1. His sense of history is overpowering. He is obsessed - truly obsessed - with Simón Bolívar, sometimes giving the impression that he sees himself as a reincarnation of the great man. I like politicians with a strong sense of the past: Winston Churchill and Michael Foot had it, Tony Blair hadn't. When a visiting Spanish MEP made the mistake of mentioning that he was interested in Venezuela's Federal Wars, Chávez called for a table and maps and lectured us for more than three hours about the period. When my Spanish friend broke in to say that he was in danger of missing his flight to Madrid, Chávez snapped: "Don't worry: I won't let it leave without you." No one took it for a joke.
2. He seems genuinely motivated, ten years on, by the desire to ameliorate the lot of the majority. True, his policies have left the poor as poor as ever. But to be trying at all after all this time is unusual in Venezuela.
3. No one has accused him of embezzlement. While the massive expansion of the state over which he has presided could hardly fail to increase opportunities for nepotism and graft, and a new class of chavistas is growing rich on state contracts, he personally is untainted by corruption.
4. He's a proper radical, the genuine article. Politicians tend to mellow over time, to become part of the system they once attacked, but he is as determined as ever to reshape the world. If he were in Europe, I'm sure he'd be anti-EU.
5. He is a truly global statesman, whose peculiar ideology has spilled out from behind his borders. He has mimics throughout Latin America, notably in Bolivia, Ecuador and Nicaragua. True, they too are slowly asphyxiating their democracies, but give Chávez credit: not many leaders pour such energy and resources into countries which can do little for them in return.http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/daniel_hannan/blog/2009/02/02/five_nice_things_to_say_about_hugo_chavez_on_his_anniversary