Hugo Chavez of Venezuela


MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           MARCH 08 , 2013           03.50 P.M.

I don’t think Latin American countries attract attention of  many Indians . Even a discerning student of world history and general knowledge will find it difficult to name all the countries of the region . To know the names of the ruling presidents and prime ministers of the Latin American countries is next to impossible . But Hugo Chavez attracted attention and till his death he continuously dominated the headlines of news papers of the world .

Hugo Chávez, President since 1999.

Hugo Chávez, President since 1999. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Hugo Rafael Chávez Frías ; ( 28 July 1954 – 5 March 2013 ) was the President of Venezuela from 1999 until his death in 2013. He was formerly the leader of the Fifth Republic Movement political party from its foundation in 1997 until 2007, when it merged with several other parties to form the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), which he led until his death.

The logo for the PSUV, Chávez's openly sociali...

The logo for the PSUV, Chávez’s openly socialist political party founded in 2007. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Following his own political ideology of Bolivarianism and “socialism of the 21st century“, he focused on implementing socialist reforms in the country as a part of a social project known as the Bolivarian Revolution, which has seen the implementation of a new constitution, participatory democratic councils, the nationalization of several key industries, increased government funding of health care and education, and significant reductions in poverty.Under Chavez, Venezuelans’ quality of life improved and the poverty rate fell from 48.6 percent in 2002 to 29.5 percent in 2011, according to the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America.

Born into a working-class family in Sabaneta, Barinas, Chávez became a career military officer, and after becoming dissatisfied with the Venezuelan political system, he founded the secretive Revolutionary Bolivarian Movement-200 (MBR-200) in the early 1980s to work towards overthrowing it. Chávez led the MBR-200 in an unsuccessful coup d’état against the Democratic Action government of President Carlos Andrés Pérez in 1992, for which he was imprisoned. Released from prison after two years, he founded a social democratic political party, the Fifth Republic Movement, and was elected president of Venezuela in 1998.

English: Venezuelan president Carlos Andrés Pé...

Venezuelan president Carlos Andrés Pérez in 1975 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

While I was going through the article about him in Times of India , I came to know some startling facts about Venezuela under Chavez rule .

1 – Chavez nationalized the oil industry and then used the export earnings for poverty eradication , healthcare and general education .

2 – During his tenure , poverty dropped dramatically in Venezuela . From 61% in 1997 it dropped to 33% .

3 – During Chavez era share of extremely poor dropped from 30% to 9% .

4 – He made education free up to university level . Now one in three Venezuelans is currently enrolled in higher education . This ratio is the 5th highest ratio in the world . UNESCO has recognized that illiteracy has been eliminated in Venezuela .

5 – During Chavez rule , food imports was reduced . From 90% in 1980 it came to 30% in 2011 .

6 – Due to food programmes and boost to food production during Chavez rule malnutrition dropped to 5% .

7 – Infant mortality dropped from 25 per 1000 in 1990 to 13 in 2010 .

8 – From 18 doctors per 10,000 people , Venezuela now boasts 58 doctors per 10,000 .

9 – 96% of the population of Venezuela has now access to clean drinking water .

My admiration for Chavez grew after going through these statistics . Earlier Venezuela was not even known to many . And now the whole world is mourning Chavez’s death . From the ruler of an unknown country , he became a world figure .

I , along with all the current students and staff of Vidur’s Kreating Charakters  , deeply mourn his death . May his soul rest in peace .

[ I have taken few facts of Chavez’s life from Wikipedia . Statistics about Venezuela have been taken from Times of India . I express my gratitude . ]




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