We shall not shed any crocodile tears over the departure from this life of Hugo Chavez, the all-but-dictator of Venezuela. After 14 years of bad government, the country — which by all rights should be a rich one — is poorer than when the strongman began his reign.
Life there is miserable, streets unrepaired and garbage uncollected, as Guardian correspondent Rory Carroll writes in his book about the Chavez years. That enraging combination of bureaucracy, inefficiency and insecurity that was characteristic of life in the old Soviet Union was replicated by the New Bolivar, and his influence may live on for some time.
We hope, even as his party continues to rule, that the United States will reach out to the government and people of the country as much as possible. This neighbor deserves a good neighbor, even if the transition from Chavez’s misrule takes a while.