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Hugo Chavez, Venezuelan President, Dead at 58


Hugo Chavez, Venezuela's fiery and controversial socialist president who came to power on wave of popular sentiment and befriended some of the world's most nefarious dictators, has died at the age of 58, Venezuelan Vice President Nicolas Maduro said today.

Chavev had been fighting cancer, recently seeking treatment at a clinic in Cuba.

A self-described champion of the poor who first tried to overturn Venezuela's powerful elites in a failed 1992 coup, Chavez was democratically elected in 1999, with huge support from the country's poor.

During his time in office, he became one of Latin America's most well-known and polarizing figures. A constant thorn in the side of the United States, he commanded headlines in newspapers around the world. A populist who suppressed free speech, he remained immensely popular among his country's poor.

From the time he won election in 1999, Chavez held onto power through tightly controlling the media and through a series of populist elections and referenda, including one that allowed him to seek a limitless number of terms.


Chavez, whose public appearances diminished in months received his first surgery and chemotherapy treatment for cancer in Cuba in 2011.

He returned to Cuba, a guest of that country's ailing socialist leader Fidel Castro, for treatment and surgery in February 2012.


Chavez announced on Dec. 8 on state television that he would travel back to Cuba to undergo surgery since his pelvic cancer had "returned."

Despite his ailing health, Chavez was reelected last year.

Chavez was born in 1954 in the town of Sabenta, Venezuela. Both his parents were schoolteachers. A military academy graduate and a decorated paratrooper, in the 1980s he and a group of officers founded an underground socialist organization named for the 19th century South American revolutionary Simon Bolivar.

Full Coverage: Hugo Chavez

In 1992 that group, the Revolutionary Bolivarian Movement, led a failed coup that ended with 18 people killed and Chavez imprisoned.

Chavez spent two years in prison before receiving a pardon. After leaving prison, he rebranded his movement into a populist party called the Movement of the Fifth Republic and replaced his military uniform with business attire, or oftentimes a red shirt or red track suit.

Venezuela has one of the longest democratic traditions in Latin America, but by the early 1990s many of the country's working and middle class people were disenchanted with the country's two primary political parties, both of which suffered from endemic corruption.

Chavez, an icon from his prison days, promised to rid the country of corruption and pledged to divert revenue from the country's ample oil sales to projects aimed at helping the poor, including improved education and health care. Unemployment and poverty, however, remain high despite the country's oil wealth.

Always the firebrand, Chavez created a series of bogeymen on which the Venezuelan people could pin their frustrations, firing jabs at traditional spheres of power and influence, including the oil companies, the Catholic Church and the United States.

In a public address he once said of oil executives that they live in "luxury chalets where they perform orgies, drinking whisky."

He accused the church hierarchy of ignoring the plight of the poor, claiming Jesus would have been a socialist and priests "do not walk in ... the path of Christ."


http://abcnews.go.com/International/hugo-chavez-dead-president-venezuela-58-died-cancer/story?id=16198379

by on Mar. 5, 2013 at 5:00 PM
Replies (11-20):
krysstizzle
by on Mar. 5, 2013 at 7:33 PM
4 moms liked this

Anyone seen the documentary South of the Border? It's worth the watch. 

The Hugo Chavez the American media portrayed is not necessarily the truth. The man wasn't a saint, but he wasn't the propaganda the media portrayed, either. 

MomOfOneCoolKid
by Member on Mar. 5, 2013 at 7:37 PM

Yay! My family lives in Vzla (we are all from there) and that man was AWEFUL! Is aweful!

 

My country is going through so much turmoil... the worst part is the random violence and chaos :(

MomOfOneCoolKid
by Member on Mar. 5, 2013 at 7:39 PM

 


Quoting krysstizzle:

Anyone seen the documentary South of the Border? It's worth the watch. 

The Hugo Chavez the American media portrayed is not necessarily the truth. The man wasn't a saint, but he wasn't the propaganda the media portrayed, either. 


