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Under President Nicolas Maduro, Venezuela's prosperity and stability have evaporated. In 2014, Venezuela entered recession. In 2015, the country's inflation rate soared to its highest in history. Failing health care, food shortages, corruption and increased crime underpinned deepening dissatisfaction with Maduro's government, enabling the opposition to win control of the National Assembly.
Full-scale political meltdown followed when, in October 2016, the National Electoral Council called for Maduro's removal from the presidency. Months of deadly protests and a crackdown on dissent further polarised the country. In July 2017, Maduro convened a new Constitutional Assembly, made up of his allies, to replace the Venezuelan Constitution and supersede the opposition-controlled National Assembly. Condemnation from the international community was scathing: Maduro was branded a "dictator" intent on undoing Venezuelan democracy, but he has so far remained defiant, cementing his power.