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Famous Like Me > Composer > C > Hugo Chavez

Profile of Hugo Chavez on Famous Like Me

Name: Hugo Chavez  
Also Know As:
Date of Birth: 28th July 1954
Place of Birth: Sabaneta, Venezuela
Profession: Composer
From Wikipedia, the free Encyclopedia

Hugo Rafael Chávez Frías

President of Venezuela
Order 61st President
Affiliations MVR
Terms in office * February 2, 1999 – April 12, 2002
* April 13, 2002 – Present
Vice President José Vicente Rangel

Hugo Rafael Chávez Frías (born July 28, 1954)more is the 61st and current President of Venezuela. A member of the governing MVR, Chávez 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, Chávez’s policiesmore have significantly altered Venezuela’s sociopolitical landscape. Most notably, Chávez'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 Chávez 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. Chávez 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 — or are in the process of being — expropriated.

Chávez 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 “oil diplomacy”. Chávez regularly portrays his movement's objectives as being in intractable conflict with “neocolonialism” 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, Chávez has overseen a marked deterioration in relations between the Venezuelan and U.S. governments.

Chávez’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'état. He was first elected to the presidency in the independently verified 1998 presidential election on promises of helping Venezuela’s poor. Chávez’s influence in Venezuela has only grown since. Chávez 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). Chávez and the MVR later garnered sweeping victories in the independently validated and endorsed 2004 recall referendum and the 2005 parliamentary elections. As a result, Chávez'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 Chávez’s gradual expansion and consolidation of the powers exercised by the Venezuelan executive. Chávez next faces re-election in 2006.

The Chávez 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 (Fedecámaras) and Venezuela’s largest national trade union federation, the Confederación de Trabajadores de Venezuela. As such, the Venezuelan opposition has lodged several severe criticisms against the Chávez government; notable among these are allegations of electoral fraud, human rights violations, political repression, and censorship. Their consistent opposition to the Chávez administration's democratic socialist policies eventually resulted in a 2002 coup d'état, general strike/lockout, and the recall referendum, all of which ultimately failed to remove Chávez from the presidency. Nevertheless, whether he is seen as a socialist liberator or an authoritarian demagogue, Chávez remains one of the most complex, controversial, and high-profile figures in the history of Latin America and the 21st century.

Early life

For more details on this topic, see Early life of Hugo Chávez.

The second son of schoolteachers Hugo de los Reyes Chávez and Elena Frías de Chávez (nee Frías), Hugo Rafael Chávez Frías was born in Sabaneta, Barinas on July 28, 1954. The Chávez 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. Chávez himself was born of primarily indigenous Indian blood immixed with significant African roots.

Hugo Chávez 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. Chávez'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; Chávez was deeply upset with Christ's depiction as a helpless figurine; indeed Chávez would state years later that he was offended by the Catholic church's portrayal of Jesus as "an idiot" and not, as Chávez considered Jesus to be, "a rebel". These experiences would result in Chávez's lifelong distrust of religious and political hierarchies.

Later, at an early age, Chávez was sent by his parents to live with his paternal grandmother Rosa Inés Chávez 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 Chávez grew up never pursued higher studies, Chávez 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. Chávez 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. Chávez, 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 Chávez was also perpetually fascinated by the life, ideology, and writings of Simón Bolívar. Bolívar 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, Chávez joined the Venezuelan armed forces. He subsequently enrolled at the Venezuelan Academy of Military Sciences.

After graduating — 8th in his class — in 1975 with master's degrees in military science and engineering, Chávez did further graduate work in political science at Caracas's Simón Bolívar University, but left there without a degree. Chávez eventually became a Lieutenant colonel in the elite Manuel Cedeno paratrooper battalion. Throughout his early military career, Chávez 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. Chávez's interests in the politics of Venezuela grew throughout his career in the military. On July 24, 1983 — the 200th anniversary of Bolívar's birth — Chávez established the Revolutionary Bolivarian Movement-200 — MBR-200 — 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.
Hugo Chávez on 26 March 1994, interviewed by reporters immediately upon his pardoning and release from prison. Chávez was jailed for leading a failed 4 February 1992 coup attempt.

