As Royalist Frigate Captain Domingo de Monteverde was advancing into republican territory from the west, Bolívar lost control of San Felipe Castle along with its ammunition stores on 30 June 1812. Bolívar then retreated to his estate in San Mateo.
Miranda saw the republican cause as lost and signed a capitulation agreement with Monteverde on 25 July, an action that Bolívar and other revolutionary officers deemed treasonous. In one of Bolívar's most morally dubious acts, he and others arrested Miranda and handed him over to the Spanish Royal Army at the port of La Guaira.
This was followed by the occupation of Trujillo on 9 June. Six days later, and as a result of Spanish massacres on independence supporters, Bolívar dictated his famous "Decree of War to the Death", allowing the killing of any Spaniard not actively supporting independence.
Caracas was retaken on 6 August 1813, and Bolívar was ratified as El Libertador, establishing the Second Republic of Venezuela. The following year, because of the rebellion of José Tomás Boves and the fall of the republic, Bolívar returned to New Granada, where he commanded a force for the United Provinces.
On 15 February 1819, Bolívar was able to open the Venezuelan Second National Congress in Angostura, in which he was elected president and Francisco Antonio Zea was elected vice president. Bolívar then decided that he would first fight for the independence of New Granada, to gain resources of the vice royalty, intending later to consolidate the independence of Venezuela.
From his newly consolidated base of power, Bolívar launched outright independence campaigns in Venezuela and Ecuador. These campaigns concluded with the victory at the Battle of Carabobo, after which Bolívar triumphantly entered Caracas on 29 June 1821.
After the facts, Bolivar continued to govern in a rarefied environment, cornered by fractional disputes. Uprisings occurred in New Granada, Venezuela, and Ecuador during the following two years. The separatists accused him of betraying republican principles and of wanting to establish a permanent dictatorship. Gran Colombia declared war against Peru when president General La Mar invaded Guayaquil. He was later defeated by Marshall Antonio José de Sucre in the Battle of the Portete de Tarqui, 27 February 1829. Sucre was killed on 4 June 1830. General Juan José Flores wanted to separate the southern departments (Quito, Guayaquil, and Azuay), known as the District of Ecuador, from Gran Colombia to form an independent country and become its first President. Venezuela was proclaimed independent on 13 January 1830 and José Antonio Páez maintained the presidency of that country, banishing Bolivar.
Five years after his creation of the ELPV, Chávez went on to form a new secretive cell within the military, the Bolivarian Revolutionary Army-200 (EBR-200), later redesignated the Revolutionary Bolivarian Movement-200 (MBR-200).
Chávez began preparing for a military coup d'état known as Operation Zamora. The plan involved members of the military overwhelming military locations and communication installations and then establishing Rafael Caldera in power once Pérez was captured and assassinated. Chávez delayed the MBR-200 coup, initially planned for December, until the early twilight hours of 4 February 1992. On that date five army units under Chávez's command moved into urban Caracas. Despite years of planning, the coup quickly encountered trouble since Chávez commanded the loyalty of less than 10% of Venezuela's military. After numerous betrayals, defections, errors, and other unforeseen circumstances, Chávez and a small group of rebels found themselves hiding in the Military Museum, unable to communicate with other members of their team. Pérez managed to escape Miraflores Palace.Then Chávez gave himself up to the government. Fourteen soldiers were killed, and fifty soldiers and some eighty civilians injured during the ensuing violence.
Simón Bolívar has left a long lasting imprint on Venezuela's history in particular and South America in general. As a military cadet, Hugo Chávez was "a celebrant of the Bolivarian passion story". Chávez relied upon the ideas of Bolívar and on Bolívar as a popular symbol later in his military career as he put together his MBR-200 movement which would become a vehicle for his 1992 coup-attempt.
South America in the late 1980s and early 1990s was just recovering from the Latin American debt crisis of the mid-1980s and many governments had adopted austerity and privatization policies to finance International Monetary Fund (IMF) loans. It was in this context that Chávez and MBR-200 (as the Fifth Republic Movement) won the 1998 elections and initiated the constituent process that resulted in the Venezuelan Constitution of 1999.
