Written by Aly Thomson, CNN Mexico City
Mexican interior minister Alfonso Navarrete told CNN on October 9 that Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro is expected to visit Mexico soon. He said “Venezuela will be prioritized and we will keep fighting alongside that government to bring peace to that country.” The announcement came as a blow to the United States, which is conducting a select military deployment across the border with Mexico.
Below is a list of fast facts about Venezuela.
Maduro has been in office since 2013, following Hugo Chavez’s death from cancer. He is trying to hold on to power as the price of Venezuela’s oil revenue plummets, sparking popular demonstrations and economic shortages. Maduro first rose to power in the late 1980s, with Chavez backing him up.
Venezuela’s opposition leaders began protesting against the government more than a year ago, with the goal of ending controversial policies that include seizing private businesses and giving wide discretion to the ruling party to regulate economic activity.
On February 12, a protest in the capital, Caracas, turned deadly when protesters who had barricaded themselves in homes faced down riot police. In total, 124 people were killed and nearly 2,000 injured.
On July 26, 2017, the government passed a new constitution that reportedly includes vague guarantees of immunity for Maduro.
Venezuelan authorities have reportedly frozen and detained hundreds of opposition leaders, and in late August, they rounded up three leading state-controlled oil companies, accusing them of links to a US spy network.
On October 1, Venezuelan authorities announced a ban on all flights between the countries, further spurring mass protests, as well as violence in Mexico and the United States.