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Venezuela is a charter member of the UN, OAS, USAN, ALBA, Mercosur, LAIA and OEI.
The country is a federal presidential republic consisting of 23 states, the Capital District (covering Caracas), and federal dependencies (covering Venezuela's offshore islands).
During the 19th century, Venezuela suffered political turmoil and autocracy, remaining dominated by regional caudillos (military strongmen) until the mid-20th century.
Since 1958, the country has had a series of democratic governments.
They are credited with having invented the arepa, a staple in Venezuelan cuisine.
Colonial city of Coro, in which important samples of an eclectic architecture that combines Mudéjar, native, and Dutch styles are preserved.
The 1980s oil glut led to an external debt crisis and a long-running economic crisis.
Inflation peaked at 100% in 1996 and poverty rates rose to 66% in 1995 According to the most popular and accepted version, in 1499, an expedition led by Alonso de Ojeda visited the Venezuelan coast.
With this last country, the Venezuelan Government maintains a claim for Guayana Esequiba over an area of 159,542 km (38,567of mi) continental shelf. The country has extremely high biodiversity and is ranked 7th in the world's list of nations with the most number of species.The revolution began with a 1999 Constituent Assembly, where a new Constitution of Venezuela was written.This new constitution officially changed the name of the country to República Bolivariana de Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela).Spain's colonization of mainland Venezuela started in 1522, establishing its first permanent South American settlement in the present-day city of Cumaná.In the 16th century, Venezuela was contracted as a concession by the King of Spain to the German Welser banking family (Klein-Venedig, 1528–1546).