Situated on the Northern coast of South America, the indigenous people of Venezuela were colonized by the Spanish Empire in 1522. In 1811 Venezuela declared independence and was ruled by an array of military leaders. The 1935 discovery of oil in Venezuela proved to be a major source of income and spurred the nation’s economy. In 1958 Venezuela first utilized the democratic system. However, since its inception the democracy has been unstable, with various coups both successful and defeated. In 1999 Hugo Chavez ascended to the presidency and implemented his Bolivarian Revolution. This included vast spending on public infrastructure and the reduction of poverty. This spending slowed the development of Venezuela and resulted in a coup attempt and a debilitating national strike. President Nicolas Maduro ascended to power after the death of Chavez in 2013. Maduro has continued to mismanage the economy. As a result, inflation is nearing 100% and there has been mass civil unrest. The Department of State has issued a warning to avoid travel to Venezuela and the nation owns the world’s second highest homicide rate behind Honduras.