The Americas

Venezuela's president declares economic emergency

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro is using special decree powers to declare an economic emergency in the oil-dependent nation.

The decree giving Maduro 60 days to enact sweeping reform was published Friday in the official gazette just hours before the president is expected to deliver his annual state of the union address.

Expectations for the speech are running high because Maduro for the first time in 17 years of socialist rule will be delivering it to a congress controlled by his opponents.

While Maduro hasn't said how he'll use the decree powers granted by the outgoing socialist-run congress he has argued for the need to protect social programs from a collapse in oil prices and what he said is soaring inflation and shortages induced by his opponents.