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Profile: Hugo Chavez Frias


Positions that Hugo Chavez Frias has held:

  • President of Venezuela




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Hugo Chavez Frias actively participated in the following events:


1998-2002      US-Venezuela (1948-2005)

       Chavez challenges the oligarchs' control over land and petroleum and introduces reforms aimed at improving the social welfare of the population.
He attempts to renegotiate a 60-year old royalty agreement which pays as little as one percent to Venezuela, but which generates huge profits for oil companies such as Philips Petroleum and ExxonMobil. He also confirms the nationalization of the oil industry [BBC, 4/16/2002; The Guardian, 1/17/2003; Vheadlines, 12/6/2002; Foreign Policy in Focus, 4/17/2002; The New Statesman, 3/11/2002]
He pushes significant land reforms. At this time, roughly two percent of the population controls sixty percent of the land while eighty percent lives in poverty. [BBC, 4/16/2002; The Guardian, 1/17/2003; The New Statesman, 3/11/2002; Foreign Policy in Focus, 4/17/2002; Vheadlines, 12/6/2002]
Under his leadership, Venezuela establishes a new progressive constitution. [BBC, 11/20/1999]
Chavez succeeds in lowering infant mortality rates. [Commondreams, 4/12/2002; Foreign Policy in Focus, 4/17/2002]
Under his leadership, the government passes 49 laws which not only bring forward land reform, but also improve both the fairness and efficiency of the tax system, guarantee women's and indigenous people's rights, and introduce free healthcare and education up to university level. [The News Statesman, 4/29/2002]
People and organizations involved: Hugo Chavez Frias, Philips Petroleum, ExxonMobil

April 20-22, 2001      Haiti Coup

       With the exception of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, 34 heads of state attending the OAS summit, pledge to direct their “Ministers to ensure that negotiations of the FTAA [Free Trade Area of Americas] Agreement are concluded no later than January 2005 and to seek its entry into force as soon as possible thereafter, but in any case, no later than December 2005.” [Haitian Times, 4/18/2001; Haiti Weekly News, 5/2/2001 Sources: Declaration of Quebec City] According to an unnamed senior offical at the US State Department, the declaration also lays the groundwork for creating a legal pretext for blocking aid to countries. [London Review of Books, 4/15/2004; US Congress, 7/15/2003] The section of the declaration discussing the OAS's commitment to democracy reads: “... any unconstitutional alteration or interruption of the democratic order in a state of the Hemisphere constitutes an insurmountable obstacle to the participation of that state's government in the Summit of the Americas process....To enhance our ability to respond to these threats, we instruct our Foreign Ministers to prepare, in the framework of the next General Assembly of the OAS, an Inter-American Democratic Charter to reinforce OAS instruments for the active defense of representative democracy.” [Haiti Progres, 4/25/2001 Sources: Declaration of Quebec City] During the summit, before the final declaration is made, Haiti is singled out as the region's problem democracy. “Democracy in certain countries is still fragile,” Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chr´┐Żtien says, “We are particularly concerned about the case of Haiti. We note the problems which continue to limit the democratic, political, economic and social development of this country.” [Haiti Progres, 4/25/2001] Press reports note the ant-Aristide atmosphere. The BBC reports, “Correspondents say the presence of Mr. Aristide at the summit has been an embarrassment to some of the leaders, who agreed that only democratic countries would be included in the Free Trade Zone of the Americas.” [BBC, 4/22/2001] The New York Post similarly reccounts, “Diplomats said the expressions of concern about Haiti were to make sure that Aristide can't use his presence at the summit... to claim he has international support.” [New York Post, 4/23/2001] And according to Reuters, “the Summit decided to comment on Haiti because leaders did not want Aristide to return home in triumph.” [Haiti Progres, 4/25/2001; New York Post, 4/23/2001]
People and organizations involved: Organization of American States (OAS), Hugo Chavez Frias, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, Jean Chretien  Additional Info 

December 28, 2001      US-Venezuela (1948-2005)

       The San Francisco Examiner publishes an article speculating that the US may be planning a coup in Venezuela. The article also notes that Chavez has reduced inflation from 40 percent to 12 percent, generated economic growth of 4 percent, and increased primary school enrollment by 1 million students. [Foreign Policy in Focus, 4/17/2002; San Francisco Examiner, 12/28/2001]
People and organizations involved: Hugo Chavez Frias

April 11, 2002      US-Venezuela (1948-2005)