 There were student protests demonstrating peacefully and he sent his goons with guns and other ammunition after them. This happened many times. Trust me, the portrayal is on the mark...

krysstizzle
by on Mar. 5, 2013 at 7:46 PM
1 mom liked this

You mean like when cops are sent in to disperse protestors in this country, with gas and rubber bullets and billy clubs?

I didn't agree with most of what Chavez did, entirely too dictatorial for my taste. But the media portrayal is not accurate, and considering the known past of US intervention and portayal of Latin America in general, I'm extremely skeptical of what the US government tries to sell me on that front. 

Quoting MomOfOneCoolKid:



Quoting krysstizzle:

Anyone seen the documentary South of the Border? It's worth the watch. 

The Hugo Chavez the American media portrayed is not necessarily the truth. The man wasn't a saint, but he wasn't the propaganda the media portrayed, either. 


 There were student protests demonstrating peacefully and he sent his goons with guns and other ammunition after them. This happened many times. Trust me, the portrayal is on the mark...


MomOfOneCoolKid
by Member on Mar. 5, 2013 at 8:09 PM

 


Quoting krysstizzle:

You mean like when cops are sent in to disperse protestors in this country, with gas and rubber bullets and billy clubs?

I didn't agree with most of what Chavez did, entirely too dictatorial for my taste. But the media portrayal is not accurate, and considering the known past of US intervention and portayal of Latin America in general, I'm extremely skeptical of what the US government tries to sell me on that front. 

Quoting MomOfOneCoolKid:

 

 

Quoting krysstizzle:

Anyone seen the documentary South of the Border? It's worth the watch. 

The Hugo Chavez the American media portrayed is not necessarily the truth. The man wasn't a saint, but he wasn't the propaganda the media portrayed, either. 

 

 There were student protests demonstrating peacefully and he sent his goons with guns and other ammunition after them. This happened many times. Trust me, the portrayal is on the mark...


1. I understand. Sometimes exaggeration and some lies can make you doubtful of the what US officials say about another country.

But, all in all, he is very horrific. Living under him is absolutely awful and terrifying. My aunt had a preschool set up and the gov't came and shut it down because it was "dispersing capitalism." If you have an apartment and it was being rented, the renters can just take the apartment and not pay rent. Newspapers, tv stations got shut down. The list goes on and on. 

2. The horrifying events in Vzla doesn't mean that there are no horrifying events in the US?

3. US involvement in S.A. --- well, sometimes -- most times -- the US portrayal of SA is accurate but what to do about it sucked.

Cases in point:

  • Allende in Chile. Well, this case was totally uncalled for. Secretary of State Colin Powell actual admitted we killed him and that we shouldn't have. That was terrible!
  • Ortega in Nicaragua. (Not south america, but sadam hussein in iraq). Its not that these dictators we not AWFUL but how we went about getting involved, THAT was awful.

 

krysstizzle
by on Mar. 5, 2013 at 8:28 PM
1 mom liked this


Quoting MomOfOneCoolKid:



Quoting krysstizzle:

You mean like when cops are sent in to disperse protestors in this country, with gas and rubber bullets and billy clubs?

I didn't agree with most of what Chavez did, entirely too dictatorial for my taste. But the media portrayal is not accurate, and considering the known past of US intervention and portayal of Latin America in general, I'm extremely skeptical of what the US government tries to sell me on that front. 

Quoting MomOfOneCoolKid:



Quoting krysstizzle:

Anyone seen the documentary South of the Border? It's worth the watch. 

The Hugo Chavez the American media portrayed is not necessarily the truth. The man wasn't a saint, but he wasn't the propaganda the media portrayed, either. 


 There were student protests demonstrating peacefully and he sent his goons with guns and other ammunition after them. This happened many times. Trust me, the portrayal is on the mark...


1. I understand. Sometimes exaggeration and some lies can make you doubtful of the what US officials say about another country.

