Chavez dead at 58 - WLTZ 38 | Columbus Georgia Regional News & Community

Chavez dead at 58

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By Elizabeth Corridan (CNN)- In February of 1992, then lieutenant colonel Hugo Chavez led a failed coup attempt against Venezuelan President Carlos Andres Perez.

Chavez, surrendered .

After being released from prison two years later, Chavez formed a political opposition group.

He ran for president in 1998, campaigning as the candidate of the people.

At 44-years-old, Chavez was elected as the youngest president in Venezuelan history.

Towards the end of his first year in power, Venezuelans voted in favor of a referendum for a new constitution proposed by Chavez.

Seven months later he was re-elected to the presidency for a six-year term under the new constitution.

Stability would not last long.

In 2002 a national economic crisis stirred a week of demonstrations.

Chavez resigned, but returned to the presidency two days later.

In August of 2004, the opposition tried to end his Presidency , but Venezuelans voted overwhelmingly to keep him in power.

As Chavez espoused a doctrine he called "twenty-first century socialism," he hardened his rhetoric against the United States.

His relationship with leaders like Cuba's Fidel Castro grew closer.

In Spanish: "Yesterday the devil was here"  

In September of 2006, at a speech in the United Nations, he called then U.S. President George Bush "the devil."

"Relations with the US are bad, terrible, we would love to improve them. With this guy we can't even have a conversation! He walks throwing stones, the Texan who shoots from the hip with a machine gun."

Three months later Chavez was reelected to another 6-year term.,

His power consolidated, Chavez embarked on a series of daring measures.

In 2007, Chavez announced that Venezuela would pull out of both the world bank and the International Monetary Fund.

His government took  control of the last remaining privately run oil fields.

Later Chavez openly courted the friendship of Middle Eastern leaders like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran...

And Mahmud Abbas of Palestine, in an act of defiance against the international community, and especially the United States.

In June of 2011 Chavez underwent surgery in Cuba to remove a cancerous tumor from his pelvis.  He returned to Venezuela vowing to win "the battle for life."

But Chavez' health continued to plague him in his final years.

He returned to Cuba in late 2012 for more surgery and radiation, just weeks after he was elected to a sixth-term as president.

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