Hugo Chavez died on March 6, 2013 after a long battle with cancer. Chavez's ambitious petro dollar-funded experiment with socialism, which he called the Bolivarian Socialist Revolution, transformed Venezuela, providing free medical care and subsidized food for the poor while alienating the middle class and souring relations with the United States.
Chavez will be remembered abroad chiefly for his long-winded histrionics and crackpot theories. At a speech in the UN, Chavez said George Bush was the Devil and smelled of sulfur. He theorized that life on Mars may have been killed off by capitalists, said the US caused an earthquake in Haiti with a secret weapon, and accused Uncle Sam of giving him and other Latin American leaders cancer.