In 1981, a poorly coordinated attempt to privatize waste collection services left the neighborhood el 23 de Enero, the site of Venezuela’s largest public housing project, and other neighborhoods in Caracas without waste collection for weeks. El 23 de Enero was filled with piles of rotting trash that threatened a public health crisis.
Before becoming the democratically elected president of Venezuela, Hugo Chávez was, himself, a prominent leader of a failed coup attempt in 1992. Since his election in 1998, however, his popularity among many sectors of society, especially the private, rapidly decreased. Discontent among this sector finally culminated on 11 April 2002 when a chain of events led to the swift removal of president Chávez from office in a coup d’etat led largely by mainstream union members (of the CTV) and business people (Fedecamaras) and facilitated by the private media.
Venezuelen President Hugo Chávez has often played a controversial role in Latin American politics, sometimes by testing the limits of freedom of expression.