Hugo Chavez

By: Stephen Boffetti


Hugo Chavez was the elected strongman of Venezuela who took office in 1999 and remained there until his death from cancer in 2013. Hugo Chavez was the son of schoolteachers, and he graduated from the Venezuelan Academy of Military Sciences in 1975. This led to a military career until he formed his own revolutionary force within the Venezuelan army and tried to overthrow President Carlos Andres Perez in 1992. His attempt resulted in a failure and as a result he spent two years in prison until being pardoned by President Rafael Caldera. After taking office on 2 February 1999, he instituted sweeping reforms that resulted in widely divided opinions of his presidency: supporters saw him as a populist leader and champion of the poor, while critics called him anti-business and neo-fascist.


In this Youtube video some of Hugo Chavez's achievements are recognized as well as some negative aspects as a leader. At 1:40 in the video the narrator begins to talk about some of Chavez's most important accomplishments that made him stand out a leader. Chavez greatly expanded an oil program for the Caribbean called Petrocaribe. Although he refused to do any business with the United States. He was also one of the main forces behind the establishment of the Union of South American Nations, UNASUR, to which all South American countries belonged. He rejected the U.S wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya, and opposing Israel's attack on Gaza. For that he became one of the Arab world's greatest heroes. He also launched several social programs having to do with the eradication of illiteracy, providing elementary, high school, and university education for the country's poor, giving financial support to poor single mothers, expanding and increasing retirement benefits, providing neighborhood doctors to all communities, introducing a comprehensive land reform program, and launching a massive public housing construction program. Hugo Chavez was not without enemies in Venezuela his working-class style, his unhesitating condemnation of the U.S. government, his roughness in condemning his political opponents, and his willingness to go after economically powerful made him the target of hate and undying opposition of many in Venezuela's middle class, but especially of its upper class. Some believe Chavez to have manipulated the society and systematically removing political opponents to gain presidency. There is also speculation with his alignment with radical groups such as Colombian guerrillas, al-Qaida and the Taliban.
The Life and Legacy of Hugo Chavez

Creative Piece- Letter from Venezuelan citizen to American citizen

Hugo Chavez is an inspirational man whose achievements should be recognized and remembered for all of history. He is a man of principle who is not afraid to stand up for what he believes in no matter the enemies he is making in the process. His charisma is both mesmerizing and disarming, his upbringing humble and his ideals are revolutionary. Hugo Chavez is a true leader who, following in the footsteps of his lifelong rebel great-grandfather, aims to change the face and direction of the nation of Venezuela. Strong-willed and stubborn are qualities that define a great leader. He is a man of the people who loves and fights for them. He is an agent of the poor and sees that they are taken care of and treated fairly. What we need in this world is more men like Hugo Chavez who are not afraid to take a stand and fight for what is right.

Essential Question

Should Hugo Chavez be remembered as a hero or a villain?

Work Cited

"Chavez's impact on Venezuela lauded at funeral -" - Breaking News, U.S., World, Weather, Entertainment & Video News. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Mar. 2013. <>.

Gross, Daniel. "Why Hugo Chavez Was Bad for Venezuela - The Daily Beast."The Daily Beast. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Mar. 2013. <>.

"The Life and Legacy of Hugo Chavez - YouTube." YouTube. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Mar. 2013. <>.