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15. Venezuela (1913-present)

Crisis Phase (August 1, 1913-December 18, 1935): Former President Castro led a rebellion against the government beginning in August 1913, and government troops suppressed the rebellion in January 1914. The Congress elected Victoriano Marquez Bustillos as provisional president on April 19, 1914. A new constitution was adopted in June 1914, which provided for congressional election of presidents for seven-year terms. The Congress elected General Vicente Gomez as president on May 3, 1915. President Vicente Gomez was re-elected by the Congress in May 1922, and he was inaugurated as president on June 24, 1922. A new constitution went into effect on June 19, 1922, which prohibited the president from also serving as commander-in-chief of the military. General Juan Gomez, the brother of President Vicente Gomez, was appointed as First Vice-President. General Juan Gomez was murdered in the presidential palace on July 1, 1923. J. R. Gabaldon led a rebellion against the government in the states of Lara, Trujillo, and Portuguesa in 1928, but government troops suppressed the rebellion. President Gomez was re-elected by the Congress on April 19, 1929, but President Gomez declined the re-election. The Congress elected Juan Bautista Perez as president on May 30, 1929, and the Congress selected General Vicente Gomez to serve as commander-in-chief of the military. General Vicente Gomez took control of the government in 1930. The National Democratic Party (Partido Democratico Nacional – PDN) was established by Romulo Betancourt, Gonzalo Barrios, Raul Leoni, and Luis Beltran Prieto Figueroa on March 22, 1931. President Gomez suppressed a military rebellion led by General Arevalo Cedeno in 1931. The Communist Party of Venezuela (Partido Communista de Venezolano – PCV) was established by Rodolfo Quintero, Juan Bautista Tamayo, and Francisco Jose Delgado was established in 1931. President Gomez died on December 17, 1935, and General Eleazar Lopez Contreras was appointed as provisional president on December 18, 1935.

Post-Crisis Phase (December 19, 1935-October 17, 1945): General Lopez Contreras was elected president by the Congress on April 25, 1936. A new constitution that limited the president’s term in office to a single five-year term went into effect on July 20, 1936. General Isaias Medina Angarita was elected president by the Congress on April 28, 1941, and he was inaugurated as president on May 5, 1941. The National Democratic Party (Partido Democratico Nacional – PDN) was renamed the Democratic Action (Accion Democratica – AD) on September 13, 1941.

Crisis Phase (October 18, 1945-February 15, 1948): General Medina Angarita was overthrown in a rebellion led by the AD and Patriotic Military Union (Union Patriotica Militar – UPM) on October 18-21, 1945, resulting in the deaths of some 200 individuals. A seven-member revolutionary junta took control of the government on October 19, 1945. Romulo Betancourt of the AD was appointed as provisional president on October 21, 1945. The US provided diplomatic assistance (diplomatic recognition) to the government on October 30, 1945. The Democratic Republican Union (Union Republicana Democratica – URD) was established by Jovito Villalba, Dionisio Lopez Orihuela, Enrique Betancourt Galindez, and Luis Miquelena in opposition to the government on March 12, 1946. Elections for the Constituent Assembly were held on October 27, 1946, and the AD won 137 seats. The Constituent Assembly convened in Caracas on December 7, 1946, and approved a new constitution on July 5, 1947.  Legislative elections were held on December 14, 1947, and the AD won 83 out of 110 seats in the Chamber of Deputies. Romulo Gallegos Freire of the AD was elected president on December 14, 1947, and he was inaugurated as president on February 15, 1948. Some 200 individuals were killed during the crisis.

Post-Crisis Phase (February 16, 1948-November 23, 1948):

