Venezuela: Political Conditions and U.S. Policy [February 5, 2009]   [open pdf - 804KB]

This CRS report focuses on Venezuela's political conditions and the U.S. policy response. "Under the populist rule of President Hugo Chávez, first elected in 1998 and reelected to a six-year term in December 2006, Venezuela has undergone enormous political changes, with a new constitution and unicameral legislature, and a new name for the country, the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. U.S. officials and human rights organizations have expressed concerns about the deterioration of democratic institutions and threats to freedom of expression under President Chávez, who has survived several attempts to remove him from power. [...]. The United States traditionally has had close relations with Venezuela, the fourth major supplier of foreign oil to the United States, but there has been friction with the Chávez government. U.S. officials have expressed concerns about human rights, Venezuela's military arms purchases, its relations with Cuba and Iran, and its efforts to export its brand of populism to other Latin American countries. Declining cooperation on anti-drug and anti-terrorism efforts has also been a concern. [...]. It is unclear at this juncture whether U.S.-Venezuelan relations will improve under the Obama Administration. [...]. Just as over the past several years, concerns regarding Venezuela in the 111th Congress will likely focus on the state of democracy and human rights, energy, and terrorism issues."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, RL32488
Public Domain
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