So Hugo Chavez has passed away. I confess to knowing very little about Latin American government, but you couldn't help but hear about the Bolivarian Revolution on a pretty constant basis the last few years if you followed politics at all.
My opinion: slight dislike. I don't like the hypocrisy of those who lead coups but then complain when they get set aside (however briefly) by one. I don't like the "Blame the U.S." approach to domestic and foreign policy and the shoe thumping theatrics that goes along with it, and I especially dislike the charity approach to helping the poor.
"What's that?" you say. "How can you oppose a president using his country's fabulous oil wealth to help the poor and needy?"
A: Because it's run like a charity. You know, the ones that spend .016% of their budget actually helping the subject of the charity and the rest paying themselves handsomely and raising more funds. Chavez knew how the scam worked, and played it to the max. Of course, like most scams, the people you want to fool have done most of the work for you already. Here it is: Chavez and his Bolivarian Revolution liked to make a big deal out of helping the poor around the world (but especially in places where there was a lot of press coverage) by helping them out with things like free heating oil. So far so good, right? The catch is that Venezuela was a founding member of OPEC; they are the ones making sure the heating oil is too expensive for the poor to buy in the first place! Chavez could have helped billions of poor people around the world by breaking the OPEC cartel and allowing oil prices to drop, but didn't. No matter though, he's a swell guy anyway. Joe Kennedy says so.
The People's Hero Is Dead. Sing along-If you know what's good for ya.