At the start of the election run-up, front runner Irene Sáez was backed by one of Venezuela's two primary political parties, Copei. But Chávez's promises of widespread social and economic reforms won the trust and favor of the primarily poor and working class. By May 1998, Chávez's support had risen to 30% in polls, and by August he was registering 39%. The Voter turnout was 63%, and Chávez won the election with 56% of the vote. Academic analysis of the election showed that Chávez's support had come primarily from the country's poor and "disenchanted middle class", whose standard of living had decreased rapidly over the previous decade, while much of the middle and upper class vote went to Römer. And Chávez's presidential inauguration took place 2 February 1999.
Beginning 27 February 1999, the tenth anniversary of the Caracazo massacre, Chávez set into motion a social welfare program called Plan Bolívar 2000. He said he had allotted $20.8 million for the plan, though some say that the program cost $113 million. The plan involved 70,000 soldiers, sailors and members of the air force repairing roads and hospitals, removing stagnant water that offered breeding areas for disease-carrying mosquitoes, offering free medical care and vaccinations, and selling food at low prices.
Plan Bolívar 2000 was the first of the Bolivarian Missions enacted under of administration of Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez. According to the United States Department of State, Chávez wanted to "send the message that the military was not a force of popular repression, but rather a force for development and security". The United States State Department also commented that this happened "only 23 days after his inauguration" and that he wanted to show his closest supporters "that he had not forgotten them". The plan involved around 40,000 Venezuelan soldiers engaged in door-to-door anti-poverty activities, including mass vaccinations, food distribution in slum areas and education.Several scandals affected the program as allegations of corruption were formulated against Generals involved in the plan, arguing that significant amounts of money had been diverted.
Chávez called a public referendum, which he hoped would support his plans to form a constituent assembly of representatives from across Venezuela and from indigenous tribal groups to rewrite the Venezuelan constitution. Chávez said he had to run again; "Venezuela's socialist revolution was like an unfinished painting and he was the artist", he said, while someone else "could have another vision, start to alter the contours of the painting". The momentum of the support he received in previous elections, made the referendum on 25 April 1999 a success for Chávez; 88% of the voters supported his proposal.
Chávez called an election on 25 July to elect the members of the constituent assembly. Over 900 of the 1,171 candidates standing for election that July were Chávez opponents. Despite the many opposition candidates, Chávez supporters won another overwhelming electoral victory. His supporters took 95% of the seats, 125 in all, including all of the seats assigned to indigenous groups. The opposition won only six seats. The constituent assembly, filled with supporters of Chávez, began to draft a constitution that made censorship easier and granted the executive branch more power.
Under the new constitution, it was legally required that new elections be held in order to re-legitimize the government and president. This presidential election in July 2000 would be a part of a greater "megaelection", the first time in the country's history that the president, governors, national and regional congressmen, mayors and councilmen would be voted for on the same day. Going into the elections, Chávez had control of all three branches of government. For the position of president, Chávez's closest challenger proved to be his former friend and co-conspirator in the 1992 coup, Francisco Arias Cárdenas, who since becoming governor of Zulia state had turned towards the political centre and begun to denounce Chávez as autocratic. Although some of his supporters feared that he had alienated those in the middle class and the Roman Catholic Church hierarchy who had formerly supported him, Chávez was re-elected with 60% of the vote (the equivalent of 3,757,000 people), a larger majority than his 1998 electoral victory, again primarily receiving his support from the poorer sectors of Venezuelan society.
During The Events of April 2002, Chávez believed that the best way to stay in power was to implement Plan Ávila. Military officers, including General Raúl Baduel, a founder of Chávez's MBR-200, then decided that they had to pull support from Chávez to deter a massacre and shortly after at 8:00 pm, Vásquez Velasco, together with other ranking army officers, declared that Chávez had lost his support. Chávez agreed to be detained and was transferred by army escort to La Orchila; business leader Pedro Carmona declared himself president of an interim government. Carmona abolished the 1999 constitution and appointed a governing committee.
The Mission involves a state-run company called Mercados de Alimentos, C.A. (MERCAL), which provides subsidised food and basic goods through a nationwide chain of stores. In 2010 Mercal was reported as having 16,600 outlets, "ranging from street-corner shops to huge warehouse stores", in addition to 6,000 soup kitchens. Mercal employs 85,000 workers. In 2006, some 11.36 million Venezuelans benefited from Mercal food programs on a regular basis. At least 14,208 Mission Mercal food distribution sites were spread throughout Venezuela and 4,543 metric tons of food distributed each day. In recent times, customers who had to wait in long lines for discounted products say that there were a lack of products in Mercal stores and that items available at the stores change constantly. Some customers complained about rationing being enforced at Mercal stores due to the lack of products. In some cases, protests have occurred due to the shortages in stores.