       Chavez is overthrown in a military coup reminiscent of previous CIA-coups in Guatemala, Chile, Brazil etc. The US welcomes the coup and congratulates the military, while denying involvement. The coup collapses after two days, however, and Chavez returns to power. The BBC notes: “Since his election, President Chavez has been a thorn in the side of the United States—which gets much of its oil from Venezuela. In particular, US officials were angered because Mr Chavez was selling cheap oil to Fidel Castro in Cuba. Mr. Chavez had also condemned US bombing of civilians in Afghanistan.” [BBC, 4/14/2002] Otto J. Reich, the US' assistant secretary for Western Hemisphere Affairs, is in contact with Mr. Chavez's successor on the very day he takes over. The Bush administration claims Reich was pleading with him not to dissolve the National Assembly. [New York Times, 4/17/02] The Pentagon also admits that Rogelio Pardo-Maurer, the Defense Department official responsible for Latin America, discussed the proposed coup in Washington with Gen. Lucas Romero Rincon, chief of the Venezuelan military command. Maurer spent the 1980s working in Washington as the chief spokesman for the Nicaraguan Contras. [Columbian Journal, 6/10/2002; The Guardian, 11/28/2001; World Policy Institute, 4/9/2001; National Catholic Reporter, 8/10/2001; Yellow Times, 5/7/2002] It is revealed that senior Bush administration aides, including assistant Secretary of State Otto Reich and White House advisor Elliott Abrams (both key players in the Reagan administrations covert network for supporting the contra terrorist war on Nicaragua in the 1980s), had met repeatedly in Washington with the coup's organizers. [The Observer, 4/21/2002] Elliott Abrams is also known for his role in the 1973 coup in Chile, as well as his sponsorship of death squads in Argentina, El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala. [Yellow Times, 5/7/2002] The Washington Post reports: “Members of the country's diverse opposition had been visiting the U.S. Embassy here in recent weeks, hoping to enlist U.S. help in toppling Chavez. The visitors included active and retired members of the military, media leaders and opposition politicians.” Administration spokesmen insist however that these officials repeatedly urged the coup plotters not to take extra-constitutional action. [The Washington Post, 4/13/2002; CounterPunch, 4/14/2002; Monthly Review, 9/2002] A Defense Department official claims the administration's message was less categorical.“We were not discouraging people,” the official said. “We were sending informal, subtle signals that we don't like this guy. We didn't say, ‘No, don't you dare,’ and we weren't advocates saying, ‘Here's some arms; we'll help you overthrow this guy.’ We were not doing that.” [Foreign Policy in Focus, 6/2002; BBC, 4/16/2002]
People and organizations involved: Lucas Romero Rinconh, Rogelio Pardo-Maurer, Elliott Abrams, Otto Juan Reich, Hugo Chavez Frias, Fidel Castro

April 16, 2002      US-Venezuela (1948-2005)

       Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez alleges that “a plane with US registration numbers was at an army airstrip on Venezuela's Orchila Island, one of five places he was held in captivity during his brief removal from power,” reports the BBC. [BBC, 4/16/2002]
People and organizations involved: Hugo Chavez Frias

April 18, 2002      US-Venezuela (1948-2005)

       US President George W. Bush warns Chavez to draw a lesson from the unrest that his country has just experienced and insists that he commit himself to democracy. “If there's lessons to be learned, it's important that he learn them,” Bush says in a meeting with Colombian President Andres Pastrana. [BBC, 4/18/2002]
People and organizations involved: Andres Pastrana, George W. Bush, Hugo Chavez Frias

May 14, 2002      US-Venezuela (1948-2005)

       Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez claims he has proof of US military involvement in the events that took place in April, claiming “he has radar images showing a foreign military vessel, a plane and a helicopter violating the country's waters and air space during the failed coup,” reports the BBC. [Foreign Policy in Focus, 6/2002; BBC, 5/14/2002]
People and organizations involved: Hugo Chavez Frias

October 6, 2002      US-Venezuela (1948-2005)

       Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez claims to have foiled another coup plot to remove him from office. [BBC, 10/6/2002]
People and organizations involved: Hugo Chavez Frias

October 20, 2002      US-Venezuela (1948-2005)

       Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez claims to have escaped an assassination attempt while returning from a trip to Europe. [BBC, 10/20/02]
People and organizations involved: Hugo Chavez Frias

January 30, 2005      US-Venezuela (1948-2005)

       Chavez's government signs a deal with China to expand its oil market into China in search of more lucrative deals. [Bloomberg, 1/2/2005]
People and organizations involved: Hugo Chavez Frias, Scott McClellan

February 1, 2005      US-Venezuela (1948-2005)

       President Hugo Chavez announces that the Venezuela controlled oil company, Petroleos de Venezuela, may sell eight oil refineries owned by US companies. Four of them are owned by Citgo Corporation and are currently used to refine Venezuela's heavy, high-sulfur crude oil for use in the US. This move is part of a strategy to reduce Venezuelan dependency on US oil markets. At his speech in Argentina, Hugo Chavez describes Venezuelan dependency: “Not one Venezuelan works at these refineries ... they don't give us one cent of profit ... they don't pay taxes in Venezuela ... this is economic imperialism.” Ivan Orellana, Venezuela's representative to OPEC says that any “contracts found to be not in the national interest would be renegotiated.” [Bloomberg, 1/2/2005] The Venezuelan oil industry currently exports half of its oil to the US. [New York Times, 1/25/2005] This latest move is an indication to the Bush administration that the Chavez government is willing to test their relationship. US officials are worried about the implications of the sale for the American economy as 15 percent of US oil imports currently come from Venezuela. White House spokesman Scott McClellan says, “we have serious concerns. We have made our concerns known when it comes to President Chavez....” [Bloomberg, 1/2/2005]
People and organizations involved: Hugo Chavez Frias

February 20, 2005      US-Venezuela (1948-2005)

       President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela accuses the US government of planning “new aggressions” against him. The aggressions, Chavez describes, include another attempted coup and an assassination attempt. Chavez warns US president George W. Bush that if an assassination attempt was successful the people of Latin America would assume that democratic rules “no longer apply.” Chavez warns that another consequence of his assassination would be an “interruption of the flow of oil to the US.” Chavez asks that Bush consider these consequences before making a decision about his assassination. [Venezuela Analysis, 2/20/2005]
People and organizations involved: Hugo Chavez Frias

March 4, 2005      US-Venezuela (1948-2005)

       President Hugo Chavez declares that the US-sponsored project, the Free Trade Agreement for the Americas (FTAA), is dead. Chavez says that a new model will be put in place to increase trade between Venezuela, Argentina, and Brazil regardless of the US government's position. Chavez says that eventually a new organization similar to NATO will be established for the countries of South America. [VHeadline, 3/4/2005]
People and organizations involved: Hugo Chavez Frias

'Passive' participant in the following events:

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