As some of you may remember, about a year ago I took part in an opposition rally in Caracas. I left pessimistic that they would succeed in slowing Chávez down as he constructed a political machine. The marchers seemed dispirited, and the hecklers very confident, while the police just watched, amused.
I think it is very easy to exaggerate Venezuela's slide towards authoritarianism. The upper classes are too powerful, the middle class is too large (in absolute terms), and the government itself is too disorganized to pull off a full Cuba. (In Mexico I met Cuban doctors who claimed to have worked in Venezuela; they had nothing but disdain for the Venezuelans they worked with. Assuming, of course, that the stories are true; a few details didn't seem right.) The PSUV will be lucky to cement as much control over the country as the PRI used to wield over Mexico.
But there are worrying movements ... and as the popularity of the government's policies drops, one might see more incidents like the above. Or worse.
Anyway, as long as this website is up, Venezuela isn't a dictatorship. Check it out; it's the Onion of Venezuela. My favorite has to be “La Reelección indefinida llega al Miss Universo.”