Underlying Conditions

The social, political, and economic platforms that constitute the Venezuelan state beginning in the 21st-century, have been nearly entirely shaped by oil. Prior to oil, Venezuela was one of the poorest countries in Latin America and was ruled primarily by shifting caudillos. The lack of administrative structures or even a strong state identity allowed foreign oil companies an easy pass when they first began drilling in 1914. Venezuelan military dictatorships were suddenly embraced by foreign oil companies including, Royal Dutch Shell, Gulf, and Standard Oil who came to control 98 percent of the Venezuelan oil market by the 1930s. These oil companies were granted concessions by dictators in exchange for wealth and power.

Conflict Summary

Wracked by hyperinflation, severe food and medicine shortages, soaring crime rates, and an increasingly authoritarian executive, Venezuela is in the midst of an unprecedented political and economic crisis. Experts say the Venezuelan economy has shrunk more than 50 percent since Maduro became president in 2013. An estimated 3.4 million Venezuelans have fled the country in the past five years while 25 percent of the population remains in need of dire assistance. In addition, Venezuela's crisis has only been deepened by U.S. sanctions against the Venezuelan oil industry, the Venezuelan gold mining industry, and the Central Bank of Venezuela, cutting off its access to U.S. currency and limiting its ability to conduct international transactions. In an interview in February of 2019 Maduro expressed concerned that a potential civil war could ensue if the U.S. and its western allies choose to intervene more aggressively in Venezuela’s internal affairs. In April of that same year, after years of accusing aid shipments of being a political ploy by the US and refusing to allow any foreign aid to enter the country, Maduro finally allowed the entry of a shipment of emergency supplies from the Red Cross. In 2019, the average income in Venezuela was reported by ENCOVI, to be at 72 cents per day with 96 percent of Venezuelans living in poverty and 70 percent living in extreme poverty.


“Maduro, who was not reelected via free and fair elections, clings to power through the use of force. His policies are marked by authoritarianism, intolerance for dissent, and violent and systematic repression of human rights and fundamental freedoms – including the use of torture, arbitrary detentions, extrajudicial killings, and the holding of more than 400 prisoners of conscience. Maduro has been sanctioned by the Office of Foreign Assets Control, and in 2020 the Department of Justice charged him with offenses related to narco-terrorism and drug trafficking...The Maduro regime’s irresponsible intervention in the economy has facilitated widespread corruption and stoked hyperinflation leading to negative economic growth and a humanitarian crisis, including food, energy, and water shortages, in a country with the world’s largest proven oil reserves.”

- U.S. Department of State. 

In a prerecorded speech Maduro denounced what he referred to as the “criminal, inhuman aggression” by the U.S. aimed at ousting him from power, and added that Venezuela would resist. “The world must know that we are prepared to fight with the force of our history, our spirit, reason and international law...We must demand the cessation of all unilateral coercive measures, of all the alleged sanctions, and that they allow our people to exercise their own rights.”

- Nicolas Maduro.


“The dictatorial regime of Nicolás Maduro with its ties to drug trafficking and human rights violations is also usurping Venezuela’s right to speak...Today I call upon all representatives of the member states...to consider a strategy that contemplates different scenarios after the diplomatic route has been exhausted,”

- Juan Guaido.


“I am deeply worried about the potentially severe impact on the human rights of the people of Venezuela of the new set of unilateral sanctions imposed by the US this week...The sanctions are extremely broad and fail to contain sufficient measures to mitigate their impact on the most vulnerable sectors of the population.”

- UN Human Rights Chief, Michelle Bachelet.

Critical Thinking Questions

  1. Why are the U.S. sanctions on Venezuela necessary for U.S. security?
  2. What elements of internal law and Venezuelan society need to be taken into account when determining the legitimacy of an elected leader?
  3. What alternative measures, besides economic sanctions, can the U.S. pursue to achieve its desired end?
  4. What is the juxtaposition between a realist, liberal, and critical theory/Marxist analysis of this conflict?
  5. What measures can be taken by either the international community or the Venezuelan government to mend the extreme poverty impacting a significant majority of the population?
  6. Does the international community have an obligation to ensure the welfare of Venezuelan citizens?
  7. How might Venezuela's economy be restructured to ensure long-term stability in the future?