Through Chávez'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 Andrés Pérez administration in 1989 enacted widely unpopular IMF-inspired structural adjustment programs. The programs’ 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 — the worst and deadliest in Venezuelan history.

Responding to this unrest, Hugo Chávez led associates from the MBR-200 in launching a coup d'état against Pérez on February 4, 1992. Chávez justified this coup by citing the discontent triggered by Pérez. The coup was foiled, and Chávez was forced to call upon his fellow conspirators to stand down. While he did so, Chávez famously quipped that he had only failed por ahora — "for now". A second coup attempt in November 1992 — while Chávez was still in prison — also failed. But with Pérez's public image shattered, the turmoil and failed coups were deftly utilized by former president Rafael Caldera — who is Chávez's godfather — 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 Pérez'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 Chávez 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. Chávez was operated on while still in prison, but his eyesight has remained severely compromised to this day. Chávez 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 — handed down on charges stemming from his coup attempt — Chávez was pardoned by Caldera in 1994. Immediately upon his release, Chávez reconstituted the MBR-200 as the Movimiento Quinta República (MVR) — the V representing the Roman numeral five. In working to gain the trust of poor voters and promote his own presidential candidacy, Chávez drafted an agenda that bore striking similarity to Caldera's own previously successful platform. Chávez campaigned on an anti-corruption, anti-poverty, and populist agenda while simultaneously promoting what he referred to as "Bolivarianism".

The Chávez platform comprised three basic pledges:

  1. Chávez promised that he would first break Venezuela’s old political system — known as puntofijismo — 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 Acción Democrática signed an accord that bound them to limit Venezuela’s political system to an exclusive competition between their two parties.
  2. Chávez promised to end corruption.
  3. Chávez promised to eradicate poverty in Venezuela.
Hugo Chávez's Electoral Results
— 1998 Presidential Election —
Hugo Chávez: 3,673,685 56.20%
Henrique Salas R.: 2,613,161 39.97%
Valid votes cast: 6,537,304
Abstaining: 3,971,239 36.24%
— 1999 consitutional referendum —
Approve the new 1999 constitution?
Yes: 3,301,475 71.78%
No: 1,298,105 28.22%
Abstaining: 6,041,743 55.63%
— 2000 presidential election —
Hugo Chávez: 3,757,773 59.76%
Francisco Arias C.: 2,359,459 37.52%
Valid votes cast: 6,288,578
Abstaining: 5.120.464 43,69%
— 2000 Referéndum —
State-monitored labor union elections?
Yes: 1,632,750 62.02%
No: 719,771 27.34%
Abstaining: 8,569,691 76.50%
— 2004 Recall Referendum —
Recall Hugo Chávez?
No: 5,800,629 59.10%
Yes: 3,989,008 40.64%
Abstaining: 4,222,269 30.08%

Chávez 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. Chávez also condemned the traditional two-party system that had dominated Venezuelan politics from 1958 up until the catastrophic riots and turmoil of 1992 — 1993. Until then, democratic transfers of power always occurred between the social democratic Acción Democrática and the Christian democratic Comité de Organización Política 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 Chávez candidacy began a remarkable ascent. Chávez registered 30% in polls taken in May 1998; by August he was registering 39%. Chávez won the 1998 presidential election on December 6, 1998 by the largest margin — 56.2% of the vote — 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 Chávez.


Chávez 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. Chávez’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 Chávez 's promised anti-poverty policies were available from the shrunken federal treasury. As a result, in April 1999 Chávez looked to the one Venezuelan institution that he saw as costly for the government, but did little for social development: the military. Chávez immediately ordered all branches of the military to devise their own programs that would aid Venezuela's poor. Chávez 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 Chávez's opposition as corrupt and inefficient. Chávez 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, Chávez 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. Chávez thus moved to bypass such opposition by approving two fresh national elections for July [ — just months after Chávez'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. Chávez's widespread popularity allowed the constitutional referendum to pass with a 71.78% 'yes' vote; in the second election, members of Chávez's MVR and select allied parties formed the Polo Patriotico ("Patriotic Axis"). Chávez'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 — 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 — legislative opposition to Chávez'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 country’s official name from “Venezuela” 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 — 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, Chávez himself stood for reelection. Chávez's coalition garnered a commanding two-thirds majority of seats in the National Assembly while Chávez 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 Chávez 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 Chávez desired. Chávez stated such changes were necessary in order to successfully enact his social justice programs. Sweeping changes in Venezuelan governmental structure were to be made; Chávez'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, Chávez sought to fatally paralyze AD and COPEI opposition.

