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Officially titled the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, the South American country spans both the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic ocean and has its part of the deep Amazon jungle. Sharing its border with four countries, Guyana, Brazil and Columbia, Venezuela is known for its former socialist ruler Hugo Chavez – and is facing a deep national and humanitarian crisis under its disputed president Nicolás Maduro.

Possessing the world's largest oil reserves, Venezuela like many other oil-rich countries seems to be 'oil-cursed'. According to political scientist Michael Ross oil states are 50 percent more likely to be authoritarian than are non-oil states, and between 1980 and 2013, oil-producing autocracies were four times less likely to transition to democracy than non-oil-producing countries.