While historically the United States has had close relations with Venezuela, a major oil supplier, friction in bilateral relations rose under the leftist populist government of President Hugo Chávez (1999-2013), who died in March 2013 after battling cancer for almost two years. After Chávez’s death, Venezuela held presidential elections in April 2013 in which acting President Nicolás Maduro, who had been serving as Chávez’s vice president, defeated Henrique Capriles of the opposition Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD) by a margin of just 1.5%, with the opposition alleging significant irregularities. Venezuela’s December 2013 municipal elections demonstrated mixed results for the ruling United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) and the MUD.
Date of Report: May 20, 2015
Order Number: IF10230
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