“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. An engaging speaker and charismatic personality, he was elected to the presidency as a leftist reformer and modern-day Simón Bolívar. (His reforms were called the "Bolivarian Revolution.") 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. He shunned U.S. and European support and focused on South American and Third World solidarity. He was an economic and political supporter of Fidel Castro and a sharp-tongued critic of George W. Bush and U.S. policies.” (Hugo Chavez Biography (Political Leader/President of Venezuela) | Infoplease.com http://www.infoplease.com/biography/var/hugochavez.html#ixzz2NC3xiAr0) “Hugo Chávez, Venezuela's president for the past 11 years, has turned himself into one of the world's most recognizable and controversial rulers. His fans salute him as a savior for the downtrodden of the planet, a man who is leading a grass roots revolution against American imperialism and its local sepoys. But to many others, including this newspaper, he has come to embody a new, post-cold-war model of authoritarian rule which combines a democratic mandate, populist socialism and anti-Americanism, as well as resource nationalism and carefully calibrated repression.” (The economist, http://www.economist.com/node/16109302) “During the government of Hugo Chavez, from 1999 until now, economic inequality gradually declined, as happened in most of the region. The country now boasts the fairer wealth distribution in Latin America, according to the Gini coefficient.” (BBC MUNDO, 2013, Robert Plummer,...
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