On 28 October 2005, Venezuela declared itself a "Territory Free of Illiteracy", having raised in its initial estimates the literacy rate to around 99%, although the statistic was changed to 96%. According to UNESCO standards, a country can be declared "illiteracy-free" if 96% of its population over age 15 can read and write. According to Francisco Rodríguez and Daniel Ortega of IESA, there has been "little evidence" of "statistically distinguishable effect on Venezuelan illiteracy". The Venezuelan government claimed that it had taught 1.5 million Venezuelans to read, but the study found that "only 1.1m were illiterate to begin with" and that the illiteracy reduction of less than 100,000 can be attributed to adults that were elderly and died. David Rosnick and Mark Weisbrot of the Center for Economic and Policy Research responded to these doubts, finding that the data used by Rodríguez and Ortega was too crude a measure since the Household Survey from which it derived was never designed to measure literacy or reading skills and their methods were inappropriate to provide statistical evidence regarding the size of Venezuela's national literacy program. Rodríguez responded to Weisbrot's rebuttal by showing that Weisbrot used biased, distorted data and that the illiteracy argument Weisbrot used showed the exact opposite of what Weisbrot was attempting to convey.
In the presidential election of December 2006, which saw a 74% voter turnout, Chávez was once more elected, this time with 63% of the vote, beating his closest challenger Manuel Rosales, who conceded his loss. The election was certified as being free and legitimate by the Organization of American States (OAS) and the Carter Center. After this victory, Chávez promised an "expansion of the revolution".
On 15 December 2006, Chávez publicly announced that those leftist political parties who had continually supported him in the Patriotic Pole would unite into one single, much larger party, the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (Partido Socialista Unido de Venezuela, PSUV). In the speech which he gave announcing the PSUV's creation, Chávez declared that the old parties must "forget their own structures, party colours and slogans, because they are not the most important thing for the fatherland".
On 28 December 2006, President Chávez announced that the government would not renew RCTV's broadcast license which expired on 27 May 2007, thereby forcing the channel to cease operations on that day.
On January 13, 2008, Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez stated his disapproval with the FARC strategy of armed struggle and kidnapping saying "I don't agree with kidnapping and I don't agree with armed struggle".
Under the 1999 constitution, he could not legally stand for re-election again, and so brought about a referendum on 15 February 2009 to abolish the two-term limit for all public offices, including the presidency. Approximately 70% of the Venezuelan electorate voted, and they approved this alteration to the constitution with over 54% in favor, allowing any elected official the chance to try to run indefinitely.
On 20 November 2009, Chávez publicly defended Carlos, saying that he is wrongly considered to be "a bad guy" and that he believed Carlos had been unfairly convicted. Chávez also called him "one of the great fighters of the Palestine Liberation Organisation". France summoned the Venezuelan ambassador and demanded an explanation. Chávez, however, declined to retract his comments.
On 7 October 2012, Chávez won election as president for a fourth time, his third six-year term. He defeated Henrique Capriles with 54% of the votes versus 45% for Capriles, which was a lower victory margin than in his previous presidential wins. Turnout in the election was 80%, with a hotly contested election between the two candidates. There was significant support for Chávez amongst the Venezuelan lower class. Chávez's opposition blamed him for unfairly using state funds to spread largesse before the election to bolster Chavez's support among his primary electoral base, the lower class.
Following the death of Hugo Chávez, his successor Nicolás Maduro faced the consequences of Chávez's policies, with Maduro's approval declining and protests in Venezuela beginning in 2014. The Chávez and Maduro administrations often blamed difficulties that Venezuela faced on foreign intervention in the country's affairs.
According to the International Policy Digest, "the Bolivarian revolution is a failure not because its ideals were unachievable but because its leaders were as corrupt as those they decry", with the Bolivarian government relying on oil for its economy, essentially suffering from Dutch disease. As of 2016, Bolivarian Venezuela suffered from hyperinflation and a dramatic loss of jobs and income and a soaring murder rate.