117 Facts About Hugo Chavez


Hugo Chavez led the MBR-200 in its unsuccessful coup d'etat against the Democratic Action government of President Carlos Andres Perez in 1992, for which he was imprisoned.

FactSnippet No. 1,779,859

The high oil profits coinciding with the start of Hugo Chavez's presidency resulted in temporary improvements in areas such as poverty, literacy, income equality and quality of life between primarily 2003 and 2007, though extensive changes in structural inequalities did not occur.

FactSnippet No. 1,779,860

On 2 June 2010, Hugo Chavez declared an "economic war" on Venezuela's upper classes due to shortages, arguably beginning the crisis in Venezuela.

FactSnippet No. 1,779,861

Under Hugo Chavez, Venezuela experienced democratic backsliding, as he suppressed the press, manipulated electoral laws, and arrested and exiled government critics.

FactSnippet No. 1,779,862

Hugo Chavez's presidency saw significant increases in the country's murder rate and continued corruption within the police force and government.

FactSnippet No. 1,779,863

Internationally, Hugo Chavez aligned himself with the Marxist–Leninist governments of Fidel and then Raul Castro in Cuba, as well as the socialist governments of Evo Morales in Bolivia, Rafael Correa in Ecuador and Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua.

FactSnippet No. 1,779,864

Hugo Chavez's presidency was seen as a part of the socialist "pink tide" sweeping Latin America.

FactSnippet No. 1,779,865

Hugo Chavez described his policies as anti-imperialist, being a prominent adversary of the United States's foreign policy as well as a vocal critic of neoliberalism and laissez-faire capitalism.

FactSnippet No. 1,779,866

Hugo Chavez supported Latin American and Caribbean cooperation and was instrumental in setting up the pan-regional Union of South American Nations, the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas, the Bank of the South and the regional television network TeleSUR.

FactSnippet No. 1,779,867

Hugo Chavez was born on 28 July 1954 in his paternal grandmother Rosa Inez Hugo Chavez's home, a modest three-room house located in the rural village Sabaneta, Barinas State.

FactSnippet No. 1,779,868

The Hugo Chavez family were of Amerindian, Afro-Venezuelan and Spanish descent.

FactSnippet No. 1,779,869

Aged 17, Hugo Chavez studied at the Venezuelan Academy of Military Sciences in Caracas, following a curriculum known as the Andres Bello Plan, instituted by a group of progressive, nationalistic military officers.

FactSnippet No. 1,779,870

Hugo Chavez became interested in the Marxist revolutionary Che Guevara after reading his memoir The Diary of Che Guevara.

FactSnippet No. 1,779,871

In Peru, Hugo Chavez heard the leftist president, General Juan Velasco Alvarado, speak, and inspired by Velasco's ideas that the military should act in the interests of the working classes when the ruling classes were perceived as corrupt.

FactSnippet No. 1,779,872

In 1975, Hugo Chavez graduated from the military academy as one of the top graduates of the year.

FactSnippet No. 1,779,873

In 1977, Hugo Chavez's unit was transferred to Anzoategui, where they were involved in battling the Red Flag Party, a Marxist–Hoxhaist insurgency group.

FactSnippet No. 1,779,874

Nevertheless, hoping to gain an alliance with civilian leftist groups in Venezuela, Hugo Chavez set up clandestine meetings with various prominent Marxists, including Alfredo Maneiro and Douglas Bravo.

FactSnippet No. 1,779,875

Five years after his creation of the ELPV, Hugo Chavez went on to form a new secretive cell within the military, the Bolivarian Revolutionary Army-200, later redesignated the Revolutionary Bolivarian Movement-200.

FactSnippet No. 1,779,876

Hugo Chavez was inspired by Ezequiel Zamora, Simon Bolivar and Simon Rodriguez, who became known as the "three roots of the tree" of the MBR-200.

FactSnippet No. 1,779,877

Hugo Chavez was sent to take command of the remote barracks at Elorza in Apure State.

FactSnippet No. 1,779,878

Hugo Chavez began preparing for a military coup d'etat known as Operation Zamora.

FactSnippet No. 1,779,879

Hugo Chavez delayed the MBR-200 coup, initially planned for December, until the early twilight hours of 4 February 1992.

FactSnippet No. 1,779,880

Hugo Chavez gave himself up to the government and appeared on television, in uniform, to call on the remaining coup members to lay down their arms.

