11/20/2009 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Carter: Chavez Becoming Authoritarian

BOGOTA, Colombia — Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter says he is disappointed by Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez and concerned he is increasingly shifting toward an authoritarian regime.

Carter says Chavez initially helped the country by sharing national wealth. But Carter says Chavez is now consolidating political power, making it "almost impossible" for the Obama Administration to establish friendly relations with Venezuela.

Carter also said the United States may have played a role in an abortive coup against Chavez.

"I think there is no doubt that in 2002, the United States had at the very least full knowledge about the coup, and could even have been directly involved," Carter said.

His interview was published Sunday by Colombia's newspaper El Tiempo.