Hugo Chavez. The name alone is instantly recognizable. The sixty-two year old man from Venezuela has made quite the splash with his entrance into the world of politics. 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. His movements and decisions have garnered global attention and criticism, from the man he attempted to kill to the imperial nation he opposes. So how is it that a man who can create so much controversy can manage to captivate so many people and wield such control over the people of Venezuela? The answer to the question is simple: Hugo Chavez knows what it means to be a leader, and his actions make his knowledge evident.
Hugo Rafael Chavez Frias was born on July 28th, 1954 in the town of Sabaneta, Barinas in Venezuela. He was the second son of two poor schoolteachers, Hugo de los Reyes Chavez and Elena Frias de Chavez, who lived in the rural section of Sabaneta. Hugo and Elena Chavez had always wished for their children to lead a better life than them, hoping that one day they could live in the prosperous cities, escaping the poverty they found themselves in. As schoolteachers, it was only natural for them to view education as the best means of escaping their current situation, so young Hugo and his older brother Adan were urged to take advantage of the education offered to them, and it was a request Hugo fulfilled. However, despite their family’s problems with the political system and the fact that Hugo’s great-grandfather was a renowned rebel leader, Hugo’s parents did not wish him to be a politician. Elena Chavez wanted her son to be a man of god, and so at a young age Hugo Chavez entered into the priesthood as an altar boy. Chavez only served as an altar boy for a year, but during that time he created a lifelong distrust of religious hierarchies. His distrust began when he was given the task of cleaning and polishing figurines which depicted Jesus and the saints. The task angered Chavez, as the church’s portrayal of Jesus differed from Chavez’s own idea of who Jesus was. In his eyes, the church presented Jesus as an idiot whereas Chavez saw him as a rebel. Throughout his life Chavez continued to identify with rebels, however, the church’s portrayal of Jesus as something other than a rebel lead to Chavez distrust of religious hierarchies.
Despite the fact that Hugo differed with his mother on what his future looked like, he agreed that education was the path leading to it. When Chavez entered into Julian Pino elementary school, he no longer lived with his parents but with his grandmother. This had a strong effect on Hugo’s future because he began to develop a stronger relationship with his grandmother than he had with Elena, his mother. He also began to love baseball at an early age, and the great American pastime became Hugo’s dream. He wished to play professional baseball for the San Francisco Giants, but that dream would never come to fruition. Hugo also became deeply interested in Simon Bolivar, the Venezuelan revolutionary and freedom fighter, and he was so profoundly affected by Bolivar that he began to connect key dates in his own life with important dates of Bolivar’s life.
In 1975 Hugo graduated from the Venezuelan Academy of Military Services and began a military career which would end in a failed attempt at a coup in 1992. During his stay in the military Chavez lead a double life, he would feign political neutrality and painted a portrait of obedience for his superiors while at the same time engaging in secret trysts and becoming even more interested in leftist politics. He began to step up his leftist actions in the late 70’s, when he met with his current vice president Jose Rangel, who was at that time running for president, and helped him affix election materials while...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document