Thirteen years ago today, Hugo Chávez was sworn in as President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. With a socialist-oriented program for the country, the president continues to maintain popular support with an approval rating of over 60 percent, according to recent polls.
On December 6, 1998, Venezuela experienced one of the most transcendental changes in its contemporary history, when Hugo Chávez was elected with 56.24 percent of the popular vote.
On February 2nd, 1999, President Chávez assumed office and addressed the Venezuelan people for the first time in his inaugural speech in Caracas.
“Today, February second, 1999, the time for the people of Venezuela has arrived! … The resurrection of Simón Bolívar’s land has arrived… Let’s celebrate the birth of the free Venezuela, the Bolivarian Venezuela that we have always dreamed of,” Chávez declared.
In a national referendum in 1999, the Venezuelan people approved a new constitution for the republic. Another presidential election was held shortly after, on July 30, 2000, and Chávez’s political project became a reality as he was reelected with 59.5 percent of the popular vote. Subsequently, on December 3, 2006, the Venezuelan president was again reelected with over 60 percent of the vote, confirming to the world his position as one of the most paradigmatic characters of late 20th century and early 21st century.
When the Venezuelan president was sworn in at the National Assembly he said: “I swear before God, I swear before the homeland, I swear before my people that under this moribund constitution I will boost the needed democratic transformations so the new Republic can have a great charter suitable for the new times. I swear it.” The revolution, with Chávez at the helm, has given participation and power for the people, deepening social change and benefits for all.
Although he has faced attacks by right-wing sectors in Venezuela and internationally, including a 2002 coup d’état and a persistent media campaign to discredit his government, President Chávez has remained victorious through several electoral processes.
Since 1998, Venezuelan citizens have gone to the polls 16 times to vote in local, regional and national elections, all of which have been verified as free and fair by international observers and accompaniers from institutions including the Organization of American States (OAS) and the Carter Center.
Click here to read about some of the achievements of the government of President Hugo Chávez.
YVKE Mundial / Press Office – Venezuelan Embassy to the U.S. / February 2, 2012