By Cait Flynn
In October of 2012 Venezuelan President, Hugo Chávez, won a decisive 10-point victory over his most promising challenger since he came to power in 1998. A promoter of a socialist revolution in South America, Chávez has become a controversial and divisive figure in the region.
Chávez’s proponents claim that his economic policies, including the nationalism of Venezuela’s oil revenue, have helped the poor, which make up a majority of the population. His opponents have blamed his and his party’s policies for the rapidly growing deficit and inflation.
For the United States, his re-election means 6 more years of his influence in South America. Over the last 14 years he has been an outspoken critic of Western policies, and has aligned himself with many anti-Capitalist leaders in countries such as Russia, Cuba, and Iran.
Chávez received medical treatment for pelvic cancer from at the end of 2012. Since he was still in debilitating condition, he was not inaugurated on January 10 and has received an indefinite pardon from presidential duties. Opponents are adamant on pushing National Assembly President Diosdado Cabello into the position should Chávez not recover within 30 days.