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http://With%20Chávez%20celebrating%20his%20electoral%20victory%20in%20the%20tightest%20race%20he's%20ever%20had%20to%20face,%20it%20looks%20like%20the%20world%20will%20have%20another%20six%20years%20of%20Chavismo.%20He's%20the%20man%20who%20called%20George%20W.%20Bush%20"the%20devil%20himself"%20at%20the%202006%20U.N.%20General%20%20Assembly%20session,%20joked%20with%20Iran's%20Mahmoud%20Ahmadinejad%20about%20launching%20missiles%20at%20%20Washington,%20and%20sat%20for%20a%20famously%20flattering%20profile%20written%20by%20none%20other%20%20than%20Sean%20Penn.%20%20%20%20%20%20To%20his%20detractors,%20Hugo%20Chávez%20is%20a%20clownish%20%20authoritarian,%20willfully%20pursuing%20policies%20bound%20to%20turn%20Venezuela%20an%20economic%20%20basket%20case%20(and%20giving%20away%20a%20house%20or%20two%20to%20his%20supporters%20along%20the%20way).%20%20But Chávez  has%20always%20had%20a%20loyal%20following%20--%20and%20not%20just%20in%20his%20own%20country%20--%20%20who%20appreciate%20his%20willingness%20to%20stand%20up%20to%20the%20Washington%20consensus%20in%20his%20%20own%20colorful%20fashion,%20and%20who%20see%20him%20as%20a%20consistent%20champion%20of%20the%20poor%20and%20%20downtrodden.%20With%20that%20in%20mind,%20here's%20a%20brief%20look%20at%20the%20history%20of%20Chávez%20and%20his%20%20Bolivarian%20Revolution.%20%20%20%20%20%20Above,%20Chávez%20waves%20a%20Venezuelan%20flag%20while%20speaking%20%20%20to%20supporters%20after%20receiving%20news%20of%20his%20reelection%20in%20Caracas%20on%20%20%20Oct.%207.%20According%20to%20the%20National%20Electoral%20Council,%20Chávez%20was%20%20reelected%20with%2054.42%20percent%20of%20the%20votes,%20beating%20opposition%20candidate%20%20%20Henrique%20Capriles,%20who%20obtained%2044.97%20percent.

With Chávez celebrating his electoral victory in the tightest race he's ever had to face, it looks like the world will have another six years of Chavismo. He's the man who called George W. Bush "the devil himself" at the 2006 U.N. General Assembly session, joked with Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad about launching missiles at Washington, and sat for a famously flattering profile written by none other than Sean Penn.

To his detractors, Hugo Chávez is a clownish authoritarian, willfully pursuing policies bound to turn Venezuela an economic basket case (and giving away a house or two to his supporters along the way). But Chávez  has always had a loyal following -- and not just in his own country -- who appreciate his willingness to stand up to the Washington consensus in his own colorful fashion, and who see him as a consistent champion of the poor and downtrodden. With that in mind, here's a brief look at the history of Chávez and his Bolivarian Revolution.

Above, Chávez waves a Venezuelan flag while speaking to supporters after receiving news of his reelection in Caracas on Oct. 7. According to the National Electoral Council, Chávez was reelected with 54.42 percent of the votes, beating opposition candidate Henrique Capriles, who obtained 44.97 percent.

http://Chávez's%20supporters%20celebrate%20%20%20after%20receiving%20news%20of%20his%20reelection%20in%20Caracas%20on%20Oct.%207.

Chávez's supporters celebrate after receiving news of his reelection in Caracas on Oct. 7.

http://A%20crowd%20of%20Chávez's%20famously%20loyal%20followers%20waves%20Venezuelan%20flags%20in%20celebration%20of%20his%20reelection%20in%20Caracas%20on%20Oct.%207. 

