The relationship between the US and Venezuela has for many years been nothing less than toxic.

In 2002, then President Hugo Chavez was briefly ousted in a coup by opponents supported by the US. Washington continued to funnel hundreds of thousands of dollars to his critics, while Mr Chavez took to the podium of the UN to accuse George W Bush of being the devil.

Now, President President Nicolas Maduro has extended a state of emergency in the country for another 60 days and accused Washington of plotting against him, as US intelligence has claimed the country is heading for meltdown.

Mr Maduro secured the extension of emergency powers, as unnamed US intelligence officials told reporters in Washington they doubted that the left-wing president would allow a recall referendum this year, despite opposition-led protests demanding a vote to decide whether he stays in office.

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