President Nicolás Maduro hopes it will help fix the country’s dire financial situation by sidestepping US sanctions and providing an alternative to cash, which is nearly worthless in Venezuela due to the soaring inflation rate.
Even by the volatile and violent standards of recent times in Venezuela, 2017 was an exceptional year, a “perfect storm” of political and economic crisis. Take a look back at 2017 with these remarkable photos.
President Donald Trump warned on Friday that he was considering various measures to tackle Venezuela "including a possible military option if necessary." But Latin American nations are united against US military deployment there.
The UN decried Tuesday "widespread and systematic use of excessive force" against demonstrators in Venezuela, saying security forces and pro-government groups were responsible for at least 73 protester deaths.
Deadly violence erupted around a controversial vote held in Venezuela on Sunday, with a candidate to the assembly being elected shot dead in his home and troops firing weapons to clear protesters in Caracas.
Venezuela alleges the US ambassador to Colombia plotted to destabilize and "annihilate" President Nicolas Maduro, just the latest claim in an escalating war of words between the two nations. The claim came shortly before the US House approved a measure calling for sanctions on officials in the Venezuelan government over human rights abuses.
Some Republicans are so incensed about President Barack Obama's executive action on immigration that they're calling it illegal. It's easy to find similar disagreement over the use of presidential powers in other political systems around the world.
One of the drivers behind the Venezuelan street protests is a lack of basic consumer goods, from toilet paper to food. Now the government thinks it has a partial answer — a sort of supermarket loyalty card that it hopes will cut down on hoarding and speculation. But some critics say the idea is just creepy.
Former political prisoner Francisco Marquez says he witnessed beatings and torture during his four months in Venezuelan prison. He's now in the US trying to draw attention to the human rights crisis back home.