Crisis Phase (November 24, 1948-February 14, 1959): President Gallegos Freire was overthrown in a military coup on November 24, 1948. President Romulo Gallegos Freire was overthrown in a military coup on November 24, 1948, and a three-member military junta headed by Colonel Carlos Delgado Chalbaud took control of the government on November 25, 1948. The military junta dissolved the Congress on December 5, 1948. Brazil provided diplomatic assistance (diplomatic recognition) to the military junta on January 17, 1949. Panama and the US provided diplomatic assistance (diplomatic recognition) to the military junta on January 21, 1949. The military junta banned the Communist Party of Venezuela (Partido Communista Venezolano – PCV) headed by Juan Bautista Fuenmayor on May 16, 1950. Colonel Delgado Chalbaud was assassinated in Caracas on November 13, 1950, and German Suarez Flamerich was appointed as provisional president on November 27, 1950. The government suppressed a rebellion on October 12, 1951, resulting in the deaths of nine individuals.  Legislative elections were held on May 11-13, 1952. The government suppressed rebellions against the government of President Suarez Flamerich on September 29-October 1, 1952, resulting in the deaths of eight individuals. Elections for the Constituent Assembly were held on November 30, 1952, and the Frente Electoral Independiente (FEI) won 59 out of 104 seats. The Republican Democratic Union (Union Republicana Democratica – URD) won 29 seats in the Constituent Assembly. Opposition groups claimed election fraud. Ignacio Arcaya, president of the URD, was arrested on December 1, 1952. Lt. Colonel Marcos Perez Jimenez took control of the government on December 2, 1952. Lt. Colonel Perez Jimenez was elected provisional president by the Constituent Assembly on January 9, 1953, and he was inaugurated as provisional president on January 10, 1953. The Constituent Assembly approved a new constitution on April 11, 1953, and the constitution went into effect on April 15, 1953. The Constituent Assembly elected Lt. Colonel Perez Jimenez as president on April 17, 1953, and he was inaugurated as president on April 19, 1953. The Roman Catholic Church denounced the government on May 1, 1957. The Democratic Action (Accion Democratica – AD) and URD established the Patriotic Front (PF) in opposition to the government on June 11, 1957. President Perez Jimenez was approved by 72 percent of the voters in a referendum on December 15, 1957. Government troops suppressed a military rebellion led by General Hugo Fuentes and Colonel Jesus Maria Castro Leon in Maracay on January 1-2, 1958. Some 300 individuals were killed by government troops during demonstrations in Caracas on January 14-22, 1958. President Perez Jimenez was overthrown in a military rebellion on January 22, 1958, and a seven-member military junta headed by Rear Admiral Wolfgang Larrazabal took control of the government on January 23, 1958. The US provided diplomatic assistance (diplomatic recognition) to the military junta on January 28, 1958. Government troops suppressed a military rebellion led by Defense Minister Jesus Maria Castro Leon in Caracas on July 22-23, 1958. Government troops suppressed a military rebellion led by Lt. Colonel Jose Mendoza and Major Regulo Vivas Ramirez in Caracas on September 7-8, 1958, resulting in the deaths of some 20 individuals. Political leaders signed the Pact of Punto Fijo on October 31, 1958, which provided for the sharing of political power among the political parties. Rear-Admiral Larrazabal resigned as head of the military junta on November 14, 1958, and Edgard Sanabria was appointed as head of the military junta on November 15, 1958. Congressional elections were held on December 7, 1958, and the AD won 73 seats in the Chamber of Deputies. The URD won 34 seats in the Chamber of Deputies. Romulo Betancourt of the AD was elected president with 47 percent of the vote on December 7, 1958, and he was inaugurated as president on February 14, 1959. One individual was killed in election-related violence. Some 550 individuals were killed during the crisis.

Post-Crisis Phase (February 15, 1959-April 8, 1960): Three government policemen and one civilian were killed during demonstrations in Caracas on August 4, 1959.

Crisis Phase (April 9, 1960-February 19, 1963): The Movement of the Revolutionary Left (Movimiento de Izquierda Revolucionaria – MIR) was established in opposition to the government on April 9, 1960. Cuba provided military assistance to MIR. The government suppressed a rebellion in San Cristobal on April 20-21, 1960, resulting in the deaths of two civilians and one government soldier. President Betancourt survived an attempted assassination in Caracas on June 24, 1960, resulting in the deaths of three individuals. President Betancourt accused the government of the Dominican Republic of involvement in the assassination attempt on June 25, 1960. Venezuela referred the matter to the Organization of American States (OAS) Council on July 1, 1960. The OAS Council established a five-member commission of inquiry on July 8, 1960. On August 15, 1960, the OAS commission of inquiry reported that the Dominican Republic was linked to the assassination attempt by Venezuelan exiles. Six individuals were killed during demonstrations in Caracas on October 24-31, 1960. Eight individuals were killed during anti-government demonstrations in Caracas on November 25-29, 1960. A new constitution went into effect on January 23, 1961. Government troops suppressed a military rebellion led by Major Ruben Masso Perdomo and Captain Luis Alberto Vivas Ramirez in Barcelona and La Guaira on June 26, 1961, resulting in the deaths of 17 individuals. On November 11, 1961, Venezuela severed diplomatic relations with Cuba following charges by the Venezuelan government that Cuba had been involved in supporting communist unrest in the country. Government troops and communist rebels clashed near the towns of Humocaro Alto and Humocaro Bajo on April 1, 1962, resulting in the deaths of nine individuals. Government troops suppressed a military rebellion led by Lt. Commander Jesus Teodoro Villegas Molina on May 4-5, 1962, resulting in the deaths of seven individuals. Government troops suppressed a military rebellion led by Lt. Commander Pedro Medina Silva and Captain Manuel Ponte Rodriguez on June 2-4, 1962, resulting in the deaths of some 300 individuals. The government banned the political activities of the PCV and MIR on May 10, 1962. Venezuela accused Cuba of providing military assistance to communist rebels in November 1962. Some 20 individuals were killed during demonstrations in Caracas on February 19-20, 1963. Some 400 individuals were killed during the crisis.

