This is a must read from the Guardian on Hugo Chavez's attempt to regulate the Venezuelan economy through price controls and state takeovers of private industry.
The Guardian's report is extremely balanced and looks at both the positive and negative aspects of a highly regulated market place highlighting the genuine effort to keep basics affordable for every Venezuelan, while contrasting it with the often severe pressure it places on the business community.
While Americans would be shocked at the extent to which Chavez is ensuring food prices are kept low and would most likely see it as an infringement on individual freedom. Yet for those at the bottom end of the economic spectrum, more pressing needs like hunger are being catered to by the pro active government, so it really is a matter of priority.
I personally side with people having the means to feed themselves, and if that means regulating industry so it cannot sell certain food types above a certain price, then so be it. I do think that the Chavez government has an authoritarian streak that should be kept in check, but given he has been democratically elected three times, he has a mandate and is using to enact an agenda he hasn't exactly kept a secret.