Latest News

RSS Venezuela – Local News

  • Venezuela: Ruling Party Pledges to Respect Election Results October 28, 2021
    TODAY VENEZUELA – The ruling United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) affirmed that it will respect the electoral results of the regional elections of next November 21, and indicated that it expects the opposition to do the same. “November 22 is very important, because on November 22 Venezuela has to wake up in peace, with […]
    Today News
  • How to Impress a Ukrainian Woman October 28, 2021
    Have you met a cute Ukrainian girl but don’t know how to make your companionship do not stop? If you want to impress a girl by correspondence, you should stick to certain rules and avoid common mistakes. That way, you can quickly achieve the primary goal of communication. Decide On What You Are Willing to […]
    Today News
  • Venezuela to reopen border with Colombia October 5, 2021
    TODAY VENEZUELA – Venezuela is to reopen its border with Colombia, Venezuelan Vice President Delcy Rodriguez said in a state television address on Monday, October 4, 2021. Rodriguez said in the speech that border trade would resume on Tuesday, today, October 5. #EnVideo || La Vicepdta. Ejecutiva @delcyrodriguezv, anunció que a partir del día de […]
    Today News
  • Sex, COVID-19 and the reinvention of adult’s webpages  August 27, 2021
    The current situation is historic and unique. The global pandemic has changed everything. Work from home, quarantine, social isolation… All the measures taken by the governments around the world to curb the contagions have changed the reality of everyone. Everything that was taken for granted or normal is now just the opposite. But to what […]
    Today News
  • “A Psychopath!”: Maduro Calls Bolsonaro April 6, 2021
    TODAY VENEZUELA (Q24N)  In a harsh tone, the President of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro, did not spare insults to his Brazilian counterpart, Jair Bolsonaro, during a speech to the nation Sunday afternoon. Taking stock of the covid-19 pandemic in his country, Maduro fired: “It is a disaster, the Brazilian mutant should be called ‘the Bolsonaro mutant’… […]
    Today News
  • Venezuela to introduce one million bolivar banknote March 6, 2021
    TODAY VENEZUELA – The Central Bank of Venezuela (BCV) announced Friday the introduction of three new banknotes: 200,000, 500,000 and one million bolivars. But with inflation skyrocketing, the highest denominated bill has a value of just $0.52 cents, according to the official dollar exchange rate. These new notes will circulate alongside the 10,000, 20,000, and […]
    Today News
  • What should Biden do about Venezuela? March 6, 2021
    TODAY VENEZUELA – Former US President Donald Trump’s policy of maximum pressure on the Venezuelan dictatorship failed to dislodge the regime or alleviate the humanitarian crisis. If Joe Biden is to succeed, he will need a policy that makes life as burdensome as possible for the elite and as bearable and democratic as possible for […]
    Today News


Conflict Assessment

Parties Involved

Nicolás Maduro

Democratically elected president of Venezuela. His second term election in 2018 has been widely condemned as fraudulent by the international community. Russia, however, continues to support Maduro’s government with billions of dollars in loans, and Cuba has provided intelligence support. While Venezuela’s poorest people are suffering the most as a result of the current economic crisis, many remain loyal to Mr. Maduro as the heir to Hugo Chávez, the longtime socialist leader who commanded an enormous following. And one of Mr. Maduro’s firmest pillars of support, the military, remains officially on his side.

Juan Guaidó

Elected leader of the National Assembly, a governmental body which Maduro has stripped of legitimate power through constitutional revisions. Guaidó declared himself interim president in January of 2019 during a mass demonstration against the Maduro government. U.S, Canada, and many Latin American and European countries support Guaidó and continue to pressure Maduro to step down through the use of economic sanctions.


Jan 23

Self-appointed Juan Guaido

After Maduro’s inauguration Venezuelans protest in the streets calling for him to step down. Juan Guaidó declares himself interim president until fair elections can be held, citing emergency powers granted from the constitution. Maduro refuses to step down.Continue Reading


May 20

Maduro Re-elected

Maduro is reelected president despite claims of fraud from the opposition. The U.S. accuses the election as unfair and anti-democratic before any voting even takes place.Continue Reading


Aug 04

Constituent Assembly

The Constituent Assembly, a new legislative body with sweeping powers to rewrite the constitution and dissolve the National Assembly, is sworn in after in election that was boycotted by the opposition.Continue Reading


Dec 01

Supermajority in National Assembly

Opposition party secures supermajority in National Assembly. Maduro responds by stacking supreme court with justices loyal to him. The supreme court later blocks four newly elected lawmakers from joining the assembly.Continue Reading


Apr 30

Maduro Needs to Go

Opposition leaders begin campaign to remove Maduro from office. Thousands of Venezuelans protest Maduro’s government over a three-month period of violent demonstrations. Venezuela’s Central Bank confirms that the country has entered a recession due to plummeting oil prices. The government is forced to make cuts rendering many poor Venezuelans withoutContinue Reading


Mar 05

End of Hugo Chavez

Hugo Chavez dies of cancer at 58. Nicolás Maduro, Chavez’s handpicked successor, is elected president.Continue Reading

Comments are closed, but trackbacks and pingbacks are open.