A crowd of Chávez's famously loyal followers waves Venezuelan flags in celebration of his reelection in Caracas on Oct. 7. 

http://Chávez%20danced%20at%20his%20closing%20campaign,%20defying%20a%20wave%20of%20predictions%20that%20he%20was%20too%20ill%20from%20battling%20cancer%20to%20see%20the%20election%20through.%20It%20wasn't%20the%20first%20time%20Chávez%20defied%20expectations.%20He%20first%20rose%20to%20prominence%20after%20a%20failed%20coup%20in%20%201992.%20President%20Carlos%20Andrés%20Pérez%20had%20incurred%20the%20wrath%20of%20the%20population%20%20after%20implementing%20a%20series%20of%20austerity%20measures,%20including%20a%20gas%20price%20hike;%20%20when%20riots%20broke%20out,%20he%20called%20in%20the%20national%20guard,%20and%20hundreds%20were%20killed%20%20in%20the%20process. Chávez,%20a%20lieutenant%20colonel,%20led%20an%20attack%20by%20rebel%20%20paratroopers%20on%20the%20Presidential%20Palace%20of%20Mirafiores%20on%20Feb.%204,%201992,%20in%20a%20bid%20%20to%20oust Pérez.%20Here,%20soldiers%20loyal%20to Pérez and%20some%20journalists%20take%20cover%20in%20%20one%20of%20the%20entrance%20rooms%20of%20the%20palace%20during%20the%20assault.%20%20%20%20%20%20%20When%20the%20attempt%20failed,%20Chávez%20announced%20his%20defeat%20%20in%20a%20TV%20appearance%20that%20made%20him%20a%20hero%20overnight.%20He%20famously%20declared%20that%20%20he'd%20only%20been%20defeated%20"por%20ahora"%20--%20%20for%20now.

Chávez danced at his closing campaign, defying a wave of predictions that he was too ill from battling cancer to see the election through. It wasn't the first time Chávez defied expectations. He first rose to prominence after a failed coup in 1992. President Carlos Andrés Pérez had incurred the wrath of the population after implementing a series of austerity measures, including a gas price hike; when riots broke out, he called in the national guard, and hundreds were killed in the process. Chávez, a lieutenant colonel, led an attack by rebel paratroopers on the Presidential Palace of Mirafiores on Feb. 4, 1992, in a bid to oust Pérez. Here, soldiers loyal to Pérez and some journalists take cover in one of the entrance rooms of the palace during the assault.

When the attempt failed, Chávez announced his defeat in a TV appearance that made him a hero overnight. He famously declared that he'd only been defeated "por ahora" -- for now.

http://The%20aftermath%20of%20the%20attempted%20coup%20was%20messy.%20Chávez%20%20was%20first%20jailed%20for%20leading%20the%20coup%20attempt,%20then%20freed%20after%20charges%20again%20%20him%20were%20dropped%20in%201994%20by%20President%20Rafael%20Caldera,%20in%20fulfillment%20of%20a%20%20campaign%20promise.%20Pérez%20was%20impeached%20on%20%20charges%20of%20corruption,%20later%20put%20under%20house%20arrest,%20and%20eventually%20fled%20into%20%20exile.%20Above,%20Hugo%20Chávez%20talks%20to%20reporters%20on%20March%2026,%201994,%20shortly%20after%20%20he%20was%20freed%20from%20jail.

The aftermath of the attempted coup was messy. Chávez was first jailed for leading the coup attempt, then freed after charges again him were dropped in 1994 by President Rafael Caldera, in fulfillment of a campaign promise. Pérez was impeached on charges of corruption, later put under house arrest, and eventually fled into exile. Above, Hugo Chávez talks to reporters on March 26, 1994, shortly after he was freed from jail.

http://In%201998,%20Chávez%20decided%20to%20run%20for%20president.%20He'd%20%20previously%20considered%20elections%20to%20be%20a%20sham%20that%20would%20never%20allow%20him%20to%20win%20%20power,%20and%20he%20continued%20to%20advocate%20for%20a%20military%20option.%20However,%20in%20the%20%20build%20up%20to%20the%20election,%20the%20two%20parties%20that%20had%20consistently%20alternated%20%20power%20in%20Venezuela%20since%201958%20both%20stood%20accused%20of%20corruption%20and%20%20incompetence,%20while Chávez was%20a%20popular%20insurgent%20promising%20reform.%20He%20was%20%20persuaded%20in%201997%20to%20found%20a%20new%20party,%20the%20Fifth%20Republic%20Movement,%20to%20further%20%20the%20Bolivarian%20cause.%20Above,%20he%20and%20his%20%20wife%20Marisabel%20wave%20to%20supporters%20on%20July%2024,%201998,%20at%20the%20National%20Electoral%20%20Council%20in%20the%20capital%20of%20Caracas%20after%20he%20officially%20registered%20for%20the%20%20December%20election.

