York City, he also visited the Bronx in New York City to the delight of crowds who saw him, and during a speech delivered at a Bronx church on September 17 stated that, notwithstanding any grievances he may have with the Bush administrationâ€™s foreign policy, he had "fallen in love with the soul of the people of the United States". Later, in October 2005 on his weekly program AlÃ³ Presidente, ChÃ¡vez stated that recent catastrophes, including hurricanes, droughts, floods, and famines, occurring around the globe was Mother Natureâ€™s answer to the "world global capitalist model".
Under ChÃ¡vez, the Venezuelan military has also diversified the sourcing of its weaponry, increasingly purchasing arms from Brazil, Russia, and Spain. The U.S. has criticized many of these purchases and pressured both Russia and Spain not to carry through with them. Venezuela has also complained that the U.S. has refused or delayed sale of parts for F-16 airplanes which Venezuela had purchased from the U.S. in the 1980s. Venezuela has distanced itself from the United States military, ending cooperation between the two militaries and asking U.S. soldiers to leave the country. Additionally, in 2005 ChÃ¡vez announced the creation of a large "military reserve" â€” to eventually encompass 1.5 million people â€” as a defensive measure against foreign intervention or outright invasion.
- For more details on this topic, see Media representation of Hugo ChÃ¡vez.
Even before the April 2002 coup, owners, managers, commentators, and other personnel affiliated with the five private mainstream television networks and most major mainstream newspapers have stated their opposition to the ChÃ¡vez administration. These media accuse the ChÃ¡vez administration of having intimidating their journalists using specially dispatched gangs. ChÃ¡vez has in turn alleged that the owners of these networks have primary allegiance not to Venezuela but to U.S. interests and to the advancement of neoliberalism via propaganda. Private mediaâ€™s most prominent political commentators have reported that, among other things, ChÃ¡vez is mentally ill and that he harbors a â€œsexual obsession with Castroâ€. ChÃ¡vez, in turn, has described the four largest private television networks as "the four whores of the Apocalypse", has stated that the late Catholic Archbishop of Caracas, Cardinal Velasco is "in hell", and that his opponents resemble a "truckful of squealing pigs".
Private media coverage of the 2002 coup only exacerbated these tensions. Private media openly urged their audiences to support the coup, broadcasting widely criticized footage by, among others, international journalists for its subjective selection of detail and even digital manipulation of images. During the April 11th opposition demonstrations leading up to the coup, ChÃ¡vez took over the airwaves shortly before gunfire broke out. The private TV stations defied the president by showing his address and the protest simultaneously, via a split-screen presentation. ChÃ¡vez then ordered them to be taken off the air in a forced blackout which lasted until several stations started rerouting cable TV signals in order to continue covering the protest. On the first morning after the 2002 coup, many of the new Carmona governmentâ€™s highest-ranking members appeared on-air to offer their appreciation to the private media for their support. Once the counter-coup was launched by Chavistas and loyalist elements of the Palace Guard, these five stations censored any reporting on the events. Private media owners and managers instead chose to broadcast classic films and sitcom reruns.
ChÃ¡vez currently hosts the live talk show AlÃ³, Presidente!. Of variable format, the show broadcasts each Sunday on state-owned television; all private television stations are also required to carry it. The show features ChÃ¡vez addressing topics of the day, taking phone calls from the audience, and touring locations where government social welfare programs are active.
In 2005, ChÃ¡vez announced the creation of Telesur, a proposed pan-American homologue of Al-Jazeera that seeks to challenge the present domination of Latin American television news by U.S.-based CNN en EspaÃ±ol and UnivisiÃ³n. With this addition, the Venezuelan government now possesses four state-owned television stations: Venezolana de TelevisiÃ³n (VTV), Asamblea Nacional TV (ANTV), Vale TV and Telesur. In retaliation, the United States Rep. Connie Mack IV (R-FL) made an amendment to the Fiscal Year 2006 Foreign Operations Appropriations Bill (H.R. 2601) to authorize the Broadcasting Board of Governors 30 minutes a day of American broadcasts to Venezuela, in addition to Voice of America broadcasts. The amendment was approved by the United States House of Representatives, and the bill presently awaits the review of the U.S. Senate upon return from recess.
- For more details on this topic, see Criticisms of Hugo ChÃ¡vez.
- For more details on this topic, see Personal life of Hugo ChÃ¡vez.
Hugo ChÃ¡vez has been married twice. He first wedded Nancy Colmenares, a woman of humble family originating from Sabaneta in ChÃ¡vez's own native Barinas state; together, they had three children: Rosa Virginia, MarÃa Gabriela, and Hugo Rafael. At the same time, ChÃ¡vez maintained a sentimental and ideological relationship with the historian Herma Marksman, a connection which lasted around ten years. ChÃ¡vez is currently separated from his second wife, the journalistMarisabel RodrÃguez de ChÃ¡vez. He had his fourth child, Rosa InÃ©s, through that marriage.
