I haven't seen any of the negative interviews, nor would I want to. I'd rather na´vely imagine the actors relishing their roles. My brother, who barely knows Voyager, immediately took a liking to Chakotay. He would be disappointed if he knew how seldom he was used.
My principal gripe about Chakotay is not his dearth of screen time, background info, or lack of development. Rather, I'd have preferred him to be a much stronger figure. Riker acted like a true first officer, brimming with confidence and often acting independently--and unlike Chakotay, he hadn't even been a leader/captain!
Chakotay, OTOH, seemed extremely meek (except when talking to Torres), and almost always either looked to Janeway for instructions or immediately agreed to whatever she wanted (except in Scorpion and Equinox). I think he should have been a very strong figure, rather than a mild-mannered copilot who had an almost constant look of slightly bemused amusement.
Don't you think it would be hard to swallow for Beltran to play an almost impotent and extremely meek commander who was supposed to have been a bold and daring Maquis outlaw?