Interesting transcript of an interview with Noam Chomsky about Venezuela and Latin American democracy in general. The upshot: he hates to criticize Chavez but is concerned about concentration of executive power. Even Chomsky thinks it undermines democracy.
RC: Finally professor, the concerns about the concentration of executive power in Venezuela: to what extent might that be undermining democracy in Venezuela?
NC: Concentration of executive power, unless it's very temporary and for specific circumstances, let's say fighting world war two, it's an assault on democracy.
RC: And so in the case of Venezuela is that what's happening or at risk of happening?
NC: As I said you can debate whether circumstances require it – both internal circumstances and the external threat of attack and so on, so that's a legitimate debate – but my own judgment in that debate is that it does not.