Hugo Chavez. The President of Venezuela has turned out to be quiet a foe of the United States . He has managed to be friends with Iran and Cuba, and form a “We hate US” alliance. He is getting more vocal in opposing the US and its allies, bankrolled by the oil money.
During his speech in the United Nations on 20 September, he called President Bush “the devil” and day after the speech visited
Harlem in New York to promote his subsidized heating oil for the poor. We may choose to ignore him as a nuisance but Chavez has shown from his skilful manipulations of foreign policy and economy that he is here to stay.
So who is Hugo Chavez? Born in July 28, 1954 as Hufo Rafael Chavez Farias, Chavez is a career military officer. Critic of globalization and foreign policy, he has called for greater unity and economic cooperation between the poorest countries of the world.
After launching a failed coup in 1992 to depose Carlos Andres Perez, Hugo Chavez founded the Fifth Republic movement. He was elected President in 1998 and won reelection in 2000. Very popular among the poor of the country, Chavez was elected with 56% of the votes.
Hugo Chavez is seen as an unorthodox president. He does not care much about the criticism his policies get. He has launched massive reforms in the country , especially in the oil industry. He says his aim is to insure that poor of the country benefit for the nation’s natural resources. This step has earned him both praise and criticism. Foreign companies based Venezuela in say that Chavez’s reform programs might drive away foreign investors and some have expressed fears that the reforms may drive up the price of oil. But Chavez, the ever confident man, has shown little concern.
Named one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people, Chavez has been married twice and his four daughters. He is separated from his second wife, a journalist.
While the international community remains divided on its opinion on Hugo Chavez, majority of people of Venezuela are behind their President. Yes there have been protests against him after his plan for nationalizing the oil industry, but it has been reported that the protestors are largely the White minority who are economically well off than the majority non-whites.
The Whites in are decedents of the Spanish conquerors. They are economically well off and have long had strong presence in the influential positions in the Government and industry. They see the reforms planned by Chavez as something contrary to their benefit. But the majority of people, who are non-white and are poor, do support the President.
Is he dangerous to US, as the media has portrayed him to be? I don’t think so. His antics are mostly for attention grabbing purpose and to show his people that he not some push-over. He is an intelligent man who knows very well that picking up serious fights with US could mean very few days left in office.