Mr Chavez has instead lavished the windfall of the world's largest known oil reserves to support his left-wing allies abroad and cement the loyalty of the dependant poor at home.

Mr Coronel, a former oil industry executive who tracks corruption in his homeland, estimates that Mr Chavez has spent a mind-boggling $1 trillion of state funds to support foreign allies or domestic political constituencies who support him.

But that lavish cheque-book socialism has taken a disastrous toll on coffers that should be flush thanks to high oil prices.
This is a small piece from an interesting article, does any of it sound somewhat familiar?