Biography of Hugo Chávez (1954-2013)

Hugo Chávez

Politician and Venezuelan military born in Sabaneta, in the State of Barinas, on June 28, 1954 and died in Caracas on March 5, 2013. He/She starred in a coup attempt in 1992 and, six years later, he/she was elected President of the Republic, who served until his death as a result of a cancer and after twenty-two months of treatment.

It studied primary school of his village home and, subsequently, he/she travelled with his family to the barinesa capital, where Daniel Florencio O'Leary graduated as a Bachelor of science in high school. During this time he/she stood out as a baseball player, which allowed him to enter the Academia Militar de Venezuela, where returned on July 5, 1975 with the rank of second lieutenant. A degree in military arts and Sciences option land engineering.

Once he/she graduated and took several training courses, including the international course of war policies in Guatemala (1988) and the command and general staff at the school Superior of the army Simón Bolívar (1991-1992). In 1989 joined the mastery of policy Sciences of the Universidad Simón Bolívar, which culminated all the materials, although the defence of her thesis let interrupted by the events of February 4, 1992, day in which starred in a failed coup attempt of State military against the constitutional President Carlos Andrés Pérez.

In the military institution, he/she achieved the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. He/She was the Commander of the communications platoon in the battalion of hunters Cedeño, between Barinas and Cumaná (1975-1977) and platoon and company's AMX-30 tanks in the battalion Bravos de Apure, in Maracay. He/She stressed on the border, where he/she commanded the squadron of cavalry in Elorza, Apure (1985-1986) and the civic core military border development of Arauca-Meta (1986-1988). He/She was also official plant of the Military Academy, where was in charge of a company of cadets, head of the departments of physical education and culture and founder of the company José Antonio Páez (1980-1984).

In 1988 he/she was appointed head of the National Security Council Assistant and in 1991 commanded the battalion of paratroopers Antonio Nicolás Briceño, who was in charge until the mentioned the 4 February 1992 coup attempt. Arrested and prosecuted by a military court, spent two years imprisoned in the San Carlos barracks and then the judicial prison of Yare, even though it was released without sentence thanks to a pardon from President Rafael Caldera.

On 21 July 1998 it was postulated to the National Electoral Council as a presidential candidate by the patriotic pole and was elected in the elections on 6 December of that same year. On 2 February 1999, during his takeover, announced the call for a referendum so that the people will decide on a new constituent Assembly. The political revolution was underway and implementation coparía, fundamentally, his two first years of Government, during which remained the bipolarity between the patriotic pole and democratic pole created during the election campaign. Despite the controversy that triggered the terms of the wording of the referendum Act, the referendum was held on April 25, 1999 and convening the constituent Assembly was approved by 88% of the vote, but with an abstention of 62.6%. The constituent Assembly proposed by Chávez was formed, with the exception of four deputies, by candidates of the patriotic pole and, for the first time, the indigenous communities were self representation. The new Constitution, founded the Fifth Republic and in an extensive text acquired overtones of program consecrated five powers: Executive, legislative - composed of a single Chamber-, Judicial, Electoral and citizen. Also, changed the name of Republic of Venezuela to the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela; it granted the right to vote to members of the armed forces and kept the leading role of the State. The text of the Constitution was approved by referendum on 15 December 1999 and on July 31, 2000 new elections were conducted to elect all the powers.

While Chávez was reelected with 58,75% of the votes, the electoral process showed the disagreements in the movement that backed his candidacy. Government's programme became more moderate, but remained the dominant role of the State in economic and social development of the country based on oil income. Chávez returned to the projection of the market of crude oil as the key economic and led an active campaign among members of OPEC in order to achieve a price increase by reducing production, which achieved certain results, but in the end did not improve the Venezuelan economic situation. In the field of international politics, prevailed a position of reinvidicacion movement, steeped in bolivarianism, of statements anti-globalization, demarcation of sovereignty with respect to United States and narrow approach to Cuba's political regime, which increased concern about the Chavez revolution.

