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Childhood and Early Life of Hugo Chavez

On 28 July 1954, Hugo Chavez was born in a small town called Sabaneta in the state of Barinas, Venezuela. Barinas is a state of Venezuela near the Columbian border. Both Hugo's mother and father were school teachers. His father was Hugo de los Reyes Chávez. His mother was Elena Frías de Chávez. She reportedly abused him as a child.1 Along with one of his five brothers, Adan, he was sent to live with his paternal grandmother Rosines. In spite of the relative poverty in which he lived in early life, he was exposed to television and mass media. This strongly influencing later speeches and interviews2.

As a youth Chavez was a baseball fan. He idolized a baseball pitcher, Isaías "Látigo" Chávez. The pitcher died in a plane accident, causing the young man considerable grief. He attended elementary school at the Julián Pino School. He later moved to the town of Barinas, attending high school at the Daniel Florencio O’Leary School.3

Hugo was friends with two sons of Jose Esteban Ruiz Guevara, an historian and writer, as well as an ardent communist. It is thought that during dinners and time spent in the Guevara household, Hugo was greatly influenced by the ideas expressed by the patriarch. Here, he was also exposed to stories about Ezequiel Zamora and Simon Bolivar. Simon Bolivar would become his model and ideal.4

After high school at seventeen in 1971, he enrolled at the Venezuelan Academy of Military Sciences. He had been rejected by the University because of low grades. He was accepted to the academy based on his athletic prowess, especially in baseball. At the academy he undertook a four year officer training program. In 1975 he graduated as a sub-lieutenant. Sources do not agree and vary his class ranking between eighth and dead-last of 67.5

<< Hugo Chavez Bio Index | Military Career of Hugo Chavez >>


  1. Ref to: http://www.dictatorofthemonth.com/Chavez/Jun2005ChavezEN.htm" - Early Childhood of Hugo Chavez
  2. Interview: Alberto Barrera
  3. Hugo Chavez at a Glance
  4. The Threat Closer to Home
  5. Chavez Background



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