FactSnippet No. 1,779,881

Hugo Chavez remarked in his speech that they had failed only "por ahora".

FactSnippet No. 1,779,882

Hugo Chavez was arrested and imprisoned at the San Carlos military stockade, wracked with guilt and feeling responsible for the failure of the coup.

FactSnippet No. 1,779,883

Academic analysis of the election showed that Hugo Chavez's support had come primarily from the country's poor and "disenchanted middle class", while much of the middle and upper class vote went to Romer.

FactSnippet No. 1,779,884

Hugo Chavez appointed new figures to government posts, adding leftist allies to key positions and "army colleagues were given a far bigger say in the day-to-day running of the country".

FactSnippet No. 1,779,885

Hugo Chavez appointed businessman Roberto Mandini president of the state-run oil company Petroleos de Venezuela.

FactSnippet No. 1,779,886

Hugo Chavez initially believed that capitalism was still a valid economic model for Venezuela, but only Rhenish capitalism, not neoliberalism.

FactSnippet No. 1,779,887

Hugo Chavez followed the economic guidelines of the International Monetary Fund and continued to encourage foreign investment in Venezuela, even visiting the New York Stock Exchange in the United States to convince wealthy investors to invest.

FactSnippet No. 1,779,888

Hugo Chavez called a public referendum, which he hoped would support his plans to form a constituent assembly of representatives from across Venezuela and from indigenous tribal groups to rewrite the Venezuelan constitution.

FactSnippet No. 1,779,889

Hugo Chavez said he had to run again; "Venezuela's socialist revolution was like an unfinished painting and he was the artist", he said, while someone else "could have another vision, start to alter the contours of the painting".

FactSnippet No. 1,779,890

The constituent assembly, filled with supporters of Hugo Chavez, began to draft a constitution that made censorship easier and granted the executive branch more power.

FactSnippet No. 1,779,891

Year, Hugo Chavez helped to further cement his geopolitical and ideological ties with the Cuban government of Fidel Castro by signing an agreement under which Venezuela would supply Cuba with 53,000 barrels of oil per day at preferential rates, in return receiving 20,000 trained Cuban medics and educators.

FactSnippet No. 1,779,892

Hugo Chavez opposed of the 2001 American-led invasion of Afghanistan in response to the 11 September attacks against the US by Islamist militants.

FactSnippet No. 1,779,893

In late 2001, Hugo Chavez showed pictures on his television show of children said to be killed in a bombing attack.

FactSnippet No. 1,779,894

Meanwhile, the 2000 elections had led to Hugo Chavez's supporters gaining 101 out of 165 seats in the Venezuelan National Assembly, and so in November 2001 they voted to allow him to pass 49 social and economic decrees.

FactSnippet No. 1,779,895

Once he came to power, Hugo Chavez started directing PDVSA and effectively turned it into a direct government arm whose profits would be injected into social spending.

FactSnippet No. 1,779,896

Hugo Chavez had removed many of the managers and executives of PdVSA and replaced them with political allies, stripping the state-owned company expertise.

FactSnippet No. 1,779,897

However, much of Hugo Chavez's opposition originated from the response to the "cubanization" of Venezuela.

FactSnippet No. 1,779,898

Hugo Chavez's popularity dropped due to his relationship with Fidel Castro and Cuba, with Hugo Chavez attempting to make Venezuela in Cuba's image.

FactSnippet No. 1,779,899

Hugo Chavez, following Castro's example, consolidated the country's bicameral legislature into a single National Assembly that gave him more power and created community groups of loyal supporters allegedly trained as paramilitaries.

FactSnippet No. 1,779,900

Hugo Chavez sought to make PDVSA his main source of funds for political projects and replaced oil experts with political allies in order to support him with this initiative.

FactSnippet No. 1,779,901

Anger with Hugo Chavez's decisions led to civil unrest in Venezuela, which culminated in an attempted coup.

FactSnippet No. 1,779,902

Hugo Chavez believed that the best way to stay in power was to implement Plan Avila.

FactSnippet No. 1,779,903

Hugo Chavez agreed to be detained and was transferred by army escort to La Orchila; business leader Pedro Carmona declared himself president of an interim government.

FactSnippet No. 1,779,904

Hugo Chavez used this new term to contrast the democratic socialism, which he wanted to promote in Latin America, from the Marxist–Leninist socialism that had been spread by socialist states like the Soviet Union and the People's Republic of China during the 20th century, arguing that the latter had not been truly democratic, suffering from a lack of participatory democracy and an excessively authoritarian governmental structure.