Later, on December 3, 2000, local elections and a referendum were held. The referendum, backed by Chávez, 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 — including the ILO — as undue government interference in internal union matters; these organizations threatened to apply sanctions on Venezuela. After the May and July 2000 elections, Chávez backed the passage of the "Enabling Act" by the National Assembly. This act allowed Chávez to rule by decree for one year. In November 2001, shortly before the Enabling Act was set to expire, Chávez enacted a set of 49 decrees. These included the Hydrocarbons Law and the Land Law, which are detailed below.more The national business federation Fedecámaras opposed the new laws and called for a general business strike on December 10, 2001.

Coup of 2002

Loyal troops at Miraflores celebrate the April 13, 2002 victory of the mass upsurge against the 2002 coup.

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 Confederación de Trabajadores de Venezuela (CTV) Carlos Ortega Carvajal, initiated a call for a two-day general strike. Fedecámaras 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 Chávez). 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 Rincón Romero, commander-in-chief of the Venezuelan armed forces, announced in a nationwide broadcast that Chávez had tendered his resignation from the presidency. Chávez reports that he had negotiated the agreement to resign only after he realized that many top military leaders opposed him. Chávez 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 Chávez’s own vice-president would succeed him. Chávez stated that he was given assurances by the rebel generals that they would comply with these conditions, and he instructed Rincón to announce his resignation. Chávez has stated that shortly after Rincón's announcement, the assurances were rescinded and that he was then taken prisoner. Fedecámaras president Pedro Carmona was then appointed by the rebel military leaders as Venezuela’s interim president.

General Manuel Rosendo, at the time chief of CUFAN (‘’Comando Unificado de las Fuerzas Armadas Nacionales’’), has given a differing account. He reported that he and General Pietri Pietri presented the deposed Chávez with two options: either to be sent to exile (to which Chávez 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 Chávez had already made up his mind (to go to Cuba) on the condition that Rosendo would guarantee the integrity of the Chávez clan and that the departure to Cuba would be via Simon Bolivar International airport in Maiquetía. Therefore, Chávez did not negotiate with Rincón Romero but with Rosendo. Later Chávez 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 República de Venezuela. These events generated pro-Chávez uprisings and looting across Caracas. Responding to these disturbances, Venezuelan army soldiers loyal to Chávez called for massive popular support for a counter-coup. These soldiers later stormed and retook the presidential palace, liberating Chávez from his captivity. The shortest-lived government in Venezuelan history thus was toppled, and Chávez resumed his presidency on the night of Saturday April 13, 2002. Following this episode, Rincón was reappointed by Chávez as commander-in-chief and later as Interior Minister in 2003..


For two months following December 2, 2002, the Chávez 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 m³) of oil and its derivatives. Hydrocarbon shortages soon erupted throughout Venezuela, with long lines forming at petrol filling stations. Gasoline imports were soon required. Chávez soon replaced the upper management of the Venezuelan national oil company, Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA), and dismissed 18,000 PDVSA employees. Chávez 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, Chávez, PDVSA's CEO Alí Rodríguez, 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 — including management — who opposed Chávez' 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 Chávez 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 Chávez 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, Chávez 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, Chávez stated that he had generated the PDVSA crisis in order to destroy the existing organization.

Recall vote of 2004

Chávez supporters urge a “No” vote in the 2004 recall referendum as they march through the streets of Caracas on August 8, 2004. Opposition demonstrators also massed in Distribuidor Altamira on August 12, 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 Chávez 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 Chávez'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 César 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 “Plan Guarimba”, 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 Democrático, and media magnate Gustavo Cisneros, a Cuban-Venezuelan Chávez 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.

Domestic policy

For more details on this topic, see Bolivarian Missions.

With Chávez'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 (Fedecámaras), strongly opposes Chávez 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.