The crisis of the project"chavista"

His project of State received a wide reply from the Venezuelan business sector at the end of 2001. In the month of November, the President announced the approval of fifty decree extending substantially the prerogatives of the Executive on private ownership and the market economy. The measures were quickly reproved by the employers, who described the project of Interventional, statist and totalitarian, and called for a general strike that managed to paralyze the country during the day on December 10. Chamber of Commerce announced that the country was on the brink of fiscal collapse and that the flight of capital and domestic debt would lead to Venezuela to bankruptcy. Far from meet the demands of employers, Chávez toughened her speech and announced the immediate execution of the new regulations of economic nature.

The barrage of criticism against Chávez was increased in the following months and began to listen dissonant voices not only among businessmen and political opponents, but also at the heart of the armed forces. Alarm jumped in the first days of February 2002 when an Army Colonel took a colloquium on television to denounce the growing discontent in the barracks and demand the resignation of the President. The statement, supported by other official dissidents and supported by hundreds of demonstrators in the streets of Caracas, increased social tension and made fear an imminent military intervention to overthrow Chávez that immediately turned to the nation to ensure that no risk of rebellion there is in the country.

Frustrated coup

Protests against the President and his Government measures arreciaron in the following days and sounded increasingly stronger voices demanding the resignation of the Bolivarian leader. At the beginning of March, a platform made up of trade unionists, businessmen and members of the Venezuelan Church signed the so-called "Pact democratic emergency"; a document that included a list of measures to overcome the country's crisis, and which should be applied by a transitional Government without Chávez as President. The pressure against the maximum representative rose tone during the 9 April 2002, day chosen by the trade union movement of the Confederation of workers of Venezuela (CTV) to call a general strike. Employers, medical unions and teachers, part of the labor movement of the oil industry and all political opposition ratified their adherence to the unemployment which, finally, was seconded by 70% of the workers in the country. At the time that since the official bodies are trying to minimize the scope of the protest, CTV decided to extend the strike 24 hours more and threatened the Government to indefinitely paralyze the work of Venezuela. Chávez responded to the insult with the Declaration of the State of military alert.

The third day of mass protests in major cities of the country concluded with serious incidents in the vicinity of the Palace of Miraflores, which has claimed the lives of 15 protesters and left more than one hundred wounded. Soon after, a group of generals of the national armed forces, headed by Admiral Héctor Ramírez, spoke out against Chávez and demanded his resignation to the Presidency. From then on, events occurred quickly, but also with extraordinary confusion. In the early morning of April 12, the media reported that Chávez had signed the waiver and, after surrender to the military rebels, arrested remained in the barracks of Fort Tiuna to answer for the deaths of protesters. On the other hand, sources close to the deposed government claimed that the Bolivarian President had refused to sign the waiver and that his removal from power was responding to an illegitimate coup.

Within hours, Pedro Carmona, leader of the Fedecamaras employers and one of the main instigators of the military rebellion, was sworn in as the country's new President. His first actions were dismiss Parliament, restore the old name of Republic of Venezuela instead of the Bolivarian, adopted by Chávez, and promise the call for General and presidential elections. But the seizure in the country did not stop and the weakness of the new political organ of transition became apparent immediately. Thousands of demonstrators, the Chavez regime, took to the streets of Caracas to demand the return of the former President, while the new Executive ordered mass arrests of supporters of the Bolivarian leader practice. On the other hand, the decision of Carmona of acquiring full power by the suspension of all the institutions of the old constitutional regime was answered from the trade unions, political parties and the army itself that, before the conclusion of the first day of the new Government, the President demanded the restoration of Parliament. Carmona accepted the ultimatum but paid its excesses. Members of the National Assembly chose not to recognize the new President and, with the backing of the military authority, was named interim President of the country to Diosdado Cabello, Vice President of the Executive of Hugo Chávez. Only a few hours later, in the early hours of Sunday, April 14, the architect of the Bolivarian revolution returned to the Miraflores Palace to regain the Presidency. The loyalty of the army in many of the barracks of the country and the massive manifestation of chavism civilian sympathizers had been determinants into failure adventure coup orchestrated by the forces opposed to Chávez.

