Chávez entered the political scene by initiating a coup d'etat unsuccessful in 1992, against a disastrous government of Carlos Andrés Perez, when he was Military Official. He was jailed for two years, but the fact served to "affirm" in politics, ever abandoned a military career.
Assumed the presidency in 1999 and initiated the formation of the Bolivarian republic of Venezuela, what he called socialism of the XXI century. These policies, related to, social inclusion, increase the area of state intervention in the economy, especially with regard to the petroleum sector, the largest source of richness in the country and progress in the recognition of linguistic and cultural rights of indigenous communities.
Of course these measures sparked fury of the small elite and private media, which tried to overthrow his power twice. Chavez was also a critic of neoliberalism and U.S. foreign policy, promoted internationally anticapitalism supported the self-sufficiency and defended cooperation among the world's poor nations, especially in Latin America and left like Bolivia and Ecuador. His performance in the region included the creation of ALBA and the financial and logistical support to allied countries.
During the Chávez era, poverty among Venezuelans fell from 49.4% in 1999 to 27.8% in 2010. Achieved enormous popularity in his country and abroad. Cited by Time magazine among the 100 most influential people in the world and attracted admirers like Oliver Stone and Sean Penn.