Economic policy

Hugo Chávez meets with Chinese President Hu Jintao on December 23, 2004. Chávez was on a state visit to China that was geared towards bolstering his country's oil supply contracts with the world's fastest growing large economy.

Venezuela is a major producer of oil products, and oil is the vital keystone of the Venezuelan economy. Chávez 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 Chávez 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.

Chávez has redirected the focus of PDVSA, Venezuela’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. Chávez has also explored the liquidation of some or all of the assets belonging to PDVSA’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 — $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.


Chávez has had a combative relationship with the nation's largest trade union confederation, the Confederación de Trabajadores de Venezuela (CTV), which is historically aligned with the Acción Democrática] party. During the December 2000 local elections, Chávez 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-Chávez) candidates declared fraud. In response, the Unión Nacional de los Trabajadores (UNT — National Union of Workers) is a new pro-Chávez union federation which has been growing in its membership during Chávez's presidency; it seeks to ultimately supplant the CTV. Several Chavista unions have withdrawn from the CTV due to their strident anti-Chávez activism, and have instead affiliated with the UNT. In 2003, Chávez chose to send UNT, rather than CTV, representatives to an annualILO meeting.

At the request of its workers, Chávez 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 firm’s equipment, Chávez 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.

Land reform

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 — "Law of the Lands" — 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:

  1. government land,
  2. land that is claimed by private owners, but whose claims the government disputes,
  3. and underutilized private land.

To date, the Chávez government has only distributed the first two types of land.

Democratic socialism

For more details on this topic, see democratic socialism.
President Hugo Chávez at the 2005 World Social Forum held in Porto Alegre, Brazil

On 30 January 2005 at the World Social Forum in Porto Alegre, Brazil, Chávez 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 Chávez 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 programs

  Social Justice Missions of Hugo Chávez  
— food — housing — medicine —
 Barrio Adentro  Â·  Plan Bolivar 2000
 Hábitat  Â·  Mercal
— education —
 Ribas  Â·  Sucre
 Robinson I  Â·  Robinson II
— indigenous rights — land — environment —
 Guaicaipuro  Â·  Identidad
 Miranda  Â·  Piar
 Vuelta al Campo  Â·  Vuelvan Caras
 Mission Zamora
— (Bolivarian Revolution) —
For more details on this topic, see Bolivarian Missions.

Oil profits — approximately $25 billion in 2004 — have subsequently allowed the Chávez 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 — including the UN, UNICEF, and the WHO — 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 Chávez.

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 Chávez 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.

Foreign policy

For more details on this topic, see Foreign policy under Hugo Chávez.
President Chávez and Fidel Castro of Cuba sign the documents inaugurating the ALBA (Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas) trade agreement in May 2005. ALBA furthers Cuba-Venezuela economic and social integration and promotes a socially-oriented trade block, which Chávez states is superior to the logic of deregulated corporate profit maximization promoted by the U.S.-backed FTAA.

Chávez has made Latin American integration the keystone of his administration’s foreign policy. Exemplars of this prioritization have come in the cooperative multinational institutions Chávez 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 Argentina’s meat and dairy products.

Venezuela under Chávez has had a mostly antagonistic relationship with the United States government under the George W. Bush administration. Chávez accuses the United States government of planning an invasion, codenamed "Plan Balboa". Chávez's own warm friendship with Cuban president Fidel Castro, in addition to Venezuela’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 Chávez's initiative. Chávez'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, Chávez 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. Chávez did respect the ban on international flights to and from Iraq (he drove from Iran, his previous stop). Ever since, President Chávez has consolidated diplomatic relations with Iran, including defending its right to civilian nuclear power.

Since the start of the Bush administration in 2000, Chávez 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, Chávez 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. Chávez 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.

Hugo Chávez takes a walk with Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva on March 29, 2005.

