Born in Sabaneta, Venezuela, on July 28, 1954, Hugo Chávez (Hugo Rafael Chávez Frías) attended the Venezuelan military academy and served as an army officer before participating in an effort to overthrow the government in 1992, for which he was sentenced to two years in prison. Chávez became president of Venezuela in 1999. Early into his presidency, he created a new constitution for the country, which included changing its name to the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.
He later focused his efforts on gaining control of the state-run oil company, which stirred controversy and led to protests, strained relations with the United States and other nations, and Chávez briefly being removed from power. His actions included selling oil to Cuba and resisting efforts to stop narcotic trafficking in Colombia. In 2006, Chávez helped create the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas, a socialist free-trade organization. He died on March 5, 2013, at age 58, following a long battle with cancer.