Venezuela mourns the loss of its president. We briefly look at Hugo Chavez’s political career.
World leaders have expressed their condolences to Venezuelans after the loss of their president, Hugo Chavez (58), yesterday. Chavez lost his fight against cancer after a prolonged illness. Chavez was about to enter his fourth term as the head of the Venezuelan state.
Chavez’s prominent political career began in 1992 when he planned a coup to overthrow President Carlos Andres Perez. Following this failed coup, Chavez was arrested for two years and emerged as frontrunner for presidency after Perez was ousted in 1993.
A self-declared socialist, Chavez was never shy in expressing his opinions, calling US President George W Bush “the devil” in his UN General Assembly address at the 61st session. At the Africa and South America Summit in 2009, he and late Libyan President Muammar Gaddafi encouraged African and South American leaders to aim to change the world order. They highlighted the dangers of Western dominance and encouraged developing states’ leaders to prioritise world influence.
Internally, his socialist rule almost saw his overthrow with an attempted coup in Venezuela in April 2002. Even though Chavez was reinstated after a few days, the nation’s grievances with his administration and economic struggles were evident in the popular strikes in Venezuelan cities.
In the thick of his illness, Chavez publicly announced his wishes of having Vice-President Nicolas Maduro succeed him should he not survive his treatment. Currently, Maduro is set to run against Henrique Capriles Radonski in 30 days for the presidency.