The Bush administration has consistently opposed Chávez's policies, and readily recognized the Carmona government upon its installation during the 2002 coup. The U.S. government has called Chávez a "negative force" in the region, and has sought support from among Venezuela's neighbors to isolating Chávez diplomatically and economically. The U.S. has opposed and lobbied against numerous Venezuelan arms purchases made under Chávez, 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, Chávez 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, Chávez 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 Chávez be assassinated, Ted Haggard of the U.S-based National Association of Evangelicals criticized Robertson's remarks. Haggard was concerned about the effects Roberson’s remarks would have on U.S. corporate and evangelical missionaries’ interests in Venezuela. Nevertheless, the Chávez administration reported that it would more closely scrutinize and curtail foreign evangelical missionary activity. Chávez himself denounced Robertson’s call as a harbinger of a coming U.S. intervention to remove him from office. Chávez reported that Robertson, member of the secretive and elite Council for National Policy (CNP) — of which George Bush, Grover Norquist, and other prominent neoconservative Bush administration insiders are also known members or associates — was, along with other CNP members, guilty of “international terrorism”.

After Hurricane Katrina battered the United States’ gulf coast in late 2005, the Chávez administration was the first government that offered foreign aid to its "North American brothers". Chávez 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.

Hugo Chávez in Brazil.

At the 2005 UN World Summit, Chávez 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 Chávez stated that such “market-oriented policies, open market policies” were and continue to be

... the fundamental cause of the great evils and the great tragedies currently suffered by [the Third World].

Chávez went on to contrast the overwhelming hunger, disease, and poverty of many capitalist Third World countries that institute Washington Consensus policies — e.g. the Philippines, El Salvadore, Honduras — with the results garnered over the last six years of his administration’s democratic socialist policies:

One million four hundred and six thousand Venezuelans learned to read and write. We are 25 million total … And three million Venezuelans, who had always been excluded because of poverty, are now part of primary, secondary and higher studies.

Chávez also listed the accomplishments of his social welfare programs:

Seventeen million Venezuelans — almost 70% of the population — are receiving, and for the first time, universal healthcare, including the medicine … 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.

Chávez 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 mankind’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 administration’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 Aló Presidente, Chávez stated that recent catastrophes, including hurricanes, droughts, floods, and famines, occurring around the globe was Mother Nature’s answer to the "world global capitalist model".


Under Chávez, 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 Chávez announced the creation of a large "military reserve" — to eventually encompass 1.5 million people — as a defensive measure against foreign intervention or outright invasion.


For more details on this topic, see Media representation of Hugo Chávez.

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 Chávez administration. These media accuse the Chávez administration of having intimidating their journalists using specially dispatched gangs. Chávez 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 media’s most prominent political commentators have reported that, among other things, Chávez is mentally ill and that he harbors a “sexual obsession with Castro”. Chávez, 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, Chávez 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. Chávez 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 government’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.

Chávez currently hosts the live talk show Aló, 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 Chávez addressing topics of the day, taking phone calls from the audience, and touring locations where government social welfare programs are active.

In 2005, Chávez 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 Español and Univisión. With this addition, the Venezuelan government now possesses four state-owned television stations: Venezolana de Televisión (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 Chávez.

Personal life

For more details on this topic, see Personal life of Hugo Chávez.
Hugo Chávez and his three daughters — Rosa Virginia, María Gabriela, and Rosa Inés.

Hugo Chávez has been married twice. He first wedded Nancy Colmenares, a woman of humble family originating from Sabaneta in Chávez's own native Barinas state; together, they had three children: Rosa Virginia, María Gabriela, and Hugo Rafael. At the same time, Chávez maintained a sentimental and ideological relationship with the historian Herma Marksman, a connection which lasted around ten years. Chávez is currently separated from his second wife, the journalistMarisabel Rodríguez de Chávez. He had his fourth child, Rosa Inés, through that marriage.

Chávez's older brother, Adam Chávez Frias, was a student at the University of the Andes, and now collaborates in his electoral campaigns and also in the present Chávez administration. Chávez'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 Chávez's native Barinas.

Contrary to frequent claims made by his critics that Chávez wants to spread atheism, Chávez 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, Chávez 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 — 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.

Chávez 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 Chávez's July 2005 inauguration of TeleSUR.


