by Caitlin Redmond
1) Profile of your leader
Hugo Chavez took office in february of 1999. He was well loved in his first year of office, having an approval rating of 80%. This was because in his early years, he advocated for ending corruption, increasing spending on social programs, and the redistribution for the countries oil wealth. His popularity made him seek more power in the reconstruction of a new constitution. This document gave him control over all three branches of government and it required new elections for every elected official. He was reelected for a six year term in 2000, when the reelections took place. In this new term, he tried to take complete control but failed. He settled for increased power in the National Assembly. The pro-Chavez majority passed a law that allowed the president to make certain laws by decree. Pro-Chavez judges were also put into the courts. Chavez formed close ties with Fidel Castro and even said he wanted Venezuela to go down the same path as Cuba. He also formed close ties with Iran, Iraq, and Libya. Following the September 11 attacks in the U.S. in 2001, he condemned the United States's decision to enter Afghanistan. By early 2002, anti-Chavez marches became a regular occurrence and his approval rating had dropped to 30%. Many of his allies, including military personnel, turned against him. On April 11, 2002, a million people marched to the palace to get Chavez's resignation. Unfortunately, pro-Chavez gunmen and the National Guard opened fire on the protestors. This started a military revolt and a coup was put into place. Chavez was taken into custody and the military placed Pedro Carmona as President. He immediately dissolved many democratic institutions and suspended the constitution. The military, fearing a right wing dictatorship, took him from power and appointed Chavez's vice president, Diosdado Cabello as the new President on April 13th. Cabello restored Chavez to power the very next day. Venezuela was quickly divided into two groups, pro-Chavez and anti-Chavez. In december 2002, a national strike with the countries oil company, who accounted for 80% of the countries exports, at the center. Chavez, in response, fired the workers on strike, which was half of the 38,000 manned company, and hired nonunion workers and foreign oil crews to maintain oil production. By 2003, the strike had collapsed. Throughout 2003-mid 2004 Chavez spent oil company revenues on social programs. In 2011, cancer was discovered in his body and he eventually died of it in 2013 after going to cuba for treatment many times.
2) Audio/Visual/Artistic Element
3) Creative Piece
It has come to my attention that your police force has failed to stop the protestors that move against me. This new uprising in the oil company will not be allowed. Unemploy all of the striking worker and hire foreigners that will do the work without complaint and lower their wages. They won't know any better. If you fail me again, there will be consequences. Your baby girl won't be happy without a dad now would she?
4) Essential Question
Why did Chavez seek Cuban friendship instead of more widely accepted alliances? (Like the U.S.)