SON of schoolteacher parents, Hugo Chavez was the man who became the President of Venezuela for a record four terms. His reforms had a major impact on the lives of the poor of his nation, although his socialistic ideals did nothing to endear him to the capitalists. His criticism of the US administration earned him the wrath of the most powerful nation in the world, and brought him acclaim from many in developing countries.
It was a failed military coup that brought Chavez into the limelight, even though he got thrown into prison for his efforts. However, upon his release, he successfully donned a political avatar and challenged the political elite of the oil-rich nation. He won the elections and as President used oil as a weapon to build bridges abroad, especially with Cuba, the land of his mentor, Fidel Castro.
His television and radio shows gave him a platform with the help of which he remained in touch with the common people. As often happens with strong leaders, Chavez leaves behind a mixed legacy. He has left his mark on Venezuelan society. He could not eradicate poverty as much as he wanted to, but he spent much on education and health sectors, thereby improving the lot of most sections of society. However, infrastructure needs more focus, as does industry. He also came in for criticism for trying to control the media and interfere in judicial processes.
There is no denying the improvement in the overall lifestyle of common people during his tenure. Even as Venezuela mourns the death of its charismatic leader, the challenge before Nicolas Maduro, his handpicked successor, would be to tap into the undeniable public adoration of his processor while trying to improve the law and order situation and the rise in inflation which is affecting common people in Venezuela. Hugo Chavez has ensured that his presence will loom large over his people long after his demise