Facts about Venezuela
|Population||26,414,816 (July 2008 est|
|Time zone||UTC-4.5 (half an hour ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)|
Northern South America, bordering the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, between Colombia and Guyana
General info about Venezuela
Venezuela was one of three countries that emerged from the collapse of Gran Colombia in 1830 (the others being Ecuador and New Granada, which became Colombia). For most of the first half of the 20th century, Venezuela was ruled by generally benevolent military strongmen, who promoted the oil industry and allowed for some social reforms. Democratically elected governments have held sway since 1959. Hugo CHAVEZ, president since 1999, seeks to implement his "21st Century Socialism," which purports to alleviate social ills while at the same time attacking globalization and undermining regional stability. Current concerns include: a weakening of democratic institutions, political polarization, a politicized military, drug-related violence along the Colombian border, increasing internal drug consumption, overdependence on the petroleum industry with its price fluctuations, and irresponsible mining operations that are endangering the rain forest and indigenous peoples.
degree of risk: high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea and hepatitis A
Spanish (official), numerous indigenous dialects
What about drugs?
small-scale illicit producer of opium and coca for the processing of opiates and coca derivatives; however, large quantities of cocaine, heroin, and marijuana transit the country from Colombia bound for US and Europe; significant narcotics-related money-laundering activity, especially along the border with Colombia and on Margarita Island; active eradication program primarily targeting opium; increasing signs of drug-related activities by Colombian insurgents on border
Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Arab, German, African, indigenous people
HIV/AIDS prevalence rate
0.7%; note - no country specific models provided (2001 est.)
tropical; hot, humid; more moderate in highlands
petroleum, natural gas, iron ore, gold, bauxite, other minerals, hydropower, diamonds
Venezuela remains highly dependent on oil revenues, which account for roughly 90% of export earnings, about 50% of the federal budget revenues, and around 30% of GDP. A nationwide strike between December 2002 and February 2003 had far-reaching economic consequences - real GDP declined by around 9% in 2002 and 8% in 2003 - but economic output since then has recovered strongly. Fueled by high oil prices, record government spending helped to boost GDP by about 9% in 2006, 8% in 2007, and nearly 6% in 2008. This spending, combined with recent minimum wage hikes and improved access to domestic credit, has created a consumption boom but has come at the cost of higher inflation-roughly 20% in 2007 and more than 30% in 2008. Imports also have jumped significantly. Declining oil prices in the latter part of 2008 are expected to undermine the govenment's ability to continue the high rate of spending. President Hugo CHAVEZ in 2008 continued efforts to increase the government's contol of the economy by nationalizing firms in the cement and steel sectors. In 2007 he nationalized firms in the petroleum, communications, and electricity sectors. In July 2008, CHAVEZ implemented by decree a number of laws that further consolidate and centralize authority over the economy through his plan for "21st Century Socialism."
sewage pollution of Lago de Valencia; oil and urban pollution of Lago de Maracaibo; deforestation; soil degradation; urban and industrial pollution, especially along the Caribbean coast; threat to the rainforest ecosystem from irresponsible mining operations
Cities in Venezuelaacarigua altagracia de orituco anaco araure bachaquero barcelona barinas barinitas barquisimeto baruta cabimas cabudare cagua calabozo cantaura caraballeda caracas carora carrizal carupano catia la mar caucaguita chacao charallave chivacoa ciudad bolivar ciudad guayana ciudad ojeda coro cua cumana ejido el cafetal el hatillo el limon el tigre el tocuyo el vigia goaigoaza guacara guanare guarenas guasdualito guatire guigue la asuncion la dolorita la fria la guaira la victoria lagunillas los dos caminos los rastrojos los teques machiques maiquetia maracaibo maracay mariara maturin moron nirgua ocumare del tuy palo negro petare porlamar puerto ayacucho puerto cabello punta cardon punto fijo quibor rubio san antonio del tachira san carlos san carlos del zulia san cristobal san felipe san joaquin san jose de guanipa san juan de colon san juan de los morros san mateo santa rita santa teresa tacarigua tariba tinaquillo trujillo tucupita turmero upata valencia valera villa bruzual villa de cura villa del rosario yaritagua zaraza