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. 

Venezuela gives president decree powers for ‘economic war’

President Nicolas Maduro (right) receives the Enabling Act from National Assembly President Diosdado Cabello in Caracas on Tuesday. Photo: Xinhua

Venezuelan lawmakers granted President Nicolas Maduro year-long decree powers on Tuesday that he says are essential to regulate the economy and stamp out corruption. His adversaries, however, view the move as a power grab.

Wednesday, 20 November, 2013, 4:20pm

Venezuela seizes US-owned oil rigs

An oil platform belonging to Venezuela's state-owned oil company PDVSA. Photo: AFP

Venezuela has quietly seized control of two oil rigs owned by a unit of Houston-based Superior Energy Services after the company shut them down because the state oil monopoly was months behind on payments.

2 Nov 2013 - 6:05pm

Months after big launches, Venezuela's three new oil tankers remain in dock

Venezuela's orders for the three tankers are part of late president Hugo Chavez's plan to stimulate shipbuilding in China, Iran and Argentina in a broader effort to blunt US power. Photo: Reuters

With flags and confetti, Venezuela launched three new oil tankers in the last 14 months that exemplify the socialist country’s ambitions to diversify exports to Asian markets and give a helping hand to its political allies.

2 Oct 2013 - 2:38pm

US, Venezuela in overflight spat

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro. Photo: AFP

US officials said on Friday that they had initially refused Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro permission to fly over a segment of US airspace on his way to China because his government made the request on short notice.

21 Sep 2013 - 7:02pm

US accused of denying its airspace to China-bound Venezuelan president

Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro. Photo: AP

Venezuela accused the United States of hampering its diplomatic efforts on Thursday, saying Washington was denying airspace to its China-bound president and blocking visas for its UN delegation.

20 Sep 2013 - 4:17pm 2 comments

The painful cost of a nice derriere in Venezuela

Venezuelan plastic surgeon Daniel Slobodianik, examines Oliana Rossi, 32, who feels discomfort after being injected with biopolymer gel, in Caracas. Photo: AFP

Eager to resurrect her failed marriage, Mercedes dreamed of having a shapely rear end. A risky, potentially deadly, silicone injection technique beckoned. She said yes. Now she rues that day.”It hurts so much I cannot sit down for even five minutes,” said the 45-year-old, her voice quivering.

30 Aug 2013 - 3:27pm

Venezuela opposition claims new crackdown

Henrique Capriles. Photo: AFP

Venezuelan authorities ordered the arrest of a close aide to opposition leader Henrique Capriles and military agents removed documents, computers and cellphones from the man’s apartment on Wednesday, the opposition said.

It called the action proof of a new wave of political repression.

8 Aug 2013 - 4:33pm

Venezuela, Colombia strain to patch over tensions

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro (left) listens to his Colombian counterpart Juan Manuel Santos during a joint press conference in Puerto Ayacucho, Amazona state. Photo: AFP

The presidents of Venezuela and Colombia on Monday strained to paper over tensions laid bare by the disputed election of Hugo Chavez’s handpicked successor earlier this year.

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos infuriated Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro when he hosted the opposition candidate who had challenged Maduro’s electoral victory in April.

23 Jul 2013 - 12:11pm

Venezuela June inflation soars to 40pc

Critics say mismanagement by Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has left the country in dire straits. Photo: AP

Venezuela’s June inflation slowed from the previous month to 4.7 per cent, the central bank said, but the annualised rate soared to 39.6 per cent following a currency devaluation and heavy state spending last year.

The annualised figure tops all the yearly inflation rates since 2008, when the central bank changed its inflation methodology and consumer prices rose 30.9 per cent.

10 Jul 2013 - 10:49am

Magistrate Maria Lourdes Afiuni who cross Venezuela's Hugo Chavez freed

Maria Lourdes Afiuni leaves her Caracas home after being freed from house arrest. Photo: AFP

Venezuelan authorities freed a judge who was arrested in 2009 after then-president Hugo Chavez objected to one of her rulings. Her case became a cause célèbre for the opposition and international human rights groups.

16 Jun 2013 - 8:53am

Venezuela's Maduro scraps plan to restrict food sales

A shopper carries grocery items at state-run Venezuelan supermarket 'Bicentenario' in Caracas. Photo: Reuters

Officials in western Zulia state had said the plan to limit sales of items such as cooking oil, flour, chicken and toilet paper — all of which are subject to price controls — could begin as early as Monday at 65 supermarkets.

9 Jun 2013 - 12:37pm

Venezuela’s leader in Nicaragua for bilateral talks

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro. Photo: Xinhua

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro arrived on Saturday night in Nicaragua to meet with his counterpart Daniel Ortega for talks to increase cooperation between the two Latin American countries.

2 Jun 2013 - 5:09pm

Venezuela threatens to end support for Colombia peace

Venezuela's opposition leader Henrique Capriles. Photo: AP

Venezuelan opposition leader Henrique Capriles on Thursday denounced as “blackmail” a threat by Caracas to end support for Colombia’s peace process with leftist rebels.

President Nicolas Maduro’s government threatened to withdraw its support from the peace talks after Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos met with Capriles on Wednesday at the presidential palace.

31 May 2013 - 9:25am

Venezuela angry Colombia hosts opposition leader

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos. Photo: AP

Venezuelan officials are warning Colombia’s president that his meeting with Venezuela’s opposition leader could severely damage relations between the neighbouring countries.

30 May 2013 - 2:32pm

Two US embassy workers shoot each other in row at Caracas strip club

The Antonella 2012 strip club in Chacao, Caracas. Photo: AFP

Two officials from the US embassy have been shot during an altercation at a strip club in Venezuela's capital, police and US State Department officials said. The wounds they suffered early on Tuesday were not considered life-threatening, and it is believed that the pair had been fighting each other.

30 May 2013 - 2:55am