The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela is situated on the northern coast of South America. Home to an estimated population of 29.1 million, it covers around 916,445 square kilometres which includes the Andes mountains and the Amazon Basin Rainforest. Its main export is oil. Venezuela was colonized by Spain in 1522 but continued resistance led in 1811 to it becoming the first Spanish American country to declare independence. A chequered political history followed which saw dictatorships rise and fall, as well as military coups. The current president is founder of the Revolutionary Bolivarian Movement-200, Hugo Chávez.
Venezuelans burn effigies of both presidential candidates
Venezuela's two presidential candidates were burnt in effigy in an Easter tradition that replaces the biblical Judas Iscariot with disliked public figures.
In Caracas, supporters of interim President Nicolas Maduro - the hand-picked successor of late president Hugo Chavez - torched an effigy of opposition candidate Henrique Capriles on Sunday .
His crime? "Betraying the Venezuelan people and surrendering to the interests of imperialism," Socialist Party politician Nahum Fernandez told VTV state television network.
Separately, a dummy with three heads - those of Maduro, Interior Minister Nestor Reverol, and a Caracas-area mayor, Jorge Rodriguez - was set on fire in the parish of La Candelaria, in northwestern Caracas.
"These people have betrayed not only the country but especially Caracas, abandoning it to insecurity and disrepair," event organiser Carlos Julio Rojas told local media.
In another opposition stronghold of Caracas, an effigy representing crime and currency devaluation were set ablaze by activists who accused the government of "incompetence" in facing the issues.
Maduro and Capriles formally start campaigning for the April 14 presidential election today.