Hugo Chavez
by Ben Nelson

1) About Hugo Chavez

Hugo Chavez was born on July 28, 1954 in Venezuela. As a teenager, he studied at the Venezuelan Academy of Military Sciences. During this time he witnessed poverty and the working class, and this, coupled with the poverty that he experienced growing up, was the foundation of his desire for social justice. In 1977 he founded a revolutionary movement within the army. He hoped to bring a leftist government to Venezuela, long governed by right wing leaders. He began to teach the new recruits at the military academy his ideas and soon the senior military officers grew suspicious. In 1992, after the leader Carlos Perez brought in controversial policies that angered most of the public and a massacre of civilians, Hugo Chavez prepared for a coup. However, this coup failed, and Perez was able to escape before Chavez's men could capture him. In 1998, after being imprisoned, Chavez began to run for president. He won with much support. After being elected, he began social reform and brought a large reduction in poverty to the people. He was truly invested in helping his people, and even answered their questions on a radio show personally. He was, however, accused of attempting to turn the government into a dictatorship. He occasionally garnered criticism on his policies, but eventually fixed them. There was also occasional corruption. Chavez also maintained bad ties with the United States, as he openly opposed the way the US had handled the invasion of Afghanistan follow the 9/11 attacks. He also favored a leftist government and preferred not to negotiate foreign policy with the United States, as his opponents tried to get the US military to intervene during periods in Hugo's rule. Hugo Chavez served two terms and died in 2013 due to advanced cancer and a large heart attack.

2) Hugo Chavez Political Cartoon

  • This political Cartoon shows how Hugo Chavez is remembered in Venezuela. He did a lot to help the forgotten working class and the population in poverty. He was lenient in helping his citizens with improving the quality of life. However, his rule was very authoritarian and he acted as a dictator in some ways. He made sure people didn't voice their opinions when in opposition of him, and when those opposing people were very critical of him he had them taken care of.

3) A Poem of Hugo Chavez

Hugo Chavez,

Savior of our country,

Hugo, hero of the working class.

Hugo Chavez, we will remember you!

Oh Hugo, the great leader!

You fixed our country,

You destroyed illiteracy,

You will always be known to our children.

Hugo Chavez, we will remember you!

4) Essential Question

Hugo Chavez did a lot to help his country, but did his authoritarian rule overshadow his accomplishments?