To add to your analysis about Chavez: let's remember that he was democratically elected on a program to increase the welfare of the millions of Venezuelan poor. Instead of letting him do that with some of the Venezuelan oil revenues, the US - as you rightly remarked - tried to topple him a couple of times. So much for US pledges for democracy around the world... Then the US tries to isolate him internationally. Wonder that he seeks alliances with whoever doesn't feel threatened by US embargos or is already embargoed? It's the same strategy the US pulled on Castro's Cuba (remember that Castro initially wanted friendly relations with the US as well). Only this time it backfires, as oil is internationally a much bigger deal than sugar cane.
Law expanding definition of terrorist activity passes first Knesset reading (Haaretz)
from the article: Chavez, in Iran, compares IDF bombings to Holocaust