I've been saying it for months, but it's nice to get some official, NGO confirmation. When it comes to democracy, the Chavez presidency has been a bad thing for Venezuela.
A damning report by Human Rights Watch reveals that all those nice things about democratic governance - a free press, vibrant civil society, and indepedent courts - have all suffered under Chavez's rule. Of course, mushy-headed Chavez apologists will no doubt write this off as more American propaganda. But consider this: Human Rights Watch frequently issues even more scathing reports against Colombia, an American ally.
So perhaps it's time for the left to stop making excuses for Chavez. The man is a dictator, plain and simple.