Conflict Phase (February 20, 1963-December 31, 1969): The Armed Forces of National Liberation (Fuerzas Armadas de Liberacion Nacional – FALN) began a rebellion against the government on February 20, 1963.  The Cuban government provided military assistance to the FALN. President Betancourt survived an attempted assassination in Ciudad Bolivar on June 12, 1963. FALN rebels killed five government soldiers on September 30, 1963. FALN rebels killed three government soldiers and three civilians in Caracas on October 4-5, 1963. The government discovered an arms cache on the Paraguana peninsula on November 1, 1963. On November 29, 1963, the government confirmed that the arms had originated in Cuba. Venezuela referred the matter to the Organization of American States (OAS) on November 30, 1963, and the OAS Council approved a five-member commission of inquiry (Argentina, Columbia, Costa Rica, US, Uruguay) on December 3, 1963. The OAS commission of inquiry, which included ten military observers and technicians, was in Venezuela from December 8-15, 1963. Raul Leoni of the AD was elected president on December 1, 1963, and he was inaugurated as president on March 11, 1964. On February 18, 1964, the OAS commission of inquiry issued a report that substantiated Venezuela’s claims against Cuba. Venezuelan rebels trained in Cuba were landed in Venezuela on July 24, 1966, and twelve Cuban and Venezuelan rebels unsuccessfully attempted to infiltrate into the country on May 8, 1967. Two Cuban soldiers were killed and two were captured during the attempted infiltration, and one government soldier was killed. Venezuela referred the matter to the OAS on May 15, 1967. The OAS Council established a commission of inquiry in June 1967 to investigate Venezuela’s claim that Cuba had helped smuggle commandos and weapons into the country. On May 18, 1967, Cuba admitted that it had trained and provided military assistance to FALN rebels. On July 26, 1967, the OAS commission of inquiry reported that Cuba had trained and supported the Venezuelan rebels (the OAS Council condemned Cuba for its aggression against Venezuela on July 26, 1967). Cuba ended its military assistance to FALN rebels in November 1968. Three individuals were killed in political violence in Trinchera on November 29, 1968, and two individuals were killed in political violence in the village of Tapatapa on December 19, 1968.  Legislative elections were held on December 1, 1968, and the AD won 68 out of 210 seats in the Chamber of Deputies. The Social Christian Party (Partido Social Cristiano – PSC) won 50 seats in the Chamber of Deputies.  Rafael Caldera Rodriguez of the PSC was elected president on December 1, 1968, and he was inaugurated as president on March 11, 1969.  President Caldera Rodriguez lifted the ban on the PCV on March 26, 1969. Government police and students clashed in Caracas on May 22-23, 1969.  FALN rebels attacked a village in Barinas province on June 9, 1969, and attacked Acurita in Falcon province on June 11, 1969.  Some 1,000 individuals were killed during the conflict.

Post-Conflict Phase (January 1, 1970-March 11, 1974): The government closed the University of Caracas on April 22, 1971.  Legislative elections were held on December 9, 1973, and the AD won 102 out of 203 seats in the Chamber of Deputies. Carlos Andres Perez of AD was elected president on December 9, 1973, and he was inaugurated as president on March 11, 1974.

Post-Crisis Phase (March 12, 1974-February 26, 1989):  Legislative elections were held on December 3, 1978, and the PSC won 86 out of 195 seats in the Chamber of Deputies. The AD also won 86 seats in the Chamber of Deputies. Luis Herrera Campins of the PSC was elected president on December 3, 1978, and he was inaugurated as president on March 12, 1979. Jaime Lusunchi of the AD was elected president on December 4, 1983, and he was inaugurated as president on February 2, 1984.  Legislative elections were held on December 4, 1988, and the AD won 97 out of 201 seats in the Chamber of Deputies. Carlos Andres Perez of the AD was elected president on December 4, 1988, and he was inaugurated as president in February 1989.

