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Among the top ten oil exporters in the world and a founding member of OPEC, Venezuela currently supplies 11 percent of U.S. crude oil imports. But when the country elected the fiery populist politician Hugo Chavez in 1998, tensions rose with this key trading partner and relations have been strained ever since. In this concise, accessible addition to Oxford's What Everyone Needs to Know® series, Miguel Tinker Salas -- a native of Venezuela who has written extensively about the country -- takes a broadly chronological approach that focuses especially on oil and its effects on Venezuela's politics, economy, culture, and international relations. After an introductory section that discusses the legacy of Spanish colonialism, Tinker Salas explores the "The Era of the Gusher," a period which began with the discovery of oil in the early twentieth century, encompassed the mid-century development and nationalization of the industry, and ended with a change of government in 1989 in response to widespread protests. The third section provides a detailed discussion of Hugo Chavez-his rise to power, his domestic political and economic policies, and his high-profile forays into international relations-as well as surveying the current landscape of Venezuela in the wake of Chavez's death in March 2013. Arranged in a question-and-answer format that allows readers to search topics of particular interest, the book covers questions such as, who is Simón Bolívar and why is he called the George Washington of Latin America? How did the discovery of oil change Venezuela's relationship to the U.S.? What forces where behind the coups of 1992? And how does Venezuela interact with China, Russia, and Iran? Informative, engaging, and written by a leading expert on the country, Venezuela: What Everyone Needs to Know® offers an authoritative guide to an increasingly important player on the world stage. What Everyone Needs to Know® is a registered trademark of Oxford University Press.