"This report, divided into three main sections, examines the political and economic situation in Venezuela and U.S.-Venezuelan relations. The first section surveys the political transformation of Venezuela under the populist rule of President Hugo Chávez (1999-2013) and the first two years of the government of President Nicolás Maduro, including the government's severe crackdown on opposition protests in 2014. The second section analyzes Venezuela's political and economic environment since 2015, including the opposition's December 2015 legislative victory and the Maduro government's attempts to thwart the powers of the legislature; efforts to remove President Maduro through a recall referendum; deteriorating economic and social conditions in the country; and the government's foreign policy orientation. The third section examines U.S. relations with Venezuela, including the imposition of sanctions on Venezuelan officials, and selected issues in U.S. relations--democracy and human rights, energy, counternarcotics, and terrorism concerns. Appendix A provides information on legislative initiatives in the 113th and 114th Congresses, and Appendix B provides links to selected U.S. government reports on Venezuela."
CRS Report for Congress, R43239
Federation of American Scientists: http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/index.html