Profile: Hugo Chavez

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has made a surprise return from Cuba after cancer surgery, but there is no word on whether he is fit enough to resume what has been an extraordinary political career:

  • Born to a poor family in 1954, his humble roots have helped him forge a bond with many of Venezuela's poor
  • A former lieutenant colonel, he led a 1992 coup that failed but launched his political career
  • After being pardoned, he won the 1998 presidential election and took office the following year
  • Arrested in 2002 after a coup, but public protests and the army helped sweep him back to power two days later
  • Massive state spending on health and education programs, financed by income from oil exports, has won him backing from the poor
  • Known for his brash style and long-winded televised speeches
  • Opponents accuse him of repressing critics and squandering record oil revenues
  • Announced cancer treatment in 2011; has since had four operations in Cuba
  • Re-elected in October, but his January swearing-in was postponed
  • Flew back to Venezuela today and went straight to hospital for more treatment.


Chavez returns to Venezuela

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has returned to his homeland after more than two months away for cancer treatment.