Everything I've read is that crime -- not the political situation -- is the bigger worry in Venezuela. I think the Chavez controversy is really just between countrymen, and a traveler isn't likely to get embroiled in it.
And if you're going off to the smaller towns, you'll likely be even better off. Usually there is less crime, less politics out in the countryside. Not that I've been there, mind you! It's just been my experience in Latin America in general.
And as for crime being a worry, well, I just went to El Salvador and had no problems. I think it is way overblown, in most respects. I mean, don't pick the shadiest looking street and walk down it counting your money, just use common sense and you'll be fine!
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"Life is not measured in the number of breaths we take, but by the places that take our breath away..."