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Hugo Chávez. Introduction. President of Venezuela in 1998 A passionately disputed personality. Introduction. A liberator who fights for Latin American integration and against imperialism, neoliberalism and poverty

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  • President of Venezuela in 1998
  • A passionately disputed personality
  • A liberator who fights for Latin American integration and against imperialism, neoliberalism and poverty
  • An authoritarian demagogue who threatens Venezuela's economy and democracy, meddles in the affairs of other Latin American countries, and exacerbates international tensions
  • A threat to Latin America’s future ?
  • A thriving force for a better future on the Latin America continent ?
  • Do the US have reasons to fear Hugo Chávez ?

Who is Hugo Chávez?





Chávez’s domestic policy

Chávez’s foreign policy

US reactions

Chávez’s popularity

Conclusion: Chávez, a threat?

i biography
Born in 1954

Educated at the Military Academy of Venezuela.

A career army officer, rising to the rank of lieutenant colonel.

I. Biography
i biography9
1992 : participated in an unsuccessful coup against President Carlos Andrés Pérez

1992-1994: imprisoned

1997: creation of the Fifth Republic movement (Movimiento V (Quinta) Republica, MVR)

1998: President (56% of the votes)

I. Biography
i biography10
I. Biography
  • A peaceful social revolution to help Venezuela’s poor majority
  • 1999: creation of a constitutional assembly to draft a new constitution
i biography11
I. Biography
  • Main changes :

1) The change of the Republic’s name

2) More power for the president

3) Less power for the legislative and judicial institutions

4) Guarantee of Human Rights

i biography12
I. Biography
  • Referendum: constitution passed with 71,78% of the votes
  • 2000: re-elected President (59,5% of the votes)
  • 2004: a recall referendum (58,91% of the Venezuelans against his recall, 40,60%, for 0,49% null and void)
ii ch vez s domestic policy
II. Chávez’s domestic policy
  • Aim: Implementation of Bolivarism
  • 6 political components:

1. Venezuelan economic and political sovereignty

2. Grassroots political participation of the population through

popular votes and referenda

3. Economic self-sufficiency (in food, consumer durables…) 4. Instilling in people a national ethic of patriotic service

5. Equitable distribution of Venezuela's vast oil revenues

6. Eliminating corruption

ii ch vez s domestic policy14
II. Chávez’s domestic policy

2) Concrete measures

  • Many referenda
  • Bolivarian Missions (a series of social programmes whose stated goals are to combat disease, illiteracy, malnutrition, poverty, and other social ills)
  • Bolivarian Circles
  • Measures against corruption
ii ch vez s domestic policy15
II. Chávez’s domestic policy

3) Criticisms

  • Authoritarian direction abandoning democratic traditions
  • Rampant corruption
  • A threefold higher murder rate
  • Controversial poverty and unemployment figures
iii ch vez s foreign policy
III. Chávez’s foreign policy
  • Latin American integration
  • Integration model strongly

opposed to the neoliberal model

(against the FTAA)

  • Own regional integration

mechanism : the Bolivarian

Alternative for the Americas (2001)

iii ch vez s foreign policy17
III. Chávez’s foreign policy
  • Petrocaribe: a Carribbean oil alliance with Venezuela to purchase their oil on conditions of preferential payment (June 2005)
  • Telesur : a pan- Latin

American television network

    • a counterweight to networks

like CNN (December 2005)

iii ch vez s foreign policy18
III. Chávez’s foreign policy
  • Other projects:

- Petrosur

- A gas pipeline from

Venezuela to Argentina

- Bank of the South

- A common Latin American Currency

iii ch vez s foreign policy19
III. Chávez’s foreign policy

2) Fight against imperialism and neoliberalism

  • The main target: the US
  • Many criticisms against the US-policy (e.g. Iraq, Haiti)
  • Strategic alliances







Venezuela will “stay by Iran at any time and under any condition” Chavez

“I feel I have met a brother and trench mate after meeting Chavez”Ahmadinejad

iv us reactions
IV. US-reactions
  • Massive accusations
  • Threat of a second Cuba
  • Venezuela portrayed as a threat to international peace and a negative force in the region
iv us reactions23
IV. US-reactions

2) Offensive measures

  • Searching for support from Venezuela’s neighbours (bilateral trade agreements, military bases, joint military operations)
  • High activism to avoid election of potential new allies
  • Opposition to Venezuelan arms purchases
  • Support for domestic opposition
v ch vez s popularity
V. Chávez’s popularity
  • In Venezuela
  • Increasing popularity

among the poor

  • Growing Opposition

(e.g. Coup in April, 2002)

v ch vez s popularity25
V. Chávez’s popularity

B) In Latin America

  • Sympathy among

neighbouring countries

-> integration into the Mercosur

(December 2005)

-> bilateral agreements

Chávez, Kirchner, Lula

v ch vez s popularity26
V. Chávez’s popularity
  • No real support from

the newly leftist politicians

  • Only two key allies on

the continent: Fidel Castro

and Evo Morales

  • Setbacks in Peru and


v ch vez s popularity27
V. Chávez’s popularity

C) Internationally

  • Gained sympathy around the world

=>The symbol of resistance against neoliberalism and US hegemony

v ch vez s popularity28
V. Chávez’s popularity
  • Resounding success at

the World Social Forum

in Porto Alegre (Jan. 2005)

  • Chávez’s speech

to the opening of the

61st UN General

Assembly greeted

with applause (Sept. 2006)

v ch vez s popularity29
V. Chávez’s popularity
  • Failure to gain a non permanent seat on the UN Security Council

=> Mixed success in the international arena

conclusion hugo ch vez a threat
Conclusion: Hugo Chávez, a threat ?
  • US have failed thus far to isolate Chávez diplomatically
conclusion hugo ch vez a threat31
Conclusion: Hugo Chávez, a threat ?

Failure of Chávez’s

« oil diplomacy »

conclusion hugo ch vez a threat32
Conclusion: Hugo Chávez, a threat ?

=>No high popularity, especially among Latin American politicians

=> No threat of a « Chavez wave »

=> No massive loss of US influence on the continent

conclusion hugo ch vez a threat33
Conclusion: Hugo Chávez, a threat ?
  • Opportunity for the US to keep their influence on the continent
  • One condition: negociations on equal terms
conclusion hugo ch vez a threat34
Conclusion: Hugo Chávez, a threat ?
  • A threat to his own country

- Radicalisation of the regime

- A hostile climate for foreign investment

- Economic development based on the oil industry

  • The Economist(Sept 28th 2006, August 31th 2006, June 8th 2006, Jul 28th 2005, June 9th 2004,)
  • Courrier International(Nov 9th 2006, Jan 19th 2006, Nov 13th 2003)
  • Le Monde diplomatique(March 2005, April 2004,Nov 2000)
  • Vocable (Nov 16-29th 2006)