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Take Me to Your Leader: Venezuela

Hugo Chavez, 53, is the president of Venezuela. A while back, he addressed the UN General Assembly the day after George W. Bush declaring that the room stank of sulphur because "the devil" had been there. I wasn't quite sure if he was joking or serious, but it looks like Chavez is serious about his anti-American sentiment.


Chavez's irreverent and revolutionary positions have made him internationally controversial. Recently, he made the news for a failed referendum, his first major electoral defeat. The president hoped to centralize his power and remove term limits. Voters rejected the proposal by a slim margin.

Chavez, a former soldier, came to power in 1998 on the backs of soaring oil revenues and class unrest. As president he has nationalized major companies, asserted government control over oil projects, withdrawn from the International Monetary Fund and represented anti-American attitudes in Latin America. He has also cracked down on the freedom of the press often dominating television with his long-winded national addresses.

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  • The New York Times Topic Page

  • Time Magazine Profile
  • Hugo Chavez vs. America
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