A Quick Bio on Hugo Chavez – July 28, 1954 – March 5, 2013 (58 years old)
Hugo Chavez – a former paratrooper, burst onto Venezuela’s national stage in 1992 when he led a failed military coup. After two years in prison he returned to politics and was swept to power in a 1998 elections. He was self-proclaimed socialist and revolutionary, he won enduring support among the poor in his country and repeated election victories by using Venezuela’s oil wealth to pursue socialist policies. But his opponents accused him of mishandling the economy and taking the country towards dictatorship. Internationally, he was a staunch critic of US ‘Imperialism’ and accused Washington of backing a failed coup against him in 2002.
Significant and interesting to note – United States of America – the self-appointed guardian of global democracy – has benefited by the death of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez – a staunch opponent to its foreign policy in South America. Hugo Chavez ruled as the President for 14 years and brought the concept of democratic elections into his country – though it was only through a referendum – that was suffering from social inequality as a result of corporate-led growth model. Hugo Chavez pursued economic development, brought social justice in its place and set a viable ground to practice participatory politics that was denied by the Military rule till he was elected to power in 1998. Hugo Chavez reduced his country’s food imports from 90 % (1980) to 30 % (2011). Poverty dramatically dropped from 90 % (1997) to 33 % (2007) in Venezuela, under his rule. He was a popular leader among most Venezuelans.
Hugo Chavez was defiantly anti-West (USA) till his death and perhaps the most successful among his counterparts in the region.