"Venezuela is in a deep political crisis under the authoritarian rule of President Nicolás Maduro of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV). Narrowly elected to a six-year term in 2013 following the death of populist President Hugo Chávez (1999-2013), Maduro is unpopular. Nevertheless, he has used the courts, security forces, and electoral council to repress and divide the opposition, grouped in the Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD) coalition. [...] The United States has spoken out about setbacks to democracy and human rights in Venezuela, called for the release of political prisoners, expressed concern about the humanitarian situation, and supported dialogue. The U.S. government has employed targeted sanctions against Venezuelans responsible for human rights violations, undermining democracy, and public corruption, as well as those accused of drug trafficking and terrorism. On August 25, 2017, President Trump imposed economic sanctions that restrict the ability of the Venezuelan government and PdVSA ['Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A.']to access U.S. financial markets. Broader sanctions have been considered, but could have negative humanitarian impacts. The United States has supported efforts at the Organization of American States (OAS) to help resolve the situation in Venezuela, but those efforts have stalled."
CRS Report for Congress, R44841
Federation of American Scientists: http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/index.html