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Hugo Chávez: A Test for U.S. Policy

By Michael Shifter
March 8, 2007

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The relationship with Venezuela poses a major challenge for U.S. policy in the hemisphere, but Washington has shown little skill or consistency when dealing with Hugo Chávez as he moves to polarize the region and disrupt the U.S. agenda, according to a special Inter-American Dialogue report released today. The report, by Michael Shifter, vice-president for policy at the Dialogue, offers ten guidelines to help U.S. government officials formulate a more coherent approach to the complex Venezuelan situation and build a more effective presence in the region.

In addition, the report addresses the impact of Chávez’s growing international profile on U.S.-Venezuela relations, particularly the varied economic ties within the region and the connection with Iran. The monograph also presents analysis of internal Venezuelan issues such as the growing military role in politics, the moves towards nationalization, and efforts to restrict press freedom.