Social fracture

In any case, the ideological fragmentation of Venezuelan society was not resolved and the manifestations of one and another sign appeared in the following months. On 10 October 2002, the Democratic Coordinator, a heterogeneous platform of parties and civil organizations with the only common link to make public its rejection to the Government chavista, managed to summon a massive concentration in Caracas to demand the resignation of the President and the advancement of elections. Underpinned by the success of his call, opposition threatened the head of the State to call an indefinite strike, not met their demands. But the response of the ruling chavista came, only three days later, with a counter-demonstration of similar size that gathered in the streets of the capital to hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans eager to demonstrate their support to the Bolivarian leader. Division of Venezuelan society remain in evidence on 21 October, day chosen by the blocks of opposition to launch the strike announced. Although unemployment managed to paralyze much of the activity in the country, the tracking was uneven and did not achieve the success of previous years. Twenty-four hours later, a group of officers, mostly processed by the military coup of April, made a public statement and declared in rebellion against the constitutional Government although its appeal to the revolt was not seconded by the army.

Dismissed coup way, the opposition opted to negotiate with the Government call in early 2003 of a consultative referendum, with binding, so that citizenship is pronounced by the continuity or the abandonment of the President. The Executive chavista, only agreed to the possibility of holding, however, as it was envisaged in the Constitution, a recall referendum at the midpoint of the presidential term (August 2003) and while the results were binding. The National Electoral Council (CNE) eventually give reason to the coordinating anti-Chávez, who presented nearly two million signatures to endorse his request and approved the call for the referendum of February 2, 2003, while forces loyal to the President declared unlawful the initiative because it was adopted by a simple majority of the members of the electoral body. Days later, the Supreme Court was manifested in the same line and annulled the decision of the CNE to understand that call for proposals require the favourable vote of the qualified majority of the members of the Electoral Council.

On 2 December 2002, the Venezuelan ruling party had to face, for the fourth time in less than a year, a strike against Chávez. Organizing opposition blocks remained an indefinite strike in the next few days, with uneven track, but failed to force the President to accept the advance election or a referendum on his eventual resignation. Yes showed the days of strike was the radicalization of the conflict civil in Venezuela, aggravated even more after the attack that they were groups of opponents concentrated in a central square of Caracas on the fifth day of strike. Several armed men fired indiscriminately at protesters and the attack ended with a tragic balance of three people dead and three dozen injured by bullet. Meanwhile, the effects of the strike began to be noticed in the national sector of the crude oil (PDVSA), the undisputed pillar of Venezuela's economy, and Chávez threatened to impose the State of emergency in the country.

Ten after the start of the strike, its promoters made an appeal to the total resistance indefinite until the resignation of the President. The call for civil disobedience found answer in the call for new mass demonstrations in the streets of Caracas, countered by the Government with the Organization of followers of Chavez marches. But at this point in the crisis, Chávez was still backed by the leadership of the army, which threatened to intervene against the escalation of street protests to prevent the collapse of the country. Defying the warning of the military, on December 29, 2002, when they met four weeks from the beginning of the political strike against the Chavez regime, hundreds of thousands of demonstrators took back the streets of Caracas to demand the departure of the President, in a massive mobilization dubbed "Great March of victory". The maximum mandatory response to opposition groups was the announcement of a toughening of its revolutionary politics and the increase in the distribution of land among the peasants.

International mediation

Anything served mediation attempts led by the Secretary general of the OAS, César Gaviria, during the long crisis and 2003 began as it ended the previous year, with demonstrations and counter-demonstrations, marches and setbacks and the widespread sense of inability to provide an immediate solution and put an end to the split of the country. Opponents and officials fought the first pitched battle of the year on January 3 near the Fort Tiuna, headquarters of the Commander of the army, in a day that left two people dead and fifty wounded. The President threatened again to declare state of emergency while the banking sector announced joining the strike.

