As someone who has traveled to Venezuela seven times over the course of the last few years, I think I have more insight concerning the actual situation on the ground there than your average internet blowhard. The majority of people who are A. sufficiently educated to the level of a Bachelors Degree or higher, or B. are entrepenuers and have an inkling as to how a small business works are against Chavez. Great numbers of the poorly educated and/or poorer classes think the guy is great or kid themselves that he is because they see no other political figure on the horizon to replace him, former Chacao Mayor Leopoldo Lopez included if for no other reason than a street smart sense of pragmatism that Chavez's goons would never permit it.
El Assami is an *ahem* interesting character. Given his alleged ties to such freedom loving organizations as Hamas and Hezbollah, continued vigilance of his activities is a little more than just prudent. This of course, is coupled with the fact that for the last several years, there have been weekly flights between Tehran and Caracas with a stop in Damascus and let's just say that I'm less than enthusiastic that the Chavez government would be vigilant in keeping out suspected bad guys.
My sources inside of Venezuela have mentioned that Chavez has the appearance of being "Chinese-eyed" in his weekly television
screed broadcast in which they speculate about the possibility of recreational drug on the part of el presidente. This of course puts speculation as to why members of the elite, Hollywood left would want to "hang out" with the guy in a somewhat different light.
One other point raised in the above article that some on the left buy into is the description of Chavez's
power grab reforms as "Bolivarian". Given that Simon Bolivar had a thorough command of the Spanish language, was a military man who actually experinced battle and was labeled a conservative, any description of his so called "revolution" as "Boliverian" only gives credence to the old Hitler/Goebbels saw about repeating the Big Lie often enough, then the people will actually believe it.