Venezuela: Background and U.S. Relations [Updated June 4, 2019]   [open pdf - 1MB]

From the Summary: "Venezuela remains in a deep political and economic crisis under the authoritarian rule of Nicolás Maduro of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela. Maduro, narrowly elected in 2013 after the death of Hugo Chávez (president, 1999-2013), began a second term on January 10, 2019, that most Venezuelans and much of the international community consider illegitimate. Since January, Juan Guaidó, president of Venezuela's democratically elected, opposition-controlled National Assembly, has sought to form an interim government to serve until internationally observed elections can be held. Although the United States and 53 other countries recognize Guaidó as interim president, the military high command, supported by Russia and Cuba, has remained loyal to Maduro. Venezuela is in a political stalemate as conditions in the country deteriorate. Venezuela's economy has collapsed. It is plagued by hyperinflation, severe shortages of food and medicine, and electricity blackouts that have worsened an already dire humanitarian crisis. In April 2019, United Nations officials estimated that some 90% of Venezuelans are living in poverty and 7 million need humanitarian assistance. Maduro has blamed U.S. sanctions for these problems, but most observers cite economic mismanagement and corruption under Chávez and Maduro for the current crisis. U.N. agencies estimate that 3.7 million Venezuelans had fled the country as of March 2019, primarily to other Latin American and Caribbean countries."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, R44841
Public Domain
Retrieved From:
Congressional Research Service: https://crsreports.congress.gov/
Media Type:
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