In mid-January, the President of Brazil, Lula da Silva, launched a new mediation initiative in Quito. He/She began talks with international leaders, meeting in the Ecuadorian capital on the occasion of the inauguration of the new President of the Republic, Lucio Gutiérrez, and proposed the creation of a group of countries friends of Venezuela to seek a negotiated the crisis exit. The mediator group was integrated by Brazil, Chile, Mexico, Spain, Portugal and United States. Another proposal of dialogue came from former U.S. President and premio Nobel de la Paz, Jimmy Carter, who traveled to Venezuela with a double-track negotiation; on the one hand, the announcement of the recall referendum halfway through the presidential term as stipulated in the Constitution and, on the other hand, the approval of a constitutional amendment to shorten his term and call early elections.

On 2 February 2003, the opposition organized a new day of vindication, dubbed firmazo and dedicated to the collection of thousands of signatures of support to put in place a set of legislative initiatives to force the fall of Hugo Chávez. A day later, the Democratic Coordinator agreed to permanently suspend the general strike that kept the country virtually paralyzed for two months.

Ended officially unemployed, impoverished and polarized country and after 100 days of fruitless efforts, called table of negotiation and agreements in Venezuela, sponsored by Óscar Gaviria on behalf of the OAS, achieved its first success when Government and opposition agree to sign "a pact against violence and in favor of peace and democracy". In any case, the white flag flew for a few days in the country, when the Venezuelan President orchestrated an explicit campaign of retaliation against the main leaders of the general strike decreed against its Government and that paralyzed the country for two long months. Thus, on February 20, 2003 and under the charges of civil rebellion, treason and instigation to crime, a judge ordered the arrest of the leaders of the strike; businessman Carlos Fernández, President of Fedecamaras, and trade unionist Carlos Ortega, President of the Confederation of workers of Venezuela (CTV). The leader of the employer was under arrest home while Ortega, who announced his intention not to be presented to the Court, asked days later for political asylum at the Embassy of Costa Rica in Caracas.

Recall referendum

At the end of the month of may, Chavez supporters and opponents finally reached an agreement to hold in the second half of August a recall referendum on presidential term. To start the process, opposition should collect the signatures of at least 20% of the electorate, while to win it, you would need to add more than 3,700,000 votes obtained by Chávez in the 2000 election. On 20 August 2003, the Democratic Coordinator officially presented before the National Electoral Council (CNE) more than two million signatures required by the Constitution to enable the popular consultation. Meanwhile, the usual replica of the loyal to the President occurred three days later with thousands of followers focused on the streets of Caracas to celebrate three years of Chávez in the Miraflores Palace.

On 12 September, the CNE declared void the referendum petition promoted by the anti-Chávez bloc because the signatures were collected in the month of February, on the day named as the firmazo; before the period provided for in the Constitution to this effect, i.e. until the half of the presidential mandate is fulfilled. Minutes after the ruling of the Electoral Council, the Democratic Coordinator announced the launch of the reafirmazo; a new initiative to repeat the process.

Before the end of the year, the opposition proclaimed collection of 3.6 million signatures to the Government while Chavez denounced massive fraud. The CNE validated 1.9 million signatures and ordered more than 500,000 ratification because of irregularities in the process of collecting. The verification process culminated in the last days of the month of May 2004, and finally during the day on June 3, the Electoral Council announced that the opposition groups had managed to collect enough signatures to start the recall referendum.

The campaign kept open confrontation between supporters and opponents of Chávez until election day on August 15. That day, Venezuelans went on a massive scale to urns and 58% of the more than 10 million voters expressed their refusal to the Commander left the country's leadership. Opposition groups, gathered under the umbrella of the Democratic Coordinator, had failed in their attempt to expel President Hugo Chávez, and although they denounced fraud in the counting, international observers endorsed without question the results. On 10 September 2004, the anti-Chávez opposition officially challenged the referendum before the CNE.

