News / Americas

Venezuela's President Chavez Aims for 20 Years in Office

Venezuelan President Hugo ChavezVenezuelan President Hugo Chavez
x
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez
Fern Robinson
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez emerged victorious Sunday from the presidential election.  If he completes his six-year term, the South American leader will have held the reins of power in the oil-rich country for 20 years.

President Chavez was not able to campaign as vigorously this year as he has in the past.  He has been fighting cancer and that battle has left him weak and exhausted.  The president has not given specific information about the cancer other than it was in the pelvic region and is currently in remission.   

Analysts have questioned whether the 58-year-old leader is strong enough to continue to preside over South America's largest oil exporting country and also find solutions for Venezuela's crumbling infrastructure and high murder rate.

The leftist leader has nationalized much of Venezuela's economy since he took power in 1999.  He says he wants to improve the life of the country's poor majority.  Critics say his policies are scaring off investors.  For many poor voters, his socialist vision is a fresh start after decades of governments that paid scant attention to their needs.

  • Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez holds the national flag while celebrating from a balcony at the Miraflores Palace in Caracas, October 7, 2012.
  • Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez greets his supporters from the Miraflores presidential palace balcony in Caracas, Venezuela.
  • Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez (C) gestures while speaking to supporters after receiving news of his reelection in Caracas.
  • Supporters of Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez celebrate in downtown Caracas.
  • Supporters of Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez perform a mock funeral for opposition candidate Henrique Capriles as they celebrate in downtown Caracas.
  • Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez casts his vote in Caraca during presidential elections.
  • Election monitors look at a count of ballots as a polling station is being closed in Caracas.

Chavez knows his base

President Chavez has poured billions of dollars in oil revenues into domestic anti-poverty programs and has skillfully used his humble roots and folksy oratory to build a close connection with the masses.

His win Sunday also brought a sigh of relief to his leftist allies around the Latin American region - from Cuba to Bolivia -  who also rely on Mr. Chavez's oil-financed generosity.

President Chavez has cultivated support in the region by confronting the U.S., which he has denounced as a decadent, war-mongering empire.  He has increased fuel sales to anti-Western states, including Belarus, Iran and Syria.

Analysts says Sunday's vote was the toughest election the president has faced after nearly 14 years in power.  His opponent, Henrique Capriles, received more votes than any previous challengers.

Election officials say 81 percent of the nearly 19 million registered voters went to the polls.

You May Like

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies More

Judge Declares Washington DC Ban on Public Handguns Unconstitutional

Ruling overturns capital city's prohibition on carrying guns in pubic More

Pricey Hepatitis C Drug Draws Criticism

Activists are using the International AIDS Conference to criticize drug companies for charging high prices for life-saving therapies More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid

More Americas News

Video Clock Ticking for Congress to Act on US Border Crisis

This week is lawmakers’ last chance before recess to respond to surge of undocumented children arriving at America’s southern frontier
More

US Considers Screening Youth in Honduras for Refugee Status

Officials say children could be interviewed before they make dangerous journey to US border, as tens of thousands of children from Central America have done already this year
More

Video President Asks Central American Leaders to Help Stop Migrants

Obama tells presidents of El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras it isn't lack of compassion, but obligation to obey immigration laws that is prompting US to turn back many migrants
More

S. Africa Launches Campaign Against US Cuba Sanctions

African National Congress launches the Cuban Solidarity Campaign to work against long-standing sanctions
More

Honduran President Links Border Crisis to US Policy Divide

Human, drug traffickers 'perversely' exploit confusion about US immigration policy, Juan Orlando Hernandez tells reporters on Capitol Hill
More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US
More