Venezuela: Political Conditions and U.S. Policy
LIBRARY OF CONGRESS WASHINGTON DC CONGRESSIONAL RESEARCH SERVICE
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Under the populist rule of President Hugo Ch vez, first elected in 1998 and most recently 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 Ch vez, who has survived several attempts to remove him from power. The government has benefitted from the rise in world oil prices, which has sparked an economic boom and allowed Ch vez to increase expenditures on social programs. associated with his populist agenda. After he was reelected, Ch vez announced new measures to move the country toward socialism. His May 2007 closure of a popular Venezuelan television station RCTV that was critical of the government sparked protests. President Ch vez was dealt a setback in December 2007 when his proposed constitutional amendment package defeated by a close margin in a national referendum. State and local elections scheduled for November 23, 2008 will be a significant political test for the government and the opposition.
- Government and Political Science