Little more than fifteen months after the victory of the President in the polls, Venezuelans again attended an electoral consultation to choose, on this occasion, their representatives in the National Assembly. The campaign returned to lift the angry passions of the two big political currents in the country and defenders and detractors of chavism launched its propaganda offensive specifically. On November 19, 2005, just 15 days before election day, the main opposition parties [democratic action and Copei and project Venezuela grouping] they accused the National Electoral Council to serve the interests of the ruling party and announced the withdrawal of his nomination on the grounds that guarantees of transparency there were no. The extreme polarization of the positions of the Government and the opposition and the discrediting of the political class began to awaken the rejection of an increasing number of citizens who expressed their lack of harmony with the two major proposals and their allegiance to a spontaneous, without ideology or program feeling, which was baptized with the name of "NEET" [or Government[, or opposition].

The decision to boycott the elections opened a major schism in the unity of action of opposition groups. Some anti-Chavez leaders described as erroneous the initiative that marked the composition of a necessarily monochrome Parliament and turned into extra-parliamentary counterweight to Chavez supporters. The elections held on 4 December 2005, the abstention became the big winner of the day. Only 25% of the voters went to the polls; insufficient percentage to celebrate the victory of the forces loyal to the President with DIN. The results were known, Government proposed to opposition to initiate a process of dialogue.

Elections held in December 2006 gave the triumph by a large majority to Hugo Chávez, which was done with the third term by a large majority. The President promised to fight against corruption and bureaucracy.

On February 2, 2009, the President of Venezuela, celebrated the tenth anniversary of his assumption of power, issuing a decree of national holiday to commemorate this day in the future. The 14th of this month decided to expel a Spanish MEP that the dictator was called. The next day, he/she won the popular referendum to modify the Constitution, with the aim to present no limit to presidential elections.

In May 2009, they raided the House of the owner of the news channel Globovisión in Venezuela, who maintained a critical stance with President Chávez, a supposed complaint of smuggling of cars. The Bank of Venezuela, previously owned by Banco Santander, was finally nationalised at the end of that month, the payment of € 755 million. In November 2009, President Chávez received the visit of the President of Iran. M. Ahmadinejad, and both countries strengthened diplomatic and commercial ties through the signing of bilateral agreements 270.

In 2009, Hugo Chávez got to perpetuate its model but its project was truncated in 2011 when it will dectecto a pelvic "injury" which was treated in Cuba with different cycles of chemotherapy. In July 2012, Chávez declared to be "free" of the disease and returned to stand as a candidate in the presidential elections of October 7 for the 2013-2019 period. Chávez was re-elected for a third consecutive term with ten points of difference with respect to the opposition candidate. According to the CNE, Hugo Chávez Frías won 55.8 percent of the votes compared with 44,30% of her opponent, Henrique Capriles, the table of Democratic Unity (MUD) candidate. He/She managed the victory in the Capital District and in all States, except in Táchira and Mérida. The election campaign was difficult for Chávez because of his delicate state of health and speculation about its deterioration were increasing. On December 8, 2012, without have sworn his position as President, Chávez announced that you he/she will travel to Havana to operate again and appointed as a successor to the Vice President, Nicolás Maduro.

On January 10, 2013 started the fourth presidential period of Chávez. February 18, Chávez announced through his official account on Twitter that he/she had returned to Venezuela after 70 days of treatment in Havana. On March 5, 2013, the Venezuelan President died in Caracas at 16:25 local time (21:55 Spanish time) by medical complications after his last cancer operation, officially announced the Vice President Maduro in a chain of Radio and TV from the Hospital Militar in Caracas, where Chávez remained entered since he/she returned to Venezuela Feb. 18. Also noted that after the death of Chávez "is planned a special deployment of all force Armada Nacional Bolivariana (possibility), of the Bolivarian national police (GNP)" to accompany and protect the people of Venezuela. The burning chapel with the mortal remains of the President was installed at the Military Academy of Venezuela and he/she is declared seven days of national mourning. Nicolás Maduro was appointed Acting President.


ARVELO RAMOS, Alberto. The dilemma of chavism. One unknown in the power, Caracas, Centaur, 1998

BLANCO MUNOZ, Agustín. Speaks the Commander. Caracas, Universidad Central de Venezuela, 1998.