But, all in all, he is very horrific. Living under him is absolutely awful and terrifying. My aunt had a preschool set up and the gov't came and shut it down because it was "dispersing capitalism." If you have an apartment and it was being rented, the renters can just take the apartment and not pay rent. Newspapers, tv stations got shut down. The list goes on and on. 

2. The horrifying events in Vzla doesn't mean that there are no horrifying events in the US?

3. US involvement in S.A. --- well, sometimes -- most times -- the US portrayal of SA is accurate but what to do about it sucked.

Cases in point:

  • Allende in Chile. Well, this case was totally uncalled for. Secretary of State Colin Powell actual admitted we killed him and that we shouldn't have. That was terrible!
  • Ortega in Nicaragua. (Not south america, but sadam hussein in iraq). Its not that these dictators we not AWFUL but how we went about getting involved, THAT was awful.


My point in my reply was that it always stikes me as odd that some americans are so outraged and flabbergasted by (often exaggerated) government actions against its own people in other countries and virtually ignore the same here. 

I know that there are reprehensible things happening in Venezuela, but I also know some things are lies and exaggeration. I've heard the good, bad, and ugly of life in Venezuela from a friend that lives (part time) in the San Cristobal area near Colombia. 

And no, most of the time US portrayal of Latin America is ludicrously wrong and intentionally misleading. The actions of the federal governement, the CIA..yeah, just sickening: the civil war in Guatemala, the Contras in Nicaragua, Grenada in the 80s. We've tried out damndest to screw up an entire continent and a half for over the last century. It's disgusting. 

Here's a (partial) list. I'm sure there is quite a bit we don't know:


**ETA: the majority of this list is verifiable through "vetted" sources (such as declassified US documents, lol); some is conjecture, and a couple or two are not verifiable or just ludicrous. But the jist is the same.***

