NAME: Hugo Rafael Chavez Frias.

TITLE: President of Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.

BORN: July 28, 1954, in rural town of Sabaneta in plains of western Venezuela.

EDUCATION: Attended public schools, entered Venezuelan Military Academy in 1971 as army cadet.

BEFORE TAKING OFFICE: As paratrooper and military-academy history teacher, Chavez quietly organized network of dissident soldiers. On Feb. 4, 1992, attempted coup against President Carlos Andres Perez. Plot failed. Faced 30 years in prison but next president pardoned him before trial.

CHAVEZ'S PRESIDENCY: Elected as reform candidate Dec. 6, 1998; took office Feb. 2, 1999. Oversaw approval of new constitution that lengthened presidential term from five years to six. Forged alliance with Cuba and increasingly criticized U. S. Survived failed coup in 2002 and continued to build power, while emerging as Western Hemisphere's most vocal leftist leader. Sent aid to allied countries and built support among poor at home with social programs. Won re-election in 2006 and again in 2012.

FAMILY: Married and divorced twice. Had four children and four grandchildren. One daughter, Maria or Rosa, often stood at his side at official events, unofficially filling in as first lady.

QUOTE: "What hurts me most is poverty, and that's what led me to become a rebel," Chavez said during 2007 interview with The Associated Press.

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