Hugo Chavez, a former paratrooper turned socialist firebrand, shot to prominence in 1992 with a failed coup, subsequently spending two years in prison. He gained power legitimately in 1999, winning three more presidential terms, most recently in October. He quickly implemented his revolutionary socialist ideals by setting up grassroots community councils, health and education programmes, funded by Venezuela’s oil wealth. Lauded by the poor, many middle-class Venezuelans distrusted his reforms and his bruising flamboyant style, characterised by his populist weekly TV show. Mr Chavez vilified the United States and built strong links with Russia, China, and Iran. You can read more about his life in the BBC’s News website’s obituary.
Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez dies aged 58 – BBC News
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