Whatever we think of Hugo Chavez we must at least concede that he did make an honest attempt at making the Venezuelan masses active participants in their own country's development. Previous rulers -- representing a very narrow elite -- had ignored the bulk of Venezuela's Mestizo and Mulatto masses, and instead had focused on living in their false utopia. These European-descended elites had always cared more for plastic-surgery and shopping trips to Miami rather than caring for the welfare of schoolchildren in Caracas' barrios.
Thanks to Hugo Chavez' Bolivarian Revolution, the state finally re-orientated its machinery to providing for the basic needs of the teeming masses. Ironically, the Bolivarian Revolution was named for Simon Bolivar, an independence-era member of the wealthy elite, but whose predecessors had chosen to ignore his noble intentions. Centuries of deliberate and structural "active inactivity" on the part of Venezuela's do-nothing elites meant that nothing had ever been done to uplift the poor. Absolutely nothing!
Until roughly thirty years ago, the only path of progress available to upwardly-mobile Mestizos and mulattos in Venezuela was to be found either in the military or as teachers. That's how Hugo Chavez -- a sharp mind from the lowly classes -- found himself in the military. As ruler himself, he could never change centuries of misrule in two decades, but he did give his best shot.
By no means is modern-day Venezuela a verifiable utopia, with its serious problems of crime and inequality, but at least the masses now have a foot in the door. It was Hugo Chavez who upturned the chessboard and put the masses in play as actors in their own development. For this we thank him! We salute him and may he forever rest in peace.