FactSnippet No. 1,779,905

In May 2006, Hugo Chavez visited Europe in a private capacity, where he announced plans to supply cheap Venezuelan oil to poor working class communities in the continent.

FactSnippet No. 1,779,906

On 15 December 2006, Hugo Chavez publicly announced that those leftist political parties who had continually supported him in the Patriotic Pole would unite into one single, much larger party, the United Socialist Party of Venezuela.

FactSnippet No. 1,779,907

Hugo Chavez initially proclaimed that those leftist parties which chose to not dissolve into the PSUV would have to leave the government; however, after several of those parties supporting him refused to do so, he ceased to issue such threats.

FactSnippet No. 1,779,908

On 28 December 2006, President Hugo Chavez announced that the government would not renew RCTV's broadcast license which expired on 27 May 2007, thereby forcing the channel to cease operations on that day.

FactSnippet No. 1,779,909

On 7 October 2012, Hugo Chavez won election as president for a fourth time, his third six-year term.

FactSnippet No. 1,779,910

Hugo Chavez's opposition blamed him for unfairly using state funds to spread largesse before the election to bolster Hugo Chavez's support among his primary electoral base, the lower class.

FactSnippet No. 1,779,911

Hugo Chavez's approach was more heavily influenced by the theories of Istvan Meszaros, Michael Lebowitz and Marta Harnecker, who was Chavez's adviser between 2004 and 2011, rather than by those of Heinz Dieterich.

FactSnippet No. 1,779,912

Hugo Chavez defined his political position as Bolivarianism, an ideology he developed from that of Simon Bolivar and others.

FactSnippet No. 1,779,913

The fact that Hugo Chavez's ideology originated from Bolivar has received some criticism because Hugo Chavez had occasionally described himself as being influenced by Karl Marx, a critic of Bolivar.

FactSnippet No. 1,779,914

Hugo Chavez's connection to Marxism was a complex one, though he had described himself as a Marxist on some occasions.

FactSnippet No. 1,779,915

One dictator Hugo Chavez admired was Marcos Perez Jimenez, a former president of Venezuela that he praised for the public works he performed.

FactSnippet No. 1,779,916

Hugo Chavez was much better than Romulo Betancourt, much better than all of those others.

FactSnippet No. 1,779,917

Hugo Chavez was well acquainted with the various traditions of Latin American socialism, espoused by such figures as Colombian politician Jorge Eliecer Gaitan and former Chilean president Salvador Allende.

FactSnippet No. 1,779,918

Early in his presidency, Hugo Chavez was advised and influenced by the Argentine Peronist Norberto Ceresole.

FactSnippet No. 1,779,919

From his election in 1998 until his death in March 2013, Hugo Chavez's administration proposed and enacted populist economic policies.

FactSnippet No. 1,779,920

The social programs were designed to be short-term, though after seeing political success as their result, Hugo Chavez made the efforts central to his administration and often overspent outside of Venezuela's budget.

FactSnippet No. 1,779,921

The social works initiated by Hugo Chavez's government relied on oil products, the keystone of the Venezuelan economy, with Hugo Chavez's administration suffering from Dutch disease as a result.

FactSnippet No. 1,779,922

Economist Mark Weisbrot, in a 2009 analysis of the Hugo Chavez administration stated that economic expansion during Hugo Chavez's tenure "began when the government got control over the national oil company in the first quarter of 2003".

FactSnippet No. 1,779,923

Hugo Chavez gained a reputation as a price hawk in OPEC, pushing for stringent enforcement of production quotas and higher target oil prices.

FactSnippet No. 1,779,924

Hugo Chavez made it his stated goal to lower inequality in the access to basic nutrition, and to achieve food sovereignty for Venezuela.

FactSnippet No. 1,779,925

Price controls initiated by Hugo Chavez created shortages of goods since merchants could no longer afford to import necessary goods.

FactSnippet No. 1,779,926

Hugo Chavez blamed "speculators and hoarders" for these scarcities and strictly enforced his price control policy, denouncing anyone who sold food products for higher prices as "speculators".

FactSnippet No. 1,779,927

Hugo Chavez used exchange rate subsidies to underwrite imports; this policy was not welfare-maximizing, but rather benefited special interests.