  1. ^  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."
  2. ^  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."
  3. ^  Venezuelanalysis, Poverty and Unemployment Down significantly in Venezuela in 2005. " ... Venezuela’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%."
  4. ^  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.)"
  5. ^  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.)"
  6. ^  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) ... "
  7. ^  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."
  8. ^  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) ... "
  9. ^  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'."
  10. ^  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."
  11. ^  Venezuelanalysis, Chavez Disappointed with His Government’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 government’s goal is to construct at least 120,000."
  12. ^  Wilpert, Venezuela’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."
  13. ^  McCoy and Trinkunas, p. 49.
  14. ^  McCoy and Neuman, pp. 71-72.
  15. ^  The Carter Center (2004), p. 7.
  16. ^  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."
  17. ^  McCoy and Neuman, p. 73.
  18. ^  UNICEF, p. 1. "... the mission 'Barrio Adentro': the remarkably successful primary health care initiative of Venezuela — on the way to become the axis of the country's public health system."
  19. ^  Chávez: Iran has right to atomic energy.
  20. ^  BBC World: Profile: Hugo Chávez.
  21. ^  Venezuelanalysis: Venezuela's Mission to Fight Poverty
  22. ^  Carter Center: Observation of the 1998 Venezuelan Elections: A Report of the Coucil of Freely Elected Heads of Government Link to a pdf file..
  23. ^  Carter Center: Observation of the 1998 Venezuelan Elections: A Report of the Coucil of Freely Elected Heads of Government Link to a pdf file..
  24. ^  Carter Center: Observing the Venezuela Presidential Recall Referendum: Comprehensive Report. Link to a pdf file.
  25. ^  CNN: Venezuelan president names two generals to key posts.
  26. ^  Presentación de Cuentas a la Asamblea Nacional. Link to a pdf file. Link to a Spanish language website
  27. ^  BBC World: Venezuelan audit confirms victory.
  28. ^  Carter Center: The Venezuela Presidential Recall Referendum: Final Reports.
  29. ^  CNN: Chávez's tour of OPEC nations arrives in Baghdad.
  30. ^  Piden cárcel para 57 colombianos. Link to a Spanish language website
  31. ^  New coup plot uncovered.
  32. ^  [In Defense of Marxism]: While Bush prevaricates, Venezuela offers help to US poor.
  33. ^  United Nations. (UN, 09 Sep 2005). Examen de los informes presentados por los Estados partes en virtud del artículo 18 de la Convención sobre la eliminación de todas las formas de discriminación 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."
  34. ^  Chávez F., Hugo. (Venezuelanalysis, 16 Sep 2005). "President Chávez's Speech to the United Nations". Retrieved 20 Oct 2005.
  35. ^  Sojo, Cleto A. (Venezuelanalysis, 31 Jan 2005). "Venezuela’s Chávez Closes World Social Forum with Call to Transcend Capitalism". Retrieved 20 Oct 2005.
  36. ^  Ellner, Steve. (Venezuelanalysis, 21 Mar 2004). "Chávez Escapes Recall While Opposition Escalates Tactics". Retrieved 20 Oct 2005.
  37. ^  Wagner, Sarah. (Venezuelanalysis, 25 Apr 2005). "U.S.-Venezuela Military Cooperation Indefinitely Suspended". Retrieved 20 Oct 2005.
  38. ^  Venezuelanalysis. (Venezuelanalysis, 20 Jul 2005). "Unemployment Drops 3.7% in Venezuela". Retrieved 20 Oct 2005.
  39. ^  Wagner, "Venezuelan University Students' Murders Lead to Restructuring of Police Force". Retrieved 20 Oct 2005.
  40. ^  Gindin, "Venezuela and the 'New Democracy'"
  41. ^  Parma, Pro-Chavez Union Leaders in Venezuela Urge Chavez to Do Better
  42. ^  WHO: República Bolivariana de Venezuela: Cumpliendo las Metas del Milenio. Link to a pdf file.
  43. ^  The Military and the Revolution: Harnecker interviews Chávez
  44. ^  Lessons of the April Coup: Harnecker interviews Chavez
  45. ^  The allegation that Chávez "once called Saddam Hussein 'a brother'" has been reported in a number of media sources. This allegation originated with the Associated Press (Fred Pals, "Chávez Pushes for OPEC Unity", Associated Press Online, August 5, 2000), but is apparently a misinterpretation of Chávez'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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