On October 7th of 2012, after a successful bid to eliminate term limits, Hugo Chavez was re-elected to his fourth term as president of Venezuela. Chavez first entered the political spotlight following an unsuccessful coup attempt in 1992. After being released from prison he was elected to office under a banner of sweeping, populist self-styled socialist reform.
Since taking office, murder and kidnappings have increased dramatically leading some Venezuelans to liken the situation to an undeclared war. Kidnappings are a significant industry in Caracas where the dividing lines between the haves and have-nots are as clear as the streets dividing the modern city from the slums which surround it. Chavez’ public response has largely been to downplay the statistics claiming that they are grossly exaggerated; currently, Venezuela is the most violent country in South America with an average of 53 murders a day.
Chavez died in March of 2013 and was replaced by his named successor; little has changed.