I can't say I followed Hugo Chavez that closely. What I knew of him was that he was a buffoon who delighted in using over-the-top-rhetoric blasting the United States. He had a weekly TV show on Venezuelan TV that lasted from four to eight hours while he sang, speechified, criticized President George W. Bush among others and told stories. He gave free Citgo (Venezuelan-government owned) heating oil to Joe Kennedy II to distribute among the poor through Kennedy's non-profit Citizens Energy.
Chavez did all right among his countrymen if you like socialism, but was an absolute disaster if you believe in corporate dominance of a capitalistic society. Chavez was pals with Fidel Castro and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The crime rate has soared under Chavez yet the poor were better off than before his reign. In short, Hugo Chavez was a leftist mixed windbag Venezuelan Rush Limbaugh.
Here's a link to a story in Salon that gives basically high marks and raises discussion points about Chavez and his stewardship of Venezuela: http://www.salon.com/2013/03/06/hugo_chavezs_economic_miracle/