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Venezuela Introduction Since the establishment of a democracy in 1961, Venezuela has dramatically increased its' role in the international community over the last four decades and has come forth as a regional leader for the Latin American and the Caribbean regions. Venezuela forms one of the most integral parts of Latin America. While its' being a leader of Latin America as a whole cannot be overlooked, its' even greater role as part of the Caribbean cannot be ignored. This paper will examine the International and Regional Foreign Policy of Venezuela during the last four decades, in the context of international, regional and domestic events. The final analysis will examine the circumstances leading up to and the election of President Hugo Chavez as well as the present direction of Venezuela in the international and regional context. I. Venezuela: A Panorama of the 60's through the 80's A. International Political System of the 1960-1980 The Soviet Union (SU) and the United States (US) emerged from World War II as the two world powers. The US promoted democracy and capitalism while the Soviet Union promoted Communism and Marxism. These two powers at extreme opposite ends of the political ideological spectrum, formed as the leaders of the Cold War. This was a war of dualism by way of forming alliances and spreading their ideology with ends to destroy the existence of the other. The fifties set the stage for what would be an even more turbulent decade; the sixties. The fall of China to communism was a giant blow to the US and its' democratic ideals. The US formed a policy according to the 'Domino Theory' of the spread of communism that would be implemented throughout the Cold War. The Domino Theory stated that communism would be spread from one state to neighbor states, infecting regions throughout the world. To counter and stop the spread of communism the US adopted the policy of: 1) supporting existing weak democracies or democracies threatened by communist regimes 2) supporting existing anti-Communist dictators or military regimes 3) directly implementing or indirectly fostering democratic regimes and anti-Communist movements in communist or procommunist countries. The fist stark example of this policy was implemented during the Korean War. The US sent troops to help South Korea in their civil war against the Communist North Korea. Later, under the same auspices, the US intervened in many other countries, notably Vietnam, Guatemala, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Panama and Kuwait.

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