Venezuela continues protest the arrest of FARC leader Rodrigo Granda in Venezuela, and his quick extraction back to Colombia. Venezuela president Hugo Chavez brushes aside mounting evidence of Venezuela being a safe haven for senior FARC leaders, and threatens to cut off trade with Colombia and escalate the dispute. Part of this is ego, part of it is theater, and part of it is customer relations (FARC was allowed to hang out in Venezuela in return for not carrying out any criminal or terrorist acts in Venezuela). But this does not mean that the current government in Venezuela is leftist. The political movement of president Hugo Chavez is much more like Argentinean Juan Perons quasi-fascist movement than a real Marxist movement. Chavez has a lot more support from the lower middle class and the upper class than a genuine leftist regime would have. Juan Peron's experience in post World War II Argentina is very similar to Hugo Chavez in post Cold War Venezuela. Chavez's appeal is also blatantly nationalistic, rather than internationalist, another commonality with Peronism. Fascism was never unpopular in Latin America, and a lot of so-called leftist movements down there are actually quasi-fascist.
The Chavez ties with Cuba are no big deal, since Castro is essentially a frustrated fascist rather than an over-the-hill communist. Francos Spain was one of the few places from which you could fly to Cuba during the height of the Cold War, and Francos last prime minister, Fraga, was a close friend of Castro; all three men have their roots in the Spanish Galicia region, where Castro actually vacations at times. Even Fidels oratorical style, which Chavez seems to be emulating, is more fascist than communist; pure Mussolini in fact.