Hugo Chávez obituary
Hugo Chávez, the Populist leader of Venezuela died yesterday on the 5th of March. A charismatic leader to the poor and an enemy to the rich, Chavez was widely loved for his reforms that massively increased the living standards of the masses in Venezuela.
After a failed military coup d’état, Chávez was arrested. Upon his release, Chávez stood for president with a promise to sweep aside the old order, rewrite the constitution and eliminate corruption. He was swept into power, riding a wave of disgust with the system and politics, he won 56% of the vote.
An elected assembly, almost entirely composed of his supporters, produced a constitution – approved by referendum in December 1999 – that extended the presidential term to six years and allowed immediate re-election. The senate was abolished, the role of the armed forces expanded, and new “moral” and “electoral” branches of government created.
The country’s name was changed to the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, in honour of the liberation hero Simón Bolívar, whose cause – betrayed, allegedly, by the “oligarchy” – Chávez claimed to have inherited.
His reforms included state housing being built, private property being seized, and main industries nationalised. Small businesses are given start up grants, unemployment was nearly halved, and poverty decreased.
“He’s the sort of president who only comes around perhaps every two centuries,” says Francisco Morón, speaking from his new three-bedroom home, which he was given by the government last year after 25 years of homelessness.
Hugo Chávez, 1954-2013
“We must confront the privileged elite who have destroyed a large part of the world.”