I spent a good deal of my childhood in South America. Shortly after I was born my family moved to Buenos Aires, Argentina where we lived for 4 years. I went to grade school in Bolivia, and Venezuela. I wouldn't trade my childhood memories for anything in the world. Latin America, especially South America, is a wondrous and captivating place to live.
Having said that... Hugo Chavez is a misguided idiot. He's trying to drag Venezuela into a Marxist dream that has been proved, time and time again, to be a utopian fantasy. Before the people of Latin America can enjoy real progress and economic success they must choose a future that includes real democracy and free trade.
I hope they see real democracy soon.