In 1998, Chávez decided to run for president. He'd previously considered elections to be a sham that would never allow him to win power, and he continued to advocate for a military option. However, in the build up to the election, the two parties that had consistently alternated power in Venezuela since 1958 both stood accused of corruption and incompetence, while Chávez was a popular insurgent promising reform. He was persuaded in 1997 to found a new party, the Fifth Republic Movement, to further the Bolivarian cause. Above, he and his wife Marisabel wave to supporters on July 24, 1998, at the National Electoral Council in the capital of Caracas after he officially registered for the December election.

http://Presidential%20candidate%20Chávez%20plays%20with%20his%20then-one-year-old%20%20daughter,%20Rosines,%20on%20Oct.%203,%201998,%20during%20a%20political%20rally%20in%20Caracas.%20%20Rosines%20was%20his%20only%20child%20from%20his%20second%20marriage%20to%20Marisabel,%20but Chávez had%20three%20other%20children%20from%20his%20first%20marriage%20to%20Nancy%20Colmenares,%20a%20woman%20%20from%20his%20hometown.%20Rosines Chávez,%20now%20a%20teenager,%20sparked%20a%20furor%20earlier%20this%20%20year%20when%20she%20posted%20a%20picture%20of%20herself%20posing%20with%20a%20fanned-out%20wad%20of%20U.S.%20%20currency%20--%20a%20highly%20restricted%20item%20for%20most%20Venezuelans%20--%20prompting%20some%20to%20%20dub%20her%20the%20"Paris%20Hilton%20de%20la%20revolución."

Presidential candidate Chávez plays with his then-one-year-old daughter, Rosines, on Oct. 3, 1998, during a political rally in Caracas. Rosines was his only child from his second marriage to Marisabel, but Chávez had three other children from his first marriage to Nancy Colmenares, a woman from his hometown. Rosines Chávez, now a teenager, sparked a furor earlier this year when she posted a picture of herself posing with a fanned-out wad of U.S. currency -- a highly restricted item for most Venezuelans -- prompting some to dub her the "Paris Hilton de la revolución."

Chávez won the 1999 election, and during the usual presidential oath he departed from the prepared words: "I swear before my people that upon this moribund constitution I will drive forth the necessary democratic transformations so that the new republic will have a Magna Carta befitting these new times," he said.

In 1999, he took the unusual step of calling for a public referendum on constitutional reforms that would allow him to convene a constituent assembly -- a step he saw as critical for breaking through what he saw as the stranglehold the two main parties in Venezuela had on power. The referendum was an enormous success for Chávez, with 88 percent of voters supporting his proposal.

Chávez's first term was relatively moderate and pro-capitalist. Above, the new president and New York Stock Exchange Chairman Richard Grasso wave to the gallery before the closing bell at the exchange on June 10, 1999.

http://Chávez%20was%20extremely%20popular%20during%20his%20first%20year%20%20in%20office,%20with%20his%20approval%20ratings%20at%20times%20reaching%2080%20percent.%20However,%20he%20%20began%20alienating%20voters%20as%20he%20turned%20toward%20an%20increasingly%20radical%20agenda.%20He%20%20began%20to%20pass%20laws%20by%20decree,%20and%20took%20steps%20that%20limited%20the%20independence%20of%20%20the%20press.%20He%20also%20began%20to%20develop%20a%20%20strong%20friendship%20with%20Cuban%20President%20Fidel%20Castro,%20describing%20him%20as%20a%20father%20%20figure.%20Above,%20Castro%20speaks%20with%20Chávez%20at%20Havana's%20international%20airport%20on%20%20Nov.%2015,%201999.

