Backed Chavez for years. When you grow up knowing Latin America you'll accept almost anything to take on the poverty & right-wing cartels.
You grow up watching right wing crocodile tears over left govt actions, never mentioning what they did to Guatemala, Chile & so many others.
But nothing can justify what we've seen there, not just the authoritarianism but also the horrific economic mismanagement.
In my 20s I had mates who came back from Venezuela and said he was going mad. I was too lost in hero worship. Bit late now, but I was wrong.
Should've spotted the signs - the interminable TV broadcasts, the hero worship, the vilification of the opposition.
Was easy not to because of the attempted coup. His opponents, incl in Washington, weren't democrats. US rarely is when comes to L.America.
But still, signs were there and I wilfully ignored them. Chavez leads to Maduro. You can't disconnect them.