This Crisis Group report on Venezuela is an important one, it recommends the use of democratic methods to get rid of Chávez. However, it was written before Chávez abandoned democracy with the Cuban package. It can be argued that the situation now is different than in 2008. Also, we have the precedents of Tunisia, Egypt, and even Libya now, which they didn’t have. These cases say that it is legitimate for a popular revolt to overthrow a dictatorship, and in the case of Libya, that it is OK for the armed forces to join the revolt against the dictator. It represents a sea change.
And of course Fidel Castro, being sharp, understands this, which is why he directed Chávez to use TeleSur to put everything on the line to make sure Libya does not become a success for a democratic revolt. They know they are next.
What it means is that the UN has declared color. Chávez cannot use deadly force to suppress peaceful protests, or there will be military consequences.
It is key to have a good social media communication system, though. Sites like Facebook and Twitter can determine the future of Latin America for decades.
One may wonder why he hasn’t realized the risks earlier. My guess is the coca he is chewing (according to his own admission). Scientists have discovered that it affects the risk evaluation center in the brain, making people less wary of the risks of their actions. This may be an important factor to consider when evaluating his behaviour.