Chávez was extremely popular during his first year in office, with his approval ratings at times reaching 80 percent. However, he began alienating voters as he turned toward an increasingly radical agenda. He began to pass laws by decree, and took steps that limited the independence of the press. He also began to develop a strong friendship with Cuban President Fidel Castro, describing him as a father figure. Above, Castro speaks with Chávez at Havana's international airport on Nov. 15, 1999.

http://Chávez's%20hold%20on%20the%20presidency,%20however,%20was%20not%20as%20firm%20as%20he%20would%20have%20wanted.%20As%20his%20government%20shifted%20left,%20opposition%20grew,%20even%20%20forcing%20him%20from%20office%20for%20two%20days%20in%202002.%20The%20military%20restored%20him%20to%20%20power,%20and%20since%20then,%20Chávez%20has%20cracked%20%20down%20on%20oppositiong%20groups%20with%20draconian%20measures,%20drawing%20criticism%20from%20%20human%20rights%20groups.%20Oil%20--%20the%20backbone%20of%20Venezuela's%20economy%20--%20often%20dictated%20the%20country's%20foreign%20policy,%20and%20occasionally%20provoked%20regional%20tensions.%20Since%202000,%20Venezuela%20%20has%20been%20embroiled%20in%20a%20border%20dispute%20with%20the%20neighboring%20country%20of%20Guyana,%20with%20large%20oil%20reserves%20%20in%20the%20balance.%20Above,%20Chávez%20points%20to%20a%20%20map%20of%20South%20America%20making%20his%20case%20on%20Venezuela's%20claim%20during%20%20a%20press%20conference%20on%20Aug.%2030,%202000.

Chávez's hold on the presidency, however, was not as firm as he would have wanted. As his government shifted left, opposition grew, even forcing him from office for two days in 2002. The military restored him to power, and since then, Chávez has cracked down on oppositiong groups with draconian measures, drawing criticism from human rights groups. Oil -- the backbone of Venezuela's economy -- often dictated the country's foreign policy, and occasionally provoked regional tensions. Since 2000, Venezuela has been embroiled in a border dispute with the neighboring country of Guyana, with large oil reserves in the balance. Above, Chávez points to a map of South America making his case on Venezuela's claim during a press conference on Aug. 30, 2000.

http://Oil%20also%20became%20the%20flashpoint%20for%20one%20%20of%20Chávez's%20first%20conflicts%20with%20the%20United%20States.%20The%20Venezuelan%20president%20%20soon%20began%20to%20rock%20the%20boat%20in%20OPEC,%20pushing%20for%20stricter%20enforcement%20of%20trade%20%20rules%20and%20higher%20oil%20price%20targets.%20Efforts%20to%20raise%20the%20price%20of%20oil%20and%20threats%20to%20use%20an%20alternative%20%20currency%20standard%20pitted%20the%20Venezuelan%20%20president%20against%20U.S.interests.%20Above,%20Chávez%20hugs%20Saudi%20Crown%20Prince%20%20Abdullah%20during%20the%20official%20photo%20session%20at%20the%20end%20of%20the%20OPEC%20II%20Summit%20of%20oil%20producing%20%20countries%20in%20Caracas%20on%20Sept.%2028,%202000.

Oil also became the flashpoint for one of Chávez's first conflicts with the United States. The Venezuelan president soon began to rock the boat in OPEC, pushing for stricter enforcement of trade rules and higher oil price targets. Efforts to raise the price of oil and threats to use an alternative currency standard pitted the Venezuelan president against U.S.interests. Above, Chávez hugs Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah during the official photo session at the end of the OPEC II Summit of oil producing countries in Caracas on Sept. 28, 2000.