ChÃ¡vez's older brother, Adam ChÃ¡vez Frias, was a student at the University of the Andes, and now collaborates in his electoral campaigns and also in the present ChÃ¡vez administration. ChÃ¡vez's father late in life became a regional director of education and subsequently rose to prominence as a member of the conservative Social Christian Party; he is currently governor of ChÃ¡vez's native Barinas.
Contrary to frequent claims made by his critics that ChÃ¡vez wants to spread atheism, ChÃ¡vez is of Roman Catholic background and is currently a practicing Christian. Nevertheless, he has engaged in a series of extremely bitter disputes with both the Venezuelan Catholic clergy and Protestant church hierarchies. Although he has traditionally kept his faith private, ChÃ¡vez has been increasingly discussing that both his faith and his interpretation of Jesus of Nazareth's personal life and ideology has had a profound impact on his leftist and progressive views:
[Jesus] accompanied me in difficult times, in crucial moments. So Jesus Christ is no doubt a historical figure â€” he was someone who rebelled, an anti-imperialist guy. He confronted the Roman Empire ... Because who might think that Jesus was a capitalist? No. Judas was the capitalist! Christ was a revolutionary. He confronted the religous hierarchies. He confronted the economic power of the time. He preferred death in the defense of his humanistic ideals, who fostered change ... our Jesus Christ.
ChÃ¡vez is also an avid reader of Noam Chomsky's books and articles. In addition, he is good friends with the U.S. actor Danny Glover and Free Software Foundation founder Richard Stallman, both of whom spoke at ChÃ¡vez's July 2005 inauguration of TeleSUR.
- ^ Latin Business Chronicle. (Latin Business Chronicle, Oct 2005). "GDP Growth: Venezuela Best". Retrieved 18 Oct 2005. "Venezuela will likely end the year with an economic expansion of 7.8 percent, the IMF forecasts. ECLAC's forecast is 7.0 percent. However, both figures mark a slowdown compared with last year's growth rate of 17.9 percent, which was Latin America's best performance last year as well."
- ^ Venezuelanalysis, Poverty and Unemployment Down significantly in Venezuela in 2005. "Unemployment also dropped significantly, reported the INE, from 14.5% in September 2004, to 11.5% in September 2005."
- ^ Venezuelanalysis, Poverty and Unemployment Down significantly in Venezuela in 2005. " ... Venezuelaâ€™s poverty rate is expected to drop to 35% by the end of the year, down from 47% for 2004. During the first half of 2005 poverty was calculated to be at 38.5%. Also, critical poverty, the level at which people cannot afford to cover their basic needs, dropped to 10.1% in the first half of 2005, down from 18% the previous year ... poverty has now dropped to a level below what it was before Chavez came into office, in 1999, when the INE registered the poverty rate to be at 42%."
- ^ Central Intelligence Agency. (CIA, 1998). The World Factbook 1998: Venezuela. Retrieved 18 Oct 2005.
"Infant mortality rate: total: 27.52 deaths/1,000 live births ...
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 72.66 years ... (1998 est.)"
- ^ Central Intelligence Agency. (CIA, 2005). The World Factbook 2005: Venezuela. Retrieved 18 Oct 2005.
"Infant mortality rate: total: 22.2 deaths/1,000 live births ...
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 74.31 years ... (2005 est.)"
- ^ Niemeyer, p. 36. "The World Bank asserted on 7th October 2003 that Latin America's biggest issue is the fight against poverty. The Bolivarian Revolution seems to be the only process worldwide which is taking this problem seriously and is effectively tackling poverty with government programs. The financing of these programs by spending a good portion of the Nation's GDP (0.2% in August 2003 alone) ... "
- ^ UNICEF, p. 2. "Barrio Adentro ... is part and parcel of the government's longterm poverty-reduction and social inclusion strategy to achieve and surpass the Millennium Development Goals."
- ^ Kuiper, Jeroen. (Venezuelanalysis, 28 Jul 2005). Barrio Adentro II: Victim of its Own Success. Retrieved 18 October 2005. "After spreading primary health care through the Mision Barrio Adentro all over Venezuela in just two years, by constructing thousands of consultorios (doctor's offices) ... "
- ^ Niemeyer, pp. 14-15. "With high levels of illiteracy to be found amongst the population the alphabetisation campaign called 'Mission Robinson' was brought into action. It has already taught more than a million people how to read and write and gained widespread support. Older people participate while youngsters enjoy access to University through a program guaranteeing equal access to Universities. This program is referred to as 'Mission Sucre'."
- ^ Niemeyer, p. 15. "Probably the most important achievement can be seen in the state run supermarkets, referred to as 'Mercal' which provide the basic necessities at affordable prices which are in many cases more than 30 percent cheaper than in regular shops."
- ^ Venezuelanalysis, Chavez Disappointed with His Governmentâ€™s Public Housing Achievements. " ... government is investing $2.8 billion in the housing program ... According to a report that Julio Montes, the Minister of Housing and Habitat, presented, only 43,000 homes had been constructed so far this year, while the governmentâ€™s goal is to construct at least 120,000."
- ^ Wilpert, Venezuelaâ€™s Quiet Housing Revolution: Urban Land Reform. " ... the celebration of the handing out of over 10,000 land titles to families living in Venezuela's poorest urban neighborhoods ... As of mid 2005, the National Technical Office has issued over 84,000 titles to 126,000 families, benefiting about 630,000 barrio inhabitants."
