Erranter disputes my views in A Look at the “Failed Socialist States”:
Venezuela is certainly not better than much of Latin America. Russia is probably better off now than it was with communism. The Soviet Union killed way more people than recent alcoholism. I see no reason to romanticize the USSR whatsoever; it was infernal. The nuclear meltdown alone may have killed 1 million people.
Actually, Venezuela does look good compared to the rest of the region. More importantly, when Chavez took power, about 8 Venezuela, with the exception of a few tiny islands in the Caribbean, is the wealthiest country in Latin America! So Erranter is wrong, Venezuela is indeed better off than the rest of Latin America.