FactSnippet No. 1,779,928

Hugo Chavez further explained that common criminals felt that the Venezuelan government did not care for the problems of the higher and middle classes, which in turn gave them a sense of impunity that created a large business of kidnapping-for-ransom.

FactSnippet No. 1,779,929

In September 2010, responding to escalating crime rates in the country, Hugo Chavez stated that Venezuela was no more violent than it was when he first took office.

FactSnippet No. 1,779,930

An International Crisis Group report that same year stated that when Hugo Chavez took office, there were some factors beyond his control that led to the crime epidemic throughout Venezuela, but that Hugo Chavez ignored it as well as corruption in the country; especially among fellow state officials.

FactSnippet No. 1,779,931

Hugo Chavez supporters stated that the Bolivarian National Police has reduced crime and said that the states with the highest murder rates were controlled by the opposition.

FactSnippet No. 1,779,932

Hugo Chavez explained that prisons are controlled by gangs and that "very little has been done" to control them.

FactSnippet No. 1,779,933

Finally, Hugo Chavez allegedly used the judiciary in order to detain or intimidate opposition politicians or NGOs accused of receiving money from the United States purportedly in order to overthrow the government.

FactSnippet No. 1,779,934

Hugo Chavez reportedly put pressure in the attorney general's office in order to replace three key employees and have any case that might damage the government or Chavez himself undisclosed.

FactSnippet No. 1,779,935

In December 1998, Hugo Chavez declared three goals for the new government; "convening a constituent assembly to write a new constitution, eliminating government corruption, and fighting against social exclusion and poverty".

FactSnippet No. 1,779,936

Hugo Chavez created a system in which the FARC would provide the Venezuelan government with drugs that would be transported in live cattle and the FARC would receive money and weaponry from the Venezuelan government.

FactSnippet No. 1,779,937

Hugo Chavez was moved to house arrest in Caracas in February 2011, but she is still barred from practicing law, leaving the country, or using her bank account or social networks.

FactSnippet No. 1,779,938

Human rights groups accused Hugo Chavez of creating a climate of fear that threatened the independence of the judiciary.

FactSnippet No. 1,779,939

OAS observers were denied access to Venezuela; Hugo Chavez rejected the OAS report, pointing out that its authors did not even come to Venezuela.

FactSnippet No. 1,779,940

Hugo Chavez said Venezuela should boycott the OAS, which he felt is dominated by the United States; a spokesperson said, "We don't recognize the commission as an impartial institution".

FactSnippet No. 1,779,941

Claims of antisemitism were prompted by various remarks Hugo Chavez made, including in a 2006 Christmas speech where he complained that "a minority, the descendants of the same ones that crucified Christ", now had "taken possession of all of the wealth of the world".

FactSnippet No. 1,779,942

Hugo Chavez used state-run bodies to silence the media and to disseminate Bolivarian propaganda.

FactSnippet No. 1,779,943

Human Rights Watch criticized Hugo Chavez for engaging in "often discriminatory policies that have undercut journalists' freedom of expression".

FactSnippet No. 1,779,944

In 2004, Hugo Chavez used the National Commission of Telecommunications and the Social Responsibility in Radio, Television and Electronic Media law to officially censor media organizations.

FactSnippet No. 1,779,945

Hugo Chavez inaugurated TeleSUR in July 2005, a Pan-American news channel similar to Al Jazeera, which sought to challenge Latin American television news by Univision and the United States-based CNN en Espanol.

FactSnippet No. 1,779,946

In 2006 Hugo Chavez inaugurated a state-funded movie studio called Villa del Cine.

FactSnippet No. 1,779,947

Hugo Chavez had a Twitter account with more than 3,200,000 followers as of August 2012.

FactSnippet No. 1,779,948

Hugo Chavez said Twitter was "another mechanism for contact with the public, to evaluate many things and to help many people", and that he saw Twitter as "a weapon that needs to be used by the revolution".

FactSnippet No. 1,779,949

Hugo Chavez refocused Venezuelan foreign policy on Latin American economic and social integration by enacting bilateral trade and reciprocal aid agreements, including his so-called "oil diplomacy" making Venezuela more dependent on using oil, its main commodity, and increasing its longterm vulnerability.

FactSnippet No. 1,779,950

Hugo Chavez aligned himself with authoritarian nations and radical movements that were seen as being anti-Western, with relations with Cuba and Iran becoming a particular importance.