http://The%20opposition%20to%20Chávez%20%20coalesced%20when%20the%20president%20attempted%20to%20institute%20a%20set%20of%20education%20reforms.%20%20Chávez%20was%20accused%20of%20attempting%20to%20indoctrinate%20students%20with%20leftist%20%20ideology,%20via%20new%20textbooks,%20special%20schools%20with%20"Bolivarian"%20curricula,%20and%20%20a%20new%20decree%20that%20allowed%20the%20Ministry%20of%20Education%20to%20fire%20teachers%20and%20%20administrators%20based%20on%20information%20their%20supervisors%20turned%20over%20to%20the%20%20government.%20Protesters%20turned%20out%20in%20the%20thousands.%20They%20were%20joined%20by%20%20striking%20unions,%20who%20objected%20to%20Chávez's%20appointment%20of%20political%20allies%20to%20%20top%20posts.%20During%20a%20particularly%20massive%20protest%20on%20April%2011,%202002,%20in%20which%20%20more%20than%20a%20dozen%20were%20killed,%20military%20officers%20briefly%20detained%20Chávez%20and%20%20took%20him%20out%20of%20Caracas,%20even%20going%20so%20far%20as%20to%20install%20a%20transitional%20%20government.%20But%20within%20days,%20counter%20protests%20demanding%20Chávez's%20return%20had%20%20begun,%20and%20he%20was%20returned%20to%20power%20on%20April%2014.%20There%20%20have%20been%20rumours%20of%20CIA%20participation%20in%20the%20coup%20ever%20since. %20%20%20%20%20%20Although%20Chávez%20%20moderated%20some%20of%20his%20more%20radical%20policies,%20opposition%20continued.%20In%202004,%20a%20nationwide%20referendum%20to%20recall%20Chávez%20failed.%20Above,%20a%20demonstrator%20approaches%20a%20National%20Guard%20armored%20personnel%20carrier%20%20during%20clashes%20with%20anti-government%20activists%20on%20March%201,%202004,%20in%20Caracas.

The opposition to Chávez coalesced when the president attempted to institute a set of education reforms. Chávez was accused of attempting to indoctrinate students with leftist ideology, via new textbooks, special schools with "Bolivarian" curricula, and a new decree that allowed the Ministry of Education to fire teachers and administrators based on information their supervisors turned over to the government. Protesters turned out in the thousands. They were joined by striking unions, who objected to Chávez's appointment of political allies to top posts. During a particularly massive protest on April 11, 2002, in which more than a dozen were killed, military officers briefly detained Chávez and took him out of Caracas, even going so far as to install a transitional government. But within days, counter protests demanding Chávez's return had begun, and he was returned to power on April 14. There have been rumours of CIA participation in the coup ever since. 

Although Chávez moderated some of his more radical policies, opposition continued. In 2004, a nationwide referendum to recall Chávez failed. Above, a demonstrator approaches a National Guard armored personnel carrier during clashes with anti-government activists on March 1, 2004, in Caracas.

http://A%20man%20passes%20by%20pro-Chávez%20graffiti%20on%20%20Aug.%2014,%202004,%20in%20Caracas.%20Once%20again,%20oil%20was%20key%20to%20Chávez's%20prospects%20--%20the%20%20embattled%20president%20went%20into%20the%20referendum%20bolstered%20by%20high%20oil%20prices,%20and%20%20analysts%20worried%20his%20political%20demise%20could%20destabilize%20markets.%20After%20%20winning%20a%20second%20term%20in%202006,%20he%20was%20granted%20special%20executive%20powers,%20which%20%20he%20used%20to%20nationalize%20companies%20and%20reduce%20the%20autonomy%20of%20the%20%20country's%20largest%20commercial%20asset,%20its%20state-owned%20oil%20company.

A man passes by pro-Chávez graffiti on Aug. 14, 2004, in Caracas. Once again, oil was key to Chávez's prospects -- the embattled president went into the referendum bolstered by high oil prices, and analysts worried his political demise could destabilize markets. After winning a second term in 2006, he was granted special executive powers, which he used to nationalize companies and reduce the autonomy of the country's largest commercial asset, its state-owned oil company.

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Chávez and his children Hugo, Rosa Virginia, and Maria Gabriela celebrate in the Palace of Miraflores on Aug. 16, 2004, after news broke that Chávez had won the referendum. At the end of the day, 58 percent of Venezuelans voted to keep him as president.

Already friends with Fidel Castro, after the referendum, Chávez began making allies of other notable anti-Western leaders around the world, including Syria's Bashar al-Assad. Here, the reinstated president and Libyan leader Muammar al-Qaddafi shake hands during a meeting in the Libyan capital of Tripoli on Nov. 24, 2004. Chávez had arrived in Tripoli on a tour of several oil-producing nations, and received a human rights award from the Libyan despot. Years later, when rebels threatened Qaddafi's grip on power during the Arab Spring, Chávez stood by his old ally: He refered to Qaddafi as a "friend of mine" and offered to mediate between the regime and rebel forces.

