from the Comments...
I think in the dynamics of these discussions, there is a factor that needs to be considered. When people that support Chavez intervene, they somehow assume that we are supporters of a particular group of the opposition. My guess is that most of the readers of this blog, have been in the opposition for over twenty years and that even if they supported, however briefly, any of the Governments of the IVth., if this blog had existed then, most of us would have been highly critical of any of those previous Governments.
In my case, I was never happy with the Governments of the IVth. Republic. I thought two of them briefly tried to solve the main problems of the country, but then politics got in the way. But to me Chavez could not be the solution either, although I hoped I was wrong. How can a former military, surrounded by the mediocre people of all sectors perform well? What I never imagined was that he would actually emphasize the vices of the IVth. to such a degree.
The main difference with the past, is that a new player has emerged: civil society. In the past politics was only for politicians. The government that will succeed Chavez will have to deal with a more politically active country. People are involved, and they want to have a say.
For example: I am sure there are many politicians in la CD right now that would rather name a candidate the traditional way: by cogollo. They are going to go through primary elections, a regañadientes, because this is what civil society wants.