The United States traditionally has had close relations with Venezuela, a major supplier of foreign oil, but there has been friction in relations under the government of populist President Hugo Chávez. U.S. officials have expressed concerns about human rights, Venezuela's military arms purchases, its relations with Cuba and Iran, and its efforts to export its brand of populism to other Latin American countries. Declining cooperation on anti-drug and anti-terrorism efforts has also been a concern.
This report covers the issues Venezuela poses for Congress. It examines the Venezualian political situation, its economic conditions, the United States policy toward Venezuela, and the legislative initiatives of the 111th Congress regarding this foreign nation.