Powerful Hugo Chávez’s Toxic Legacy Haunts Venezuela

By:  Leonardo Vivas

Hugo Chávez, Venezuela's fiery leader, died of cancer in 2013 after 14 years in power. 

Chávez claimed to be born in poverty, disputed by some, but his family's status improved. 

His legacy is shrouded in myth and speculation. He identified with the underprivileged and pursued a military career.

Before Venezuela's troubled times, Chávez and fellow officers formed a secret sect in the army, similar to past military disturbances.

On February 4, 1992, military tanks ousted the elected president, ending democracy.

Chávez was captured after the failed coup, but it marked the end for Pérez and made Chávez famous.

In 1993, Venezuela elected Rafael Caldera as an independent president, who then freed military men involved in coups.

©Prensa Rafael Caldera/ wikipedia.org

Chávez proposed changing the constitution, captivating the poor with polarizing rhetoric and populism.