FactSnippet No. 1,779,951

In particular relations between Venezuela and the United States deteriorated markedly as Hugo Chavez became highly critical of the US foreign policy, opposing the US -led invasion of Iraq in 2003 and condemning the NATO–led military intervention in Libya.

FactSnippet No. 1,779,952

Hugo Chavez focused on a variety of multinational institutions to promote his vision of Latin American integration, including Petrocaribe, Petrosur, and TeleSUR.

FactSnippet No. 1,779,953

Bilateral trade relationships with other Latin American countries played a major role in his policy, with Hugo Chavez increasing arms purchases from Brazil, forming oil-for-expertise trade arrangements with Cuba, and creating unique barter arrangements that exchange Venezuelan petroleum for cash-strapped Argentina's meat and dairy products.

FactSnippet No. 1,779,954

Domestic mishandling of the country under Hugo Chavez prevented Venezuela from strengthening its position in the world.

FactSnippet No. 1,779,955

Hugo Chavez first wed Nancy Colmenares, a woman from a poor family in Chavez's hometown of Sabaneta.

FactSnippet No. 1,779,956

When Hugo Chavez was released from prison, he initiated affairs with women that had been his followers.

FactSnippet No. 1,779,957

Allegations were made that Hugo Chavez was a womanizer throughout both his marriages, having encounters with actresses, journalists, ministers, and ministers' daughters.

FactSnippet No. 1,779,958

Hugo Chavez was, in general, a liberal Catholic, some of whose declarations were disturbing to the religious community of his country.

FactSnippet No. 1,779,959

Hugo Chavez would declare his belief in Darwin's theory of evolution, stating that "it is a lie that God created man from the ground".

FactSnippet No. 1,779,960

In June 2011, Hugo Chavez revealed in a televised address from Havana, Cuba, that he was recovering from an operation to remove an abscessed tumor with cancerous cells.

FactSnippet No. 1,779,961

On 17 July 2011, television news reported that Hugo Chavez had returned to Cuba for further cancer treatments.

FactSnippet No. 1,779,962

Hugo Chavez gave a public appearance on 28 July 2011, his 57th birthday, in which he stated that his health troubles had led him to radically reorient his life towards a "more diverse, more reflective and multi-faceted" outlook, and he went on to call on the middle classes and the private sector to get more involved in his Bolivarian Revolution, something he saw as "vital" to its success.

FactSnippet No. 1,779,963

On 9 July 2012, Hugo Chavez declared himself fully recovered from cancer just three months before the 2012 Venezuelan presidential election, which he won, securing a fourth term as president.

FactSnippet No. 1,779,964

In November 2012, Hugo Chavez announced plans to travel to Cuba for more medical treatment for cancer.

FactSnippet No. 1,779,965

On 8 December 2012, Hugo Chavez announced he would undergo a new operation after doctors in Cuba detected malignant cells; the operation took place on 11 December 2012.

FactSnippet No. 1,779,966

Hugo Chavez suffered a respiratory infection after undergoing the surgery, but it was controlled.

FactSnippet No. 1,779,967

On 18 February 2013, Hugo Chavez returned to Venezuela after two months of cancer treatment in Cuba.

FactSnippet No. 1,779,968

On 1 March 2013, Vice President Nicolas Maduro said that Hugo Chavez had been receiving chemotherapy in Venezuela following his surgery in Cuba.

FactSnippet No. 1,779,969

Venezuela's hybrid regime, after Hugo Chavez's death, became more selectively accommodating on the inside and more explicitly repressive on the outside.

FactSnippet No. 1,779,970

On 5 March 2013, Vice President Nicolas Maduro announced on state television that Hugo Chavez had died in a military hospital in Caracas at 16:25 VET.

FactSnippet No. 1,779,971

The Vice President said Hugo Chavez died "after battling a tough illness for nearly two years".

FactSnippet No. 1,779,972

Maduro alleged that Hugo Chavez was poisoned or infected with a cancer virus by the US government.

FactSnippet No. 1,779,973

In July 2018, former Attorney General Luisa Ortega Diaz said that Hugo Chavez had actually died in December 2012 and the announcement of his death was delayed for political reasons.

FactSnippet No. 1,779,974

Hugo Chavez's death triggered a constitutional requirement that a presidential election be called within 30 days.

FactSnippet No. 1,779,975