In 1998, Chávez decided to run for president. In the lead-up to the election, the two parties that had consistently jockeyed for power in Venezuela since 1958 both stood accused of corruption and incompetence. Chávez, meanwhile presented himself as a popular insurgent promising reform.
Above, Chávez and his wife Marisabel wave to supporters on July 24, 1998, as Chávez arrives at the National Electoral Council in Caracas to officially submit his name for the December elections.
BERTRAND PARRES/AFP/Getty Images