Venezuela: Political Conditions and U.S. Policy [Updated December 22, 2006]   [open pdf - 322KB]

From the Summary: "Under the populist rule of President Hugo Chávez, […] most recently re-elected to a six-year term in early December 2006, Venezuela has undergone enormous political changes, with a new constitution, a new unicameral legislature, and even 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 speech and press […]. As a result [of the benefit from the rise in oil prices], Chávez has been able to increase government expenditures on anti-poverty and other social programs associated with his populist agenda. […] U.S. officials have expressed concerns about President Chávez's plans for military arms purchases, his relations with such countries as Cuba and Iran, and his efforts to export his brand of populism to other Latin American countries. A dilemma for U.S. policymakers has been how to press the Chávez government to adhere to democratic principles […]. In the 109th Congress, the FY2006 Foreign Operations appropriations measure (P.L. 109-102) provided $2 million in Democracy Funds for Venezuela, and $2.2 million in assistance under the Andean Counterdrug Initiative (ACI). […]. Two resolutions on Venezuela were approved in the 109th Congress. H.Con.Res. 400 (Burton), approved July 26, 2006, condemned Venezuela's failures to stem the flow of narcotics through its territory and called for steps to restore cooperation between Venezuela and the Drug Enforcement Administration. S.Res. 607 (Bunning), approved by unanimous consent on December 6, 2006, condemned President Chávez's anti-American rhetoric […]."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, RL32488
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