Those would seem to be the options. Depending on who's telling you, Hugo Chavez was either the most enlightened leader of the century who's lifted Venezuela out of poverty, or an economically clueless tyrannical despot. There's little suggestion he could have been anything in-between.
The usual double standards would seem to apply. For example, it was wrong for Mr. Chavez to befriend the President of an oppressive theocratic state
But it was right for George W. Bush to befriend the King of an oppressive theocratic state
But it wasn't wrong for Donald Rumsfeld to meet him and sell him the weapons he used to commit mass murder
And it was wrong for Mr. Chavez to meet Colonel Gaddafi
But the same standard doesn't seem to apply to Tony Blair
This last one I'm not going to try and justify
In the short video below Abby Martin gives a somewhat more balanced view of Mr. Chavez and his relationship to the United States.
Pro Chavez article from Global Research, touches on the speculative 'US gave him cancer question':
Article critical of Hugo Chavez's economic policies: