10 Things You Didn't Know About Hugo Chávez

Chávez has been president of Venezuela since 1999,


1. Hugo Rafael Chávez Frías was born July 28, 1954, in Sabaneta, Venezuela.

2. During his youth, Chávez dreamed of becoming a famous baseball player. His hero was Venezuelan pitcher Néstor Isaías "Látigo" Chávez (no relation). He instead enrolled in a military academy to become a soldier.

3. In February 1992, Chávez organized a failed coup against then President Carlos Andrés Pérez. Chávez spent more than two years in prison before being granted a pardon.

4. In December 1998, Chávez won Venezuela's presidential election with 56 percent of the vote.

5. When Chávez visited the United States in June 1999, he threw the opening pitch at a Mets baseball game and rang the closing bell at the New York Stock Exchange.

6. On April 11, 2002, Chávez was briefly ousted by an attempted coup. He regained the presidency three days later and accused the United States of backing the failed coup.

7. In 2007, a constitutional referendum failed that would have allowed for Chávez to be re-elected infinitely. In 2008, a second referendum vote ending presidential term limits passed.

8. Chávez hosts a weekly live television program called Aló Presidente (Hello President), in which he talks about his political ideas, interviews guests, and makes jokes.

9. His father, Hugo de los Reyes Chávez, served as the governor of the state of Barinas from 1998 to 2008. The elder Chávez was succeeded by his son Adán. His other sons are also politically active.

10. Chávez has been married and divorced twice. He has four children and two grandchildren.


  • Chicago Tribune
  • The Miami Herald
  • BBC News
  • PBS's Frontline
  • New York Times
  • Hugo Chavez: The Definitive Biography of Venezuela's Controversial President
  • Chavez, Venezuela and the New Latin America: an interview with Hugo Chávez