first_imgBy Dialogo March 06, 2013 Hugo Rafael Chávez Frías was born on July 28, 1954, in the rural town of Sabaneta, in the western Venezuelan plains. His parents were school teachers and he was the second of six siblings. According to his own website, it was his history teacher, José Esteban Ruiz, who introduced an adolescent Chávez to the schools of thought of liberator Simón Bolívar and Karl Marx, one of the fathers of communism. But young Chavez’s favorite passtime at the time was baseball. Hugo Chávez enrolled at Venezuela’s Military Academy, in Caracas, not for his desire to become a soldier, but because he knew that the Army had very good baseball coaches and his dream was to become a pro in the Majors. Despite being a good lefty pitcher, Chávez knew that he wasn’t good enough to play professionally, and decided to continue his military studies, graduating in 1975 with a Bachelor of Military Arts and Sciences, and earning the rank of second lieutenant, with which he got into the Army. His first mission was to command a communications platoon attached to a counterinsurgency military force which was responsible for pursuing the Red Flag Party guerrilla members in the Cumaná region. In 1977, Chávez was promoted to Lieutenant and assigned as communications officer to the Tactical Operations Center in San Mateo, where he first received practical training in counterinsurgency tactics. It was then that his sympathy for the guerrilla movements he was tasked to counter, peaked. From 1978 to 1979, Chávez served as squadron commander for Maracay’s “Bravos” Apure Armored Tanks AMX-30 Battalion. A succession of promotions ensued until he was named company commander and chief of the Physical Education Department of the Venezuelan Military Academy from 1980 to 1981. According to Venezuelan presidential website,, Chávez was promoted to captain in 1982, and in 1983, together with some fellow officers from the academy, secret founded the Bolivarian Revolutionary Movement (MRB-200), in which the number 200 makes a direct reference to the founding of the movement on the 200th anniversary of the birth of Simón Bolívar. The movement established as its political objective restoring “bolivarianism” in Venezuela, through a Bolivarian Revolution. In 1990, he was promoted again to lieutenant colonel, and in 1991 was assigned as commander of the 42nd “Coronel Antonio Nicolás Briseño” Paratroopers Brigade, based in Maracay. From that position, Chávez and other MRB-200 leaders, planned and led a coup d‘état against then-President Carlos Andrés Pérez, but the rebellion failed and Chávez realized it was useless to keep fighting. He agreed to giving up with the condition of being allowed to speak to his co-conspirators on national television. In front of the cameras, Chávez announced that his objective of taking power would unfortunately not be achieved “for now,” and asked his collaborators to disarm. Chávez’s address became known as the “For now” speech, and prompted many people to take the phrase as a promise that he would one day return. Those famous words lasted less than two minutes, but jettisoned him into his political career.last_img

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