Hugo Chávez, President since 1999.
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CARACAS — Hugo Chávez does not filter his words. The Venezuelan strongman made headlines when he called former U.S. President George W. Bush “the devil” at the United Nations, and when he claimed former Peruvian President Alan Garcia was a thief, an embarrassment, and a scoundrel. That trait has endeared him to many Venezuelans, who like their president’s flamboyant, straight-talking ways. It could also prove to be his downfall in this year’s presidential election, scheduled for Oct. 7.

Peter Wilson