- ^ McCoy and Trinkunas, p. 49.
- ^ McCoy and Neuman, pp. 71-72.
- ^ The Carter Center (2004), p. 7.
- ^ The Carter Center (2005), pp. 133-134. "The panel finds that none of the reports examined present evidence that there was significant fraud during the Aug. 15 presidential recall referendum ... none of the claims for evidence of fraud suggested a fraud so great as to change the exit-polled 60/40 opposition win to the official 40/60 government win ... the Venezuelan election authority already has most of the pieces in place for building a trustworthy voting system in which it will be even more difficult to perpetrate any substantial fraud."
- ^ McCoy and Neuman, p. 73.
- ^ UNICEF, p. 1. "... the mission 'Barrio Adentro': the remarkably successful primary health care initiative of Venezuela â€” on the way to become the axis of the country's public health system."
- ^ ChÃ¡vez: Iran has right to atomic energy.
- ^ BBC World: Profile: Hugo ChÃ¡vez.
- ^ Venezuelanalysis: Venezuela's Mission to Fight Poverty
- ^ Carter Center: Observation of the 1998 Venezuelan Elections: A Report of the Coucil of Freely Elected Heads of Government .
- ^ Carter Center: Observation of the 1998 Venezuelan Elections: A Report of the Coucil of Freely Elected Heads of Government .
- ^ Carter Center: Observing the Venezuela Presidential Recall Referendum: Comprehensive Report.
- ^ CNN: Venezuelan president names two generals to key posts.
- ^ PresentaciÃ³n de Cuentas a la Asamblea Nacional.
- ^ BBC World: Venezuelan audit confirms victory.
- ^ Carter Center: The Venezuela Presidential Recall Referendum: Final Reports.
- ^ CNN: ChÃ¡vez's tour of OPEC nations arrives in Baghdad.
- ^ Piden cÃ¡rcel para 57 colombianos.
- ^ New coup plot uncovered.
- ^ [In Defense of Marxism]: While Bush prevaricates, Venezuela offers help to US poor.
- ^ United Nations. (UN, 09 Sep 2005). Examen de los informes presentados por los Estados partes en virtud del artÃculo 18 de la ConvenciÃ³n sobre la eliminaciÃ³n de todas las formas de discriminaciÃ³n contra la mujer. Retrieved 20 Oct 2005. UN, p. 36. "Since 2003, the Government, in its policy of fortifying the provision of primary medical care, implemented Mission Barrio Adentro ... in order to improve the quality of life of the most marginalized sectors ... by building up social safety networks providing healthcare, education, nutrition, economic advancement, socialization, sports, recreation, and culture. Some 55% of those receiving these benefits are women with few economic resources. These programs are having a positive impact in the betterment of the quality of life exprrienced these women and their families."
- ^ ChÃ¡vez F., Hugo. (Venezuelanalysis, 16 Sep 2005). "President ChÃ¡vez's Speech to the United Nations". Retrieved 20 Oct 2005.
- ^ Sojo, Cleto A. (Venezuelanalysis, 31 Jan 2005). "Venezuelaâ€™s ChÃ¡vez Closes World Social Forum with Call to Transcend Capitalism". Retrieved 20 Oct 2005.
- ^ Ellner, Steve. (Venezuelanalysis, 21 Mar 2004). "ChÃ¡vez Escapes Recall While Opposition Escalates Tactics". Retrieved 20 Oct 2005.
- ^ Wagner, Sarah. (Venezuelanalysis, 25 Apr 2005). "U.S.-Venezuela Military Cooperation Indefinitely Suspended". Retrieved 20 Oct 2005.
- ^ Venezuelanalysis. (Venezuelanalysis, 20 Jul 2005). "Unemployment Drops 3.7% in Venezuela". Retrieved 20 Oct 2005.
- ^ Wagner, "Venezuelan University Students' Murders Lead to Restructuring of Police Force". Retrieved 20 Oct 2005.
- ^ Gindin, "Venezuela and the 'New Democracy'"
- ^ Parma, Pro-Chavez Union Leaders in Venezuela Urge Chavez to Do Better
- ^ WHO: RepÃºblica Bolivariana de Venezuela: Cumpliendo las Metas del Milenio.
- ^ The Military and the Revolution: Harnecker interviews ChÃ¡vez
- ^ Lessons of the April Coup: Harnecker interviews Chavez
- ^ The allegation that ChÃ¡vez "once called Saddam Hussein 'a brother'" has been reported in a number of media sources. This allegation originated with the Associated Press (Fred Pals, "ChÃ¡vez Pushes for OPEC Unity", Associated Press Online, August 5, 2000), but is apparently a misinterpretation of ChÃ¡vez's reference to OPEC leaders, just prior to his 2000 tour of OPEC countries, as "our Arab brothers" (Larry Rohter, "Paratrooper Politics: A special report; A Combative Leader Shapes Venezuela to a Leftist Vision", The New York Times, July 28, 2000).
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