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Chávez also used his oil reserves to poke his longtime antagonists in the United States in the winter of 2005. In another political stunt, he offered subsidized oil to low-income American families, a charity he has continued since. Above, Massachusetts resident Louisa Rodriguez wears a shirt with a picture of the Venezuelan president as Rep. Bill Delahunt (D-MA) and Felix Rodriquez, chief executive officer of CITGO, announce a plan for a subsidiary of the Venezuelan state-owned oil company to provide heavily discounted home heating oil in Quincy, Massachusetts. Venezuela is the fifth-largest oil exporter in the world, and supplies about 13 percent of daily oil imports to the United States.

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Chávez won a landslide re-election in 2006, during which he promised to launch an era of "new democracy." Above, a Chávez supporter holds a poster celebrating the victory on Dec. 3, 2006, in Caracas.

Supporters set off salvos of thunderous fireworks as the controversial leftist leader proclaimed victory from the balcony of the presidential palace in Caracas. "Today, a new era has started, with the expansion of the revolution, of a revolutionary democracy," Chávez told the cheering crowd.

http://In%20his%20second%20term,%20Chávez%20continued%20to%20%20develop%20friendships%20with%20anti-American%20leaders.%20Above,%20Iranian%20President%20Mahmoud%20%20Ahmadinejad%20welcomes%20his%20Venezuelan%20counterpart%20to%20Tehran%20on%20July%201,%202007.%20%20Chávez%20said%20he%20arrived%20in%20Iran%20to%20meet%20his%20"ideological%20brother"%20Ahmadinejad,%20%20following%20visits%20to%20Russia%20and%20Belarus.%20Aside%20from%20their%20anti-American%20stance,%20%20the%20two%20countries%20focused%20on%20cooperation%20in%20the%20energy%20sector.

In his second term, Chávez continued to develop friendships with anti-American leaders. Above, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad welcomes his Venezuelan counterpart to Tehran on July 1, 2007. Chávez said he arrived in Iran to meet his "ideological brother" Ahmadinejad, following visits to Russia and Belarus. Aside from their anti-American stance, the two countries focused on cooperation in the energy sector.

http://Chávez%20also%20traveled%20to%20Syria%20to%20meet%20President%20%20Bashar%20al-Assad.%20Estimates%20from%20the%20Venezuela%20Institute%20of%20Statistics%20claim%20%20that%20%20hundreds%20of%20thousands%20of%20people%20of%20Syrian%20origin%20live%20in%20%20Venezuela,%20providing%20a%20natural%20link%20%20between%20the%20two%20countries.%20Above,%20Chávez%20gestures%20as%20he%20addresses%20crowds%20in%20the%20%20city%20of%20Sweida%20on%20Sept.%204,%202009.

Chávez also traveled to Syria to meet President Bashar al-Assad. Estimates from the Venezuela Institute of Statistics claim that hundreds of thousands of people of Syrian origin live in Venezuela, providing a natural link between the two countries. Above, Chávez gestures as he addresses crowds in the city of Sweida on Sept. 4, 2009.

http://Heads%20of%20state%20weren't%20the%20%20only%20foreigners%20Chávez%20was%20interested%20in%20meeting.%20Above,%20the%20Venezuelan%20%20president%20talks%20to%20his%20guest,%20British%20top%20model%20Naomi%20Campbell,%20before%20a%20%20ceremony%20at%20a%20theater%20in%20Caracas%20on%20Oct.%2031,%202007. 

Heads of state weren't the only foreigners Chávez was interested in meeting. Above, the Venezuelan president talks to his guest, British top model Naomi Campbell, before a ceremony at a theater in Caracas on Oct. 31, 2007. 

http://Never%20one%20to%20pass%20up%20a%20photo%20op,%20%20Chávez%20prepares%20to%20toss%20a%20ball%20before%20a%20softball%20match%20with%20professional%20%20Venezuelan%20players%20in%20Caracas%20on%20Feb.%2011,%202010.%20The%20president%20has%20also%20hosted%20a%20talk%20%20show,%20Alo%20Presidente,%20since%20shortly%20after%20he%20took%20office.%20Unscripted%20and%20airing%20%20on%20Sunday%20mornings,%20the%20show%20doesn't%20have%20a%20set%20duration%20--%20often%20taping%20for%20hours%20--%20and%20Chavez%20frequently%20wings%20it,%20setting%20policy%20on%20air%20and%20without%20consulting%20government%20ministers. 

