Chávez, Hugo (Venezuela)
Hugo Rafael Chávez Frías of the Movimiento V República (Movement for the Fifth Republic/MVR—which he founded in 1997) was elected president in Dec. 1998 as the candidate for the left-wing ‘Patriotic Pole’ coalition. Although re-elected in 2000, he was subsequently challenged by anti-government protests and a failed coup. He was nevertheless re-elected again at the end of 2006. In Dec. 2007 he suffered his first defeat in a popular vote when proposals to extend his powers and accelerate his socialist revolution were rejected in a referendum. His further re-election in Oct. 2012 was soon overshadowed by a serious relapse in his health, and his failure to attend his scheduled official inauguration in Jan. 2013 heightened concerns about his ability to resume his presidential duties.
The son of teachers, Chávez was born on 28 July 1954 in Sabaneta, Barinas state. Embarking on a military career, he completed his higher education at the Academia Militar de Venezuela,...