This isn't the first time we've started the show reporting on a crisis in Venezuela. But it is the first time we've told you that someone besides the president has declared himself the acting leader of the country. The South American nation's been struggling for years. Though Venezuela's officially a Federal Presidential Republic, which is considered a type of democracy, it's executive branch has become increasingly authoritarian since Hugo Chavez served as president from 1999 to 2013. He steered Venezuela towards socialism. And his policies were continued by his handpicked successor, President Nicolas Maduro.
One of the government's biggest problems is its economy. It's heavily dependent on oil sales, and it has crumbled. Oil prices have fallen. The nation's oil wealth was wasted and people have suffered. Millions have moved to other countries in search of basic necessities like food and medicine. President Maduro was sworn in for a second term earlier this month. But political groups that oppose him boycotted the election and said it wasn't free and fair. Maduro said there is a permanent campaign of lies about him and the late President Chavez and that Venezuela is a real democracy with a truly democratic president.
But most other countries in the Americas recently voted not to recognize his government. And on Wednesday the leader of Venezuela's National Assembly, its legislative branch, declared himself to be Venezuela's new interim or temporary president. Shortly afterward, U.S. President Donald Trump said he'd officially recognize Juan Guaido as Venezuela's new leader. So did the leaders of several other countries in the Americas. President Maduro said his nation's opposition is attempting a coup and announced he would end diplomatic ties with the United States.