More information about Venezuela is available on the Venezuela Page and from other Department of State publications and other sources listed at the end of this fact sheet.
Following Venezuela’s withdrawal in 1830 from its federation with Colombia, the United States established diplomatic relations with Venezuela in 1835. The U.S.-Venezuelan relationship has been tense in recent years, although the two nations agreed at the 2009 Summit of the Americas to seek a relationship based on mutual interest. Venezuela's president has defined himself in opposition to the United States, criticizing the U.S. government and U.S. relations with Latin America. He has been in office since 1999 and was re-elected for a third term on October 7, 2012, and his vision of "21st Century Socialism" for Venezuela has included periods of rule by decree on a broad range of issues. The Venezuelan ambassador to the United States had his visa revoked in December 27, 2010, after the Venezuelan president withdrew his approval of the diplomat nominated to be the U.S. ambassador to Venezuela, and both countries are represented by a Charge d’ Affaires. Despite tensions in the relationship, both countries have had limited bilateral counternarcotics cooperation, and the U.S. government continues to seek constructive engagement with the Venezuelan government, focusing on areas of mutual interest. Examples of such overlapping interests include counternarcotics, counterterrorism, commerce, and energy.
U.S. Assistance to Venezuela
U.S. assistance to Venezuela seeks to strengthen democracy and freedom of expression, support independent civil society, and promote national dialogue.
Bilateral Economic Relations
The United States is Venezuela's most important trading partner. U.S. exports to Venezuela include machinery, organic chemicals, agricultural products, optical and medical instruments, autos and auto parts. Oil dominates U.S. imports from Venezuela, which is one of the top four suppliers of foreign oil to the United States. About 500 U.S. companies are represented in Venezuela. U.S. foreign direct investment in Venezuela is concentrated largely in the petroleum, manufacturing, and finance sectors.
In 2011, the Secretary of State decided to impose sanctions on Venezuela's state oil company (PDVSA) for delivering at least three cargoes of reformate, a blending component for gasoline, to Iran between December 2010 and March 2011. The sanctions prohibit PDVSA from competing for U.S. Government contracts, securing financing from the Export-Import Bank of the United States, and obtaining export licenses.
Venezuela's Membership in International Organizations
Venezuela and the United States belong to a number of the same international organizations, including the United Nations, Organization of American States, International Monetary Fund, World Bank, and World Trade Organization.
There currently is no U.S. Ambassador to Venezuela; the U.S. Charge d'Affaires is James M. Derham. Other principal embassy officials are listed in the Department's Key Officers List.
Venezuela maintains an embassy in the United States at 1099 30th St. NW, Washington, DC 20007; tel. (202) 342-2214.
More information about Venezuela is available from the Department of State and other sources, some of which are listed here:
Department of State Venezuela Country Page
Department of State Key Officers List
CIA World Factbook Venezuela Page
U.S. Embassy: Venezuela
History of U.S. Relations With Venezuela
Human Rights Reports
International Religious Freedom Reports
Trafficking in Persons Reports
Narcotics Control Reports
Investment Climate Statements
Office of the U.S. Trade Representative Countries Page
U.S. Census Bureau Foreign Trade Statistics
Library of Congress Country Studies
Travel and Business Information