VENEZUELAN FOREIGN POLICY UNDER THE PRESIDENCY OF HUGO CHÁVEZ (Polityka zagraniczna Wenezueli za prezydentury Hugo Cháveza)
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After winning the presidential election in December 1998, Hugo Chávez undertook a fundamental reorganization of the Venezuelan foreign policy and proclaimed the Bolivarian Revolution, referring directly to the Simón Bolívar's legacy and aiming to build 'the socialism of the 20th century' in Venezuela, based on the petroleum export profits. However, the revolutionary rhetoric used by the new president caused an instant worsening of diplomatic relations with the United States and the associated countries and led to a deep polarization in relations with countries of the Western Hemisphere. Simultaneously Venezuela made a transition from a provincial country to an aspiring superpower of the region. The purpose of the present article is to outline the most important courses of the Venezuelan foreign policy under the presidency of Hugo Chávez and to underline the increasing influence of Venezuela in the international relations - both regionally (the alliance with Cuba and Bolivia, the concept of ALBA) and globally (the Venezuelan role in OPEC). Also close relations of Venezuela to Russia and Iran should be taken into consideration. By this means president Chavez plans to counterweight the influence of the United States for which Venezuela was a reliable economic and political partner until the 1990s.
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