I'm saddened and sometimes amazed of the vehemence and pervasiveness of critiques of Hugo Chavez and the socio-political experiment going on in the relatively democratic Venezuela as compared with governments with whom the United States is, if not friendly, at least tightly allied, say Saudi Arabia or say, Nigeria. Avowedly unbiased NPR is not exempt. A case in point: the interview a few months ago with Joe Kennedy and his work with the Venezuelan government to bring less expensive fuel oil to low income people in the northeastern United States. Joe would point out the relative levels of democracy between Venezuela and most other major oil producing states, but the interviewer wouldn't hear it and kept insisting, well, I ought really go find the interview and reference it.
In any case, again, what's the real issue? Actually using Venezuela's oil wealth to benefit poor people?
Self critique: Is this really the same as the failure of American leftist to give up on Stalin as the reality of his rule became known? I hope not. I don't think so. I think the Venezuelan rich have not been had their wealth stripped or been imprisoned simply because of their wealth.