Crisis Phase (February 27, 1989-December 15, 1999): Government troops suppressed a rebellion on February 27, 1989, resulting in the deaths of 276 individuals.  The government suspended constitutional protections of individual civil liberties between February 28 and March 22, 1989.  Government troops suppressed a military rebellion led by Colonel Hugo Chavez of the Bolivian Revolutionary Movement-200 (MBR-200) on February 3-4, 1992, resulting in the deaths of some 40 individuals. Lt. Colonel Chavez Frias was arrested and imprisoned following the military rebellion.  The government suspended constitutional protections of individual civil liberties between February 4 and April 9, 1992.  The Organization of American States (OAS) Council condemned the military rebellion on February 5, 1992.  Government troops suppressed a military rebellion on November 27-29, 1992, resulting in the deaths of 142 civilians and 27 government soldiers.  The government suspended constitutional protections of individual civil liberties between November 27, 1992 and January 16, 1993.  State and local elections were held on December 6, 1992. The OAS sent observers to monitor the municipal elections. President Perez was suspended by the Senate on May 21, 1993, and Ramon Jose Velasquez was elected provisional president by the Congress on June 5, 1993.  Legislative elections were held on December 5, 1993, and the Democratic Action (Acción Democrática – AD) won 55 out of 203 seats in the Chamber of Deputies. The Radical Cause (La Causa Radical – LCR) won 40 seats in the Chamber of Deputies.  Rafael Caldera Rodriguez of the National Convergence (NC) coalition was elected president with 30 percent of the vote on December 5, 1993, and he was inaugurated as president on February 2, 1994. The OAS sent 31 observers to monitor the elections from November 24 to to December 13, 1993. President Caldera Rodriguez release Hugo Chavez Frias from prison in March 1994. The OAS sent 30 observers to monitor the presidential elections from November 24 to December 13, 1993. The government suspended constitutional protections of individual civil liberties between June 27, 1994 and July 6, 1995.  Legislative elections were held on November 8, 1998, and the Patriotic Front (PF) coalition won 70 out of 189 seats in the Chamber of Deputies.  Hugo Chavez of the PF coalition was elected president with 56 percent of the vote on December 6, 1998. The European Union (EU) sent observers to monitor the presidential election. The OAS sent 68 observers from 19 countries headed by Edgardo Reis to monitor the legislative elections beginning in October 1998. The Carter Center (CC) sent 40 observers headed by Jimmy Carter of the US and Patricio Aylwin of Chile to monitor the presidential election beginning on December 4, 1998. On December 7, 1998, the OAS mission reported that the elections had been free and fair. The International Republican Institute (IRI) sent 27 observers to monitor the election process beginning on November 8, 1998. The IRI mission issued its election report on February 12, 1999.  Constituent Assembly elections were held on July 25, 1999. The OAS sent 54 observers from 17 countries headed by Christopher Thomas of Trinidad and Tobago to monitor the Constituent Assembly elections on July 20-26, 1999. A new constitution was approved by 71 percent of voters in a referendum on December 15, 1999. The OAS sent 13 observers to monitor the referendum. Some 500 individuals were killed during the crisis.

Post-Crisis Phase (December 16, 1999-April 10, 2002):  Legislative elections were held on July 30, 2000, and the Fifth Republic Movement (Movimiento Quinta Republica – MQR) headed by President Chavez won 91 out of 165 seats in the National Assembly.  The Democratic Action (Accion Democratica – AD) won 33 seats in the National Assembly.  President Chavez was re-elected with some 60 percent of the vote on July 30, 2000, and he was inaugurated for a six-year term on August 19, 2000. The OAS sent 35 observers headed by Ruben Perina to monitor the elections beginning on July 17, 2000. The Carter Center (CC) sent 48 observers headed by Jimmy Carter of the US and Rodrigo Carazo of Costa Rica to monitor the legislative elections on July 27-31, 2000.

Crisis Phase (April 11, 2002-May 29, 2003): Sixteen individuals were killed in political violence in Caracas on April 11, 2002. President Chavez was overthrown by the military, and Pedro Carmona was appointed as interim president on April 12, 2002. The Rio Group (RG) condemned the overthrow of President Chavez on April 12, 2002. The Organization of American States (OAS) Permanent Council condemned the overthrow of President Chavez on April 14, 2002. President Chavez was restored to power on April 14, 2002. Some 25 individuals were killed in political violence on April 12-14, 2002. The OAS sent a fact-finding mission to Venezuela on April 15, 2002.  Jimmy Carter of the Carter Center (CC) attempted to mediate negotiations between the government and opposition groups beginning on July 6-9, 2002. The OAS, Carter Center (CC), and UN sent a joint fact-finding mission to the country on September 9-13, 2002. Secretary-General Cesar Gaviria of the OAS mediated negotiations between government and opposition representatives beginning on November 8, 2002. Three individuals were killed in political violence in Caracas on December 6, 2002.  Two individuals were killed in political violence in Caracas on January 4, 2003.  Secretary-General Cesar Gaviria of the OAS mediated the signing of a non-violence pact between the government and opposition groups on February 18, 2003.  Secretary-General Cesar Gaviria of the OAS mediated an agreement to end the violence between the government and opposition groups on May 29, 2003.    Some 50 individuals were killed during the crisis.

Post-Crisis Phase (May 30, 2003-February 11, 2014):  The Organization of American States (OAS) and Carter Center (CC) sent observers to monitor the collection of signatures for a presidential recall referendum from November 21 to December 1, 2003.  Two individuals were killed in political violence in Caracas on February 28, 2004.  The OAS and Carter Center (CC) sent observers to monitor an electoral process (recall signature corrections) from May 21 to May 30, 2004.  A referendum to recall President Chavez was held on August 15, 2004, and some 58 percent of the electorate voted not to recall President Chavez.  The Carter Center (CC) sent observers to monitor the referendum from August 13 to August 18, 2004.   Legislative elections were held on December 4, 2005, and the MQR won 116 out of 167 seats in the National Assembly.  The For Social Democracy (Por la Democracia Social – PDS) won 18 seats in the National Assembly.  AD and several other opposition political parties boycotted the legislative elections.  The OAS sent 45 observers from 22 countries to monitor the legislative elections.  The EU sent 11 election experts, 40 long-term observers, and 100 short-term observers headed by Jose Albino Silva Peneda of Portugal to monitor the legislative elections beginning on November 7, 2005.  President Chavez of the MQR was re-elected with 63 percent of the vote on December 3, 2006.  The EU sent 154 observers to monitor the presidential election from November 15 to December 5, 2006.  The OAS sent 60 observers to monitor the presidential election.  Some 54 percent of the electorate voted to abolish term limits for the president, state governors, mayors, and National Assembly deputies in a referendum held on February 15, 2009.  Legislative elections were held on September 26, 2010, and the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) won 96 out of 165 seats in the National Assembly.  The opposition Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD) won 64 seats in the National Assembly.  President Chavez of the Great Patriotic Pole (Gran Polo Patriótico – GPP) was re-elected with 55 percent of the vote on October 7, 2012.

Crisis Phase (February 12, 2014-present):  Anti-government demonstrations organized by opposition political parties were held in dozens of cities across the country on February 12, 2014, resulting in the deaths of three individuals.  A student was killed following protests in San Juan de los Morros on October 23, 2014.  Some 43 individuals were killed in political violence in 2014.  Protesters and government police clashed in Caracas and San Cristóbal on February 12, 2015, resulting in several injuries.  One individual was killed by a government policeman during a protest in San Cristóbal on February 24, 2015.  The U.S. government imposed economic sanctions (assets freezes and travel bans) against seven Venezuelan government officials on March 8, 2015.  Luis Manuel Diaz, a member of the opposition Democratic Action party, was assassinated during a campaign rally in Altagracia de Orituco in Guarico state on November 25, 2015.  Legislative elections were held on December 6, 2015, and the opposition Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD) won 109 out of 167 seats in the National Assembly.  The United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) won 55 seats in the National Assembly.  Two government policemen were killed during protests in San Cristóbal on March 29, 2016.  One individual was killed during protests in Petare in Miranda state on June 9, 2016.  One individual was killed during protests in Cerezal in Sucre state on June 12, 2016.  The U.S. government imposed additional economic sanctions (restrictions on trading of Venezuelan stocks and bonds sold in the U.S.) on March 24, 2017.  On March 29, 2017, the Supreme Tribunal of Justice (TSJ) seized legislative powers from the National Assembly and restricted the immunity of members of the National Assembly.  On March 30, 2017, Secretary-General Luis Almagro of the Organization of American States (OAS) denounced the TSJ’s decision to seize legislative powers and called for an emergency meeting of the OAS Permanent Council.  On March 30, 2017, the governments of Peru and the U.S. also condemned the TSJ’s decision to seize legislative powers in Venezuela.  The TSJ reinstated the powers of the National Assembly on April 1, 2017.  One individual was killed in political violence in Miranda state on April 6, 2017.  One individual was killed during an anti-government protest in Valencia state on April 10, 2017. Three individuals were killed during anti-government protests in Lara state on April 11-13, 2017.  Some 16 individuals were killed in political violence in Caracas and other locations on April 19-21, 2017.  Two individuals were killed during protests in Merida and Barinas on April 24, 2017.  Hundreds of thousands of Venezuelan demonstrated across the country on May 3, 2017, resulting in the deaths of two protesters and one government police officer.  One individual was killed during a protest in the Altamira neighborhood of Caracas on May 10, 2017.  Thousands of Venezuelans staged national “sit-in” protests on May 15, 2017, resulting in the deaths of two individuals in Táchira state.  One individual was killed during protests in Córdoba, Táchira state on May 18, 2017; another individual was killed in Maracaibo in Zulia state.  On May 20, 2017, mass demonstrations against the government took place in Caracas.  One individual was killed in political violence in Valera, Trujillo state on May 20, 2017.  Three individuals were killed in political violence in Barinas state on May 23, 2017.  Two individuals were killed during protests in Valera in Trujillo state on May 23, 2017.  One individual was killed during a demonstration in Barquisimeto in Lara state on June 16, 2017.  One individual was killed during protests in Altamira neighborhood of Caracas on June 19, 2017.  One individual was killed in political violence near Caracas on June 22, 2017.  At least four individuals were killed during protests in Lara state on June 30, 2017.  Armed supporters of President Maduro attacked the National Assembly building in Caracas on July 5, 2017, resulting in injuries to several opposition legislators.  The attack was condemned by the Mexican government, Panamanian government, Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), and United Nations.  The U.S. government imposed economic sanctions (assets freeze) against President Maduro and 13 government officials on July 26-31, 2017.  Elections for the National Constituent Assembly (NCA) were held on July 30, 2017.  At least 15 individuals were killed in election-related violence.  The U.S. government imposed economic sanctions (assets freezes and travel bans) against an additional eight Venezuelans on August 9, 2017.  On August 18, 2017, the NCA voted unanimously to assume the powers of the National Assembly.  The Canadian government imposed economic sanctions (assets freezes and travel bans) against President Maduro and 39 other Venezuelans on September 22, 2017.  Regional elections were held on October 15, 2017, and the ruling Great Patriotic Pole (GPP) won 18 out of 23 governorships throughout the country.  The opposition Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD) won five governorships.  On October 16, 2017, the U.S. and Canadian governments condemned the Venezuela government for the lack of free and fair regional elections.  On November 13, 2017, the Council of the European Union (EU) imposed military sanctions (arms embargo) against the Venezuelan government and economic sanctions (assets freezes and travel bans) against 30 Venezuelan officials.  On December 11, 2017, President Maduro announced that the three main opposition political parties would be banned from participating in the 2018 presidential election.  One individual was killed during a protest in Caracas on December 24, 2017.  Some 165 individuals were killed in political violence in Venezuela in 2017.  The EU imposed economic sanctions (assets freezes and travel bans) against seven additional Venezuelans on January 22, 2018.  The U.S. government imposed additional economic sanctions (prohibition on transactions between the U.S. and Venezuela involving digital currencies) on March 19, 2018.  On March 29, 2018, Switzerland imposed economic sanctions (assets freezes and travel bans) against seven Venezuela government officials and military sanctions (arms embargo) against the Venezuelan government.  President Nicolás Maduro was re-elected with 68 percent of the vote for a second, six-year term in presidential elections held on May 20, 2018.   The opposition coalition, Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD), boycotted the presidential election.  The U.S. government imposed additional economic sanctions against Venezuela on May 21, 2018. On May 28, 2018, the Council of the European Union (EU) announced that it would refuse to recognize the results of the presidential election and called for new presidential elections.  Several countries, including Australia, Chile, France, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Spain, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States, also refused to recognize the results of the presidential election.  The Canadian government imposed economic sanctions (assets freezes and travel bans) against an additional 14 Venezuelans on May 30, 2018.  The Venezuelan government released 39 political prisoners, including former San Cristobal mayor and opposition politician Daniel Ceballos, on June 1, 2018.

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