LocationPeriodType of ForceComments on U.S. Role
Argentina1890TroopsBuenos Aires interests protected
Chile1891TroopsMarines clash with nationalist rebels
Haiti1891TroopsBlack workers revolt on U.S.-claimed Navassa Island defeated
Nicaragua1894TroopsMonth-long occupation of Bluefields
Panama1895Naval, troopsMarines land in Colombian province
Nicaragua1896TroopsMarines land in port of Corinto
Cuba1898-Naval, troopsSeized from Spain, U.S. still holds Navy base at Guantanamo
Puerto Rico1898-Naval, troopsSeized from Spain, occupation continues
Nicaragua1898TroopsMarines land at port of San Juan del Sur
Nicaragua1899TroopsMarines land at port of Bluefields
Honduras1903TroopsMarines intervene in revolution
Dominican Republic1903-04TroopsU.S. interests protected in Revolution
Cuba1906-09TroopsMarines land in democratic election
Nicaragua1907Troops"Dollar Diplomacy" protectorate set up
Honduras1907TroopsMarines land during war with Nicaragua
Panama1908TroopsMarines intervene in election contest
Nicaragua1910TroopsMarines land in Bluefields and Corinto
Honduras1911TroopsU.S. interests protected in civil war
Cuba1912TroopsU.S. interests protected in Havana
Panama1912TroopsMarines land during heated election
Honduras1912TroopsMarines protect U.S. economic interests
Nicaragua1912-33Troops, bombing20-year occupation, fought guerrillas
Mexico1913NavalAmericans evacuated during revolution
Dominican Republic1914NavalFight with rebels over Santo Domingo
Mexico1914-18Naval, troopsSeries of interventions against nationalists
Haiti1914-34Troops, bombing19-year occupation after revolts
Dominican Republic1916-24Troops8-year Marine occupation
Cuba1917-33TroopsMilitary occupation, economic protectorate
Panama1918-20Troops"Police duty" during unrest after elections
Honduras1919TroopsMarines land during election campaign
Guatemala1920Troops2-week intervention against unionists
Costa Rica1921Troops
Panama1921Troops
Honduras1924-25TroopsLanded twice during election strife
Panama1925TroopsMarines suppress general strike
El Salvador1932NavalWarships sent during Faribundo Marti revolt
Uruguay1947Nuclear threatBombers deployed as show of strength
Puerto Rico1950Command operationIndependence rebellion crushed in Ponce
Guatemala1954-?Command operation, bombing, nuclear threatCIA directs exile invasion and coup d'Etat after newly elected government nationalizes unused U.S.'s United Fruit Company lands; bombers based in Nicaragua; long-term result: 200,000 murdered
Panama1958TroopsFlag protests erupt into confrontation
Cuba1961Command operationCIA-directed exile invasion fails
Cuba1962Nuclear threat, navalBlockade during missile crisis; near-war with Soviet Union
Panama1964TroopsPanamanians shot for urging canal's return
Dominican Republic1965-66Troops, bombingMarines land during election campaign
Guatemala1966-67Command operationGreen Berets intervene against rebels
Chile1973Command operationCIA-backed coup ousts democratically elected Marxist president
El Salvador1981-92Command operation, troopsAdvisors, overflights aid anti-rebel war, soldiers briefly involved in hostage clash; long-term result: 75,000 murdered and destruction of popular movement
Nicaragua1981-90Command operation, navalCIA directs exile (Contra) invasions, plants harbor mines against revolution; result: 50,000 murdered
Honduras1982-90TroopsManeuvers help build bases near borders
Grenada1983-84Troops, bombingInvasion four years after revolution
Bolivia1987TroopsArmy assists raids on cocaine region
Panama1989Troops, bombingNationalist government ousted by 27,000 soldiers, leaders arrested, 2000+ killed
Haiti1994-95Troops, navalBlockade against military government; troops restore President Aristide to office three years after coup
Venezuela2002Command operationFailed coup attempt to remove left-populist president Hugo Chavez
Haiti2004-TroopsRemoval of democratically elected President Aristide; troops occupy country
Honduras2009Command operation

Support for coup that removed president Manuel Zelaya


CarlyK23
by New Member on Mar. 5, 2013 at 8:29 PM

Yay!

DestinyHLewis
by Destiny on Mar. 5, 2013 at 8:32 PM


Oh now he is blaming the US. They have already kicked out an AF Col. Attaché. The crazy didnt end with him kicking the bucket. He hand picked the next nutter. Lord....

Quoting survivorinohio:


Quoting Donna6503:

How soon do you think we will hear, that he was poison by the CIA. The man maybe dead; but, his reign of terror will continue throughout the region.

He was convinced that HAARP gave him the cancer, wasnt he?



MomOfOneCoolKid
by Member on Mar. 5, 2013 at 8:38 PM

 


Quoting krysstizzle:


 It sounds like you know your stuff. :)

Yeah, there has been a sorid history there, but for me, all in all, i do believe our gov't when it comes to international affairs. Maybe I *should* be more skeptical. Iraq did happen after all. :/

krysstizzle
by on Mar. 5, 2013 at 8:45 PM
1 mom liked this


Quoting MomOfOneCoolKid:



Quoting krysstizzle:


 It sounds like you know your stuff. :)

Yeah, there has been a sorid history there, but for me, all in all, i do believe our gov't when it comes to international affairs. Maybe I *should* be more skeptical. Iraq did happen after all. :/

I have to work on bringing my thinking back into an even keel, as I automatically assume some shady, underhanded stuff. It's a tricky balance, I think. 

I've done quite a bit of reading on a lot of things Latin American for various research projects, personal interest, etc. I fell like I hvae a pretty fair grasp of history and politics there, some countries (like Chile, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Bolivia, and Peru) better than others. But the middle east? Eastern Europe? Nope, barely scraping the surface of knowledge there, no way I could talk about political history of, say, Syria.  :)

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