In This Review

The United States and Venezuela: Rethinking a Relationship
The United States and Venezuela: Rethinking a Relationship
By Janet Kelly and Carlos A. Romero
Routledge, 2002, 192 pp

This volume could not be more timely given the increasingly tense situation in Venezuela following the aborted coup against Hugo Chavez last spring and Venezuela's importance to the United States as a key non-Arab oil exporter. Since the end of the Cold War, Washington and Caracas have seen their once-friendly relations strain, while the latter has failed to push through key economic reforms. Today, the country is in a full-blown social and economic crisis, with no national consensus on how to proceed. During Chavez's watch, international doubts have grown over the reliability of Venezuela as an oil supplier. Meanwhile, Venezuela's opposition to U.S. foreign policy has become more pronounced (at least on a rhetorical level). Making matters even worse, Colombia's diminishing ability to keep its civil war within its borders has made Venezuela more sensitive to incursions by rebel groups and drug traffickers. Kelly and Romano argue, however, that Venezuela and the United States will be forced to work together again, mainly out of mutual self-interest. But given that the growing tensions in recent months have surpassed this book's publication, it is not clear whether the authors are still as optimistic.