^Uh, the bad stuff you mention is what Chavez was doing. The Economist
just ran an article on the horrible legacy of Chavez and whether Venezuela will recover easily or stay with the Chavistas and continue its downward spiral.
Latin America as a whole had finally moved away from its historical pattern of militaristic dictatorships and communist dabblings and switching to open democracy and free markets - except for Cuba and Venezuela. Venezuela was an odd case because it had been one of the countries that already was a non-militaristic open democracy with free markets. Chavez reversed that.
The only reason his economy wasn't a complete
disaster is that through no act of his, oil prices happened to skyrocket around the time that he took power, giving him lots and lots of money to buy people off and to cover up his abysmal economic management (such as seizing productive enterprises and ruining them, or ordering food stores to sell their food below cost
or face arrest).
Ironically he called it the Bolivarian revolution, but Bolivar was an Anglophile. Chavez said the real threat to Venezuela was the capitalists in the US and Columbia, all working for the evil Jews, and so Venezuela became a close ally of Iran
. He said his followers must all be armed, so he bought AK-47's in bulk and spent 14 years causing trouble for his neighbors, persecuting his domestic enemies, destroying all but the oil sector of Venezuela's economy, and creating a flood of refugees. A more pathetic leader is hard to imagine.