Venezuelan comedian Laureano Marquez performs a stand-up routine at a theater in Caracas last year. Marquez says the government is now cracking down on comedians who make jokes about the government and the country's economic problems. Christian Veron/Reuters/Landov hide caption

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A woman holds up a blanket with the portrait of Caracas Mayor Antonio Ledezma during a demonstration on Feb. 20 to protest his detention. He was arrested on charges of planning a coup, which he denies. He is one of three opposition mayors who have been jailed; more than 30 face criminal charges. Miguel Gutierrez/EPA/LANDOV hide caption

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President Obama says new sanctions will target Venezuelan figures who have helped repress human rights. Here, opposition leader Maria Corina Machado (center) marched with opponents of President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas to mark International Women's Day. Federico Parra/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro is welcomed by Saudi Crown Prince Salman in Riyadh on Sunday. The meeting was part of Maduro's diplomatic tour of OPEC members to discuss falling oil prices, which have hit Venezuela's economy hard. Reuters /Landov hide caption

itoggle caption Reuters /Landov

People queue outside a store to buy home appliances at a preferential price in Caracas last November. The country is suffering from many shortages of basic goods. Federico Parra/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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Cuban President Fidel Castro (left) and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez in Barinas, Venezuela, in 2000. The two formed a close partnership, which has continued with their successors. However, the prospect of normal ties between the U.S. and Cuba may also have an impact on relations between Cuba and Venezuela. Jose Goitia/AP hide caption

itoggle caption Jose Goitia/AP

Actor Samuel Lange Zambrano plays Junior, a boy who becomes obsessed with relaxing his hair. Courtesy of the artist hide caption

itoggle caption Courtesy of the artist

Government-subsidized goods at a state-run market in Caracas, Venezuela, in 2012. Smuggling of cheap groceries into neighboring Colombia is so rampant that the government plans to fingerprint shoppers. Fernando Llano/AP hide caption

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A demonstrator confronts riot policemen during an anti-government protest in Caracas, Venezuela's capital, on Feb. 22. Raul Arboleda/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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