volveré y seré millones
You said it: Supposedly. Comes to show how badly news and information flow globally from Latin America, as they're channeled mostly by a bunch of corporations that digest and regurgitate it beyond recognition, on purpose. Venezuela has a capitalist economy, just with a higher level of State intervention and socialist aspirations, even Cuba's economy is gradually opening up, such as by recently allowing people to buy cars, and a large chunk of the region (mainly on the Atlantic side) tends toward Keynesian or similar economics.
But now that -supposedly- all of the world (except some pictoresque regimes like North Korea Venezuela and Cuba- play "on the same team" (yup, everybody except these three is supposed to be staunchily capitalist, these days), there's no more reason for this middle class to exist.
Obama more or less wants to join the fun, actually, but the right is there to make the government inoperative, as is usual in this hemisphere, so he promised he'd do everything he could by means that don't rely on the legislature.
Justified in what sense? Over here we have programs that offer poorer people allowances in exchange for studying or sending kids to school, mortgage backing for lower or middle class people, many public school, universities and hospitals being built, key companies nationalized to ensure the economy serves the population and not huge foreign funds, higher or increasing salary buying power through strong unions that can negotiate in each sector, pricing agreements to mitigate inflation, central banks that respond to national policy rather than the needs of banking cartels, subsidies to ensure access to energy or transport, considerable infrastructure developments to ensure sewage and energy reach more and more people, free netbooks for all kids in school, policies that empower many sorts of local cultural events, and so on.
Nor are the overheads associated with keeping it afloat (good salaries, nice homes, affordable consumer loans, welfare state...) justified anymore. It's pretty much the same as giving a child a nice toy just for shows, but taking it away from it just when it was starting to have some fun with it.