Never one to pass up a photo op, Chávez prepares to toss a ball before a softball match with professional Venezuelan players in Caracas on Feb. 11, 2010. The president has also hosted a talk show, Alo Presidente, since shortly after he took office. Unscripted and airing on Sunday mornings, the show doesn't have a set duration -- often taping for hours -- and Chavez frequently wings it, setting policy on air and without consulting government ministers. 

http://Still%20for%20all%20his%20tumultous%20political%20career,%20it%20may%20%20be%20illness%20rather%20than%20his%20political%20rivals%20that%20finally%20brings%20Chávez%20down.%20%20On%20June%2030,%202011,%20the%20president%20delivered%20a%20speech%20from%20Havana%20confirming%20that%20%20he'd%20had%20a%20cancerous%20tumor%20removed,%20and%20shortly%20thereafter%20his%20health%20began%20to%20%20visibly%20decline.%20Above, Chávez delivers%20%20a%20speech%20upon%20landing%20at%20Caracas'%20Maiquetia%20international%20airport%20on%20March%2016,%20%202012,%20after%20spending%20three%20weeks%20in%20Cuba%20where%20he%20underwent%20cancer%20surgery.


Still for all his tumultous political career, it may be illness rather than his political rivals that finally brings Chávez down. On June 30, 2011, the president delivered a speech from Havana confirming that he'd had a cancerous tumor removed, and shortly thereafter his health began to visibly decline. Above, Chávez delivers a speech upon landing at Caracas' Maiquetia international airport on March 16, 2012, after spending three weeks in Cuba where he underwent cancer surgery.

http://As%20%20Chávez%20was%20initially%20secretive%20about%20his%20illness,%20the%20state%20of%20his%20health%20%20prompted%20great%20speculation%20both%20within%20and%20outside%20Venezuela.%20Chávez%20underwent%20%20radiation%20therapy%20in%20Cuba%20in%20March%202012,%20and%20only%20resumed%20telephone%20contact%20with%20top%20%20officials%20on%20April%2023%20--%20after%20days%20of%20silence.%20When%20he%20finally%20spoke,%20he%20announced%20that%20he%20planned%20to%20return%20%20to%20Caracas%20on%20April%2026,%20adding%20that%20he%20still%20had%20to%20take%20another%20trip%20back%20to%20Cuba%20to%20continue%20his%20treatment.%20Above,%20a%20woman%20walks%20by%20a%20pro-%20Chávez%20mural%20on%20April%20%2024,%202012.

As Chávez was initially secretive about his illness, the state of his health prompted great speculation both within and outside Venezuela. Chávez underwent radiation therapy in Cuba in March 2012, and only resumed telephone contact with top officials on April 23 -- after days of silence. When he finally spoke, he announced that he planned to return to Caracas on April 26, adding that he still had to take another trip back to Cuba to continue his treatment. Above, a woman walks by a pro- Chávez mural on April 24, 2012.

Undaunted, Chávez has declared since that his illness has prompted him to embrace a "more diverse, more reflective and multi-faceted" view of life. That perspective, however, hasn't meant the end to high-profile political moves: In the past year, he has cried in a church during a public mass, declared he would nationalize Venezuela's gold industry, and called on the country's private sector to get behind his Bolivarian Revolution. Above Chávez plays an electric bass guitar during a political rally in Caracas on Sept. 19, 2012.

http://Despite%20%20his%20health%20problems,%20after%20more%2020%20years%20of%20political%20life,%20Chávez%20is%20%20currently%20seeking%20a%20third%20six-year%20term.%20Some%20polls%20place%20him%20ahead%20of%20%20rival%20Henrique%20Capriles%20in%20the%20Oct.%207%20vote.%20Above,%20he%20delivers%20a%20speech%20during%20%20a%20campaign%20rally%20in%20Acarigua,%20northwestern%20Venezuela,%20on%20Sept.%2024,%202012.

Despite his health problems, after more 20 years of political life, Chávez is currently seeking a third six-year term. Some polls place him ahead of rival Henrique Capriles in the Oct. 7 vote. Above, he delivers a speech during a campaign rally in Acarigua, northwestern Venezuela, on Sept. 24, 2012.

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