For Hugo Chávez, staying in power is as much an instinct as crawling is for a caterpillar. Every time he goes overboard, like getting caught financing terrorists or trying to force a Soviet-style intelligence law on his nation, he scrambles to get back in everyone's good graces with an accommodating gesture or two. Today, weeks after being caught funding the FARC to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars, and days after the new intelligence reform bill was presented, and hours after Venezuelan national guard officers were caught in Colombian with 40,000 rifle cartridges, Chávez is playing the chastened schoolboy. He is now encouraging the FARC to lay down their weapons and has removed the intelligence bill from consideration.
This is certainly a positive development, but I don't think it represents a long-term shift of priorities from Chávez. There's no reason to think he wants anything other than to stay in power indefinitely, and is inching toward that goal, two steps forward, one backwards. The objective for the international community has to be to keep him in his box, though unfortunately there's no international consensus on what his box should properly be. The nations that are most able to influence his actions (Brazil, Chile, Argentina, Colombia, and, until 2002, the United States) don't act in concert. The absence of any consensus on how to deal with Chávez allows him to play one nation off the other, and manipulate every situation to his maximum advantage.
My ideal scenario: Chávez would lighten up on the meddling in other nations as South American leaders (especially Lula and Bachelet) made it clear that they wouldn't accept it. At the same time, Venezuelan voters (and the military) would refuse to accept any constitutional modification to allow him to stay in office permanently. The United States would quietly (very, very quietly) support both developments. Then, hopefully, Chávez's time in office would wind down in relative tranquility, and in 2012 he would exit the world stage. [Fingers: crossed]