The legacy: "While the left found a hero initially in Chávez, it became harder and harder to defend him, to look the other way as his time in office went on. As Latin American scholar Kirk Hawkins put it, Chavez’s was “a semidemocratic regime headed in an increasingly authoritarian direction”.
The populist: "populists get their impetus from crisis, breakdown or threat, and often use 'bad manners', in the form of their disregard for acting 'appropriately' in the political sphere.
This takes the form of using 'political incorrectness', slang and 'colourful' behaviour as opposed to the more rigid 'proper' behaviour we tend to expect from our representatives.
So in what ways was Chávez a populist?
First and foremost, he presented himself as the true voice of 'the people'. Prone to talking about himself in the third person, he claimed to the Venezuelan public "you are not going to re-elect Chávez really, you are going to re-elect yourselves – the people will re-elect the people. Chávez is nothing but an instrument of the people".
His version of 'the people' primarily included the poor of the country. He initially opposed 'the people' to old party elites from the puntofujismo system, but this began to expand as his presidency went on, with his version of ‘the enemy’ gradually taking in the domestic opposition, and finally an international conspiracy led by the United States."