Hugo Rafael Chávez Frías (Spanish pronunciation: ; born July 28, 1954) is the 56th and current President of Venezuela, having held that position since 1999. He was formerly the leader of the Fifth Republic Movement political party from its foundation in 1997 until 2007, when he became the leader of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV). Following his own political ideology of Bolivarianism and "Socialism for the 21st Century", he has focused on implementing socialist reforms in the country as a part of a social project known as the Bolivarian Revolution, which has seen the implementation of a new constitution, participatory democracy and the nationalisation of several key industries.
Born into a working class family in Sabaneta, Barinas, Chávez became a career military officer, and after becoming dissatisfied with the Venezuelan puntofijismo political system which he viewed as corrupt and undemocratic, he founded the secretive Revolutionary Bolivarian Movement-200 (MBR-200) in the early 1980s to work towards overthrowing it. After the Democratic Action government of President Carlos Andrés Pérez ordered the violent repression of protests against spending cuts, Chávez led the MBR-200 in an unsuccessful coup d'état against the government in 1992, for which he was imprisoned.
Getting out of prison after two years, he founded a social democratic political party, the Fifth Republic Movement, and was elected president of Venezuela in 1998. He subsequently introduced a new constitution which increased rights for marginalised groups and altered the structure of Venezuelan government, and was re-elected in 2000. During his second presidential term, he introduced a system of Bolivarian Missions, Communal Councils and worker-managed cooperatives, as well as a program of land reform, whilst also nationalising various key industries. The opposition movement meanwhile, arguing that he was a populist who was eroding representative democracy and becoming increasingly authoritative, attempted to remove him from power both through an unsuccessful military coup in 2002 and a recall referendum in 2004. In 2005, he openly proclaimed his adherence to socialism, and was again elected into power in 2006, following which he founded his new political party, the PSUV, in 2007. Although suffering from cancer in 2011, Chávez has stated his intention to stand for re-election in 2012.