On February 4, 1992, Chavez and over 2,300 young soldiers rose against President Carlos Perez (1989-1993), who implemented neoliberal economic policies that worsened the people’s living conditions. The uprising failed, so Chavez spent two years in the San Francisco de Yare prison.
In 1994, he left prison as part of a political agreement between President Rafael Caldera (1994-1999) and leftist sectors. Chavez then founded the Movement for the Fifth Republic (MVR), a party with which he won the 1998 presidential elections.
Once in power, he called a constituent referendum that was approved by over 81 percent of the voters and resulted in the formation of the Bolivarian constitution. Chavez also promoted an agrarian reform against the landowners. Through this policy, over 10.2 million land hectares were placed under the management of socialist enterprises and farmers.
During his tenure, he also issued a new Hydrocarbons Law, which allowed Venezuela to exercise full sovereignty over its oil resources, and the Fisheries Law, which improved the working conditions of artisanal fishermen.
— ALVINBOTES DEPUTY MINISTER (#DIRCO) (@alvinbotes)
July 28, 2021
In 2003, Chavez implemented the National Mission System (NMS), a set of development programs which is still in force. Amongst them, the Barrio Adentro mission has improved the primary health care system, the Robinson program has schooled up to sixth grade all citizens, and the Sucre mission has opened new university quotas.
Chavez died on March 5, 2013, in Caracas city, after a nearly two-year battle against cancer. In referring to the Bolivarian leader, President Nicolas Maduro stated that his ideas and projects outlined the path for the independent development of Venezuela.
During his lifetime, Chavez's struggle was embodied in projects for the construction of the "Great Latin American Homeland" such as the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America - People's Trade Agreement (ALBA-TCP), the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR), the Petrocaribe oil alliance, and the multinational broadcaster TeleSUR.
In Latin America, the Venezuelan leader became a historical figure and a symbol of the endless fight against social injustice. As he once stated, "I advocate peace, understanding, and true integration".