More on Venezuela
However, I now think I would like to go and hang out for a few days. Here is what Lonely Planet (which is really fun) has to say: Venezuela has epic proportions: it has South America's largest lake and third-longest river, the highest waterfall in the world, and the longest of all snakes. It also has jaguars, armadillos and some of the most spectacular landscapes you'll ever see...If you could channel-surf for landscape, Venezuela would tire out any remote.
I realize that this doesn't quite address the issue of Muslim extremists, but I am sure that the Catholics (96% of the population) and the Protestants (the only other religious group mentioned at LP) will be able to keep those extremists under control. In all seriousness, though, Chavez is a complicated figure. Here is an article from the Christian Broadcasting Network (outlining Robertson's position) and one from Time (criticizing Robertson's Statements). Still, as we read these articles and others like them, it is worth remembering that Chavez was, of all things, elected (in '98 and '00)!
Here is a brief description of Chavez from Lonely Planet:
Chavez is a charismatic populist who hosted his own television show during which he took calls from the public and sang songs, but his government has presided over a turbulent period, and only partly because of its own mismanagement and political clumsiness. Key national institutions, including the media, banks, the church, sections of the armed forces and the nationalised petrol industry, have destabilised the government. In April 2002, following widespread demonstrations, a coup blessed by the US and Spain landed Chavez in detention. Being a military man, he was back in power within three days when the interim government collapsed.
However, this did not put an end to the strife and unrest that were plaguing the country. A nine week general strike in 2003 further deteriorated confidence in Chavez and before long there were calls for a referendum on his rule. After stalling and deferring on the referendum, in August 2004 Chavez won the referendum to serve his term until 2006.
Oh yes! check out the pictures at Lonely Planet. Venezuela really is quite pretty...