Venezuela has been in the news a lot this year.
Massive protests have been taking place since cities across the country, including Caracas, the Venezuelan capital. Since April, more than 120 people have died in protests against the government. Why?
The Venezuelan economy has practically collapsed. Its government gets almost half of its revenue from oil. It nationalized or took over Venezuela`s oil industries in 1976.
But when oil prices dropped in recent years, so did Venezuela`s revenue and that led to extreme inflation, a recession that`s lasted for years, an unemployment rate of 25 percent. Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro blames his political opponent and the United States for his country`s economic problems.
A vote last month allowed President Maduro to replace his country`s legislative branch. It used to be controlled by a political party that opposed him. The new one is filled with people who support him.
The president says the constituent assembly will help bring peace to a divided Venezuela. But his opponents, as well as other countries like the U.S. called the vote a sham, and America put economic penalties on President Maduro. He faces growing crises at home and abroad.