National Geographic News
Joe LoDico
Joe LoDico

It's commendable that Hugo Chavez helped the poor.

John C.
John C.

Human Rights Watch criticized Chavez's 1999-2013 presidency, saying it was "characterized by a dramatic concentration of power and open disregard for basic human rights guarantees."

The rights group said Chavez enacted a constitution "with ample human rights protections in 1999" but began to amass and centralize power after surviving a coup d'etat in 2002. He grabbed control of the Supreme Court and limited the ability of journalists to report freely, it said.

"By his second full term in office, the concentration of power and erosion of human rights protections had given the government free rein to intimidate, censor, and prosecute Venezuelans who criticized the president or thwarted his political agenda," HRW said.


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