Here is a good article from the WP that analyzes the situation in Venezuela with an ill Hugo Chavez and speculation on what course the country will take after he is no longer President.
One sure thing that will happen after Chavez’s absence is that the United States will rejoice. Why? Because the U.S., under the Bush administration, succeeded in demonizing him. But Chavez has stated many times over the years that he is not against the U.S. but rather he was insulted by the way he was treated by the Bush regime due to his socialist ideals and his ouster of U.S. influence in Venezuela. And as for his alliances with so-called American enemies like Cuba, Iran, and others, is a result of the black-balling he received by the U.S. State Dept.
So the United States government cannot be more pleased by the possibility of Chavez’s demise due to illness, but Chavez has done many things for the Venezuelan people. His leftist policies has aided the poor in his country while keeping the ultra-rich there in check. Their is know doubt that Chavez will maintain his popularity among the people even if he is soon gone.