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This page was last updated on 31 May, 2007


Map of Venezuela



Legend: DefinitionDefinition Field ListingField Listing Rank OrderRank Order
   Introduction    Venezuela Top of Page
Background:
Definition Field Listing
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, has promoted a controversial policy of "democratic 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.
   Geography    Venezuela Top of Page
Location:
Definition Field Listing
Northern South America, bordering the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, between Colombia and Guyana
Geographic coordinates:
Definition Field Listing
8 00 N, 66 00 W
Map references:
Definition Field Listing
South America
Area:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 912,050 sq km
land: 882,050 sq km
water: 30,000 sq km
Area - comparative:
Definition Field Listing
slightly more than twice the size of California
Land boundaries:
Definition Field Listing
total: 4,993 km
border countries: Brazil 2,200 km, Colombia 2,050 km, Guyana 743 km
Coastline:
Definition Field Listing
2,800 km
Maritime claims:
Definition Field Listing
territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 15 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation
Climate:
Definition Field Listing
tropical; hot, humid; more moderate in highlands
Terrain:
Definition Field Listing
Andes Mountains and Maracaibo Lowlands in northwest; central plains (llanos); Guiana Highlands in southeast
Elevation extremes:
Definition Field Listing
lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m
highest point: Pico Bolivar (La Columna) 5,007 m
Natural resources:
Definition Field Listing
petroleum, natural gas, iron ore, gold, bauxite, other minerals, hydropower, diamonds
Land use:
Definition Field Listing
arable land: 2.85%
permanent crops: 0.88%
other: 96.27% (2005)
Irrigated land:
Definition Field Listing
5,750 sq km (2003)
Natural hazards:
Definition Field Listing
subject to floods, rockslides, mudslides; periodic droughts
Environment - current issues:
Definition Field Listing
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
Environment - international agreements:
Definition Field Listing
party to: Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands
signed but not ratified:: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note:
Definition Field Listing
on major sea and air routes linking North and South America; Angel Falls in the Guiana Highlands is the world's highest waterfall
   People    Venezuela Top of Page
Population:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
26,023,528 (July 2007 est.)
Age structure:
Definition Field Listing
0-14 years: 31.6% (male 4,169,979/female 4,046,170)
15-64 years: 63.4% (male 8,120,661/female 8,369,065)
65 years and over: 5.1% (male 586,863/female 730,790) (2007 est.)
Median age:
Definition Field Listing
total: 24.9 years
male: 24.3 years
female: 25.5 years (2007 est.)
Population growth rate:
Definition Field Listing
1.486% (2007 est.)
Birth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
21.22 births/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Death rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
5.08 deaths/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Net migration rate:
Definition Field Listing
-1.28 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Sex ratio:
Definition Field Listing
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.031 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.97 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.803 male(s)/female
total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2007 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 22.52 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 26.14 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 18.72 deaths/1,000 live births (2007 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total population: 73.28 years
male: 70.24 years
female: 76.48 years (2007 est.)
Total fertility rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
2.55 children born/woman (2007 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
0.7%; note - no country specific models provided (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
110,000 (1999 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
4,100 (2003 est.)
Nationality:
Definition Field Listing
noun: Venezuelan(s)
adjective: Venezuelan
Ethnic groups:
Definition Field Listing
Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Arab, German, African, indigenous people
Religions:
Definition Field Listing
nominally Roman Catholic 96%, Protestant 2%, other 2%
Languages:
Definition Field Listing
Spanish (official), numerous indigenous dialects
Literacy:
Definition Field Listing
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 93%
male: 93.3%
female: 92.7% (2001 census)
   Government    Venezuela Top of Page
Country name:
Definition Field Listing
conventional long form: Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela
conventional short form: Venezuela
local long form: Republica Bolivariana de Venezuela
local short form: Venezuela
Government type:
Definition Field Listing
federal republic
Capital:
Definition Field Listing
name: Caracas
geographic coordinates: 10 30 N, 66 56 W
time difference: UTC-4 (1 hour ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions:
Definition Field Listing
23 states (estados, singular - estado), 1 capital district* (distrito capital), and 1 federal dependency** (dependencia federal); Amazonas, Anzoategui, Apure, Aragua, Barinas, Bolivar, Carabobo, Cojedes, Delta Amacuro, Dependencias Federales**, Distrito Federal*, Falcon, Guarico, Lara, Merida, Miranda, Monagas, Nueva Esparta, Portuguesa, Sucre, Tachira, Trujillo, Vargas, Yaracuy, Zulia
note: the federal dependency consists of 11 federally controlled island groups with a total of 72 individual islands
Independence:
Definition Field Listing
5 July 1811 (from Spain)
National holiday:
Definition Field Listing
Independence Day, 5 July (1811)
Constitution:
Definition Field Listing
30 December 1999
Legal system:
Definition Field Listing
open, adversarial court system
Suffrage:
Definition Field Listing
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
Definition Field Listing
chief of state: President Hugo CHAVEZ Frias (since 3 February 1999); Vice President Jorge RODRIGUEZ Gomez (since 3 January 2007); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
head of government: President Hugo CHAVEZ Frias (since 3 February 1999); Vice President Jorge RODRIGUEZ Gomez (since 3 January 2007)
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president
elections: president elected by popular vote for a six-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held 3 December 2006 (next to be held in December 2012)
note: in 1999, a National Constituent Assembly drafted a new constitution that increased the presidential term to six years; an election was subsequently held on 30 July 2000 under the terms of this constitution
election results: Hugo CHAVEZ Frias reelected president; percent of vote - Hugo CHAVEZ Frias 62.9%, Manuel ROSALES 36.9%
Legislative branch:
Definition Field Listing
unicameral National Assembly or Asamblea Nacional (167 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms; three seats reserved for the indigenous peoples of Venezuela)
elections: last held 4 December 2005 (next to be held in 2010)
election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - pro-government 167 (MVR 114, PODEMOS 15, PPT 11, indigenous 2, other 25), opposition 0
Judicial branch:
Definition Field Listing
Supreme Tribunal of Justice or Tribuna Suprema de Justicia (magistrates are elected by the National Assembly for a single 12-year term)
Political parties and leaders:
Definition Field Listing
A New Time or UNT [Manuel ROSALES]; Christian Democrats or COPEI [Cesar PEREZ Vivas]; Democratic Action or AD [Henry RAMOS Allup]; Fatherland for All or PPT [Jose ALBORNOZ]; Fifth Republic Movement or MVR [Hugo CHAVEZ]; Justice First [Julio BORGES]; Movement Toward Socialism or MAS [Hector MUJICA]; Venezuela Project or PV [Henrique SALAS Romer]; We Can or PODEMOS [Ismael GARCIA]
Political pressure groups and leaders:
Definition Field Listing
FEDECAMARAS, a conservative business group; VECINOS groups; Venezuelan Confederation of Workers or CTV (labor organization dominated by the Democratic Action)
International organization participation:
Definition Field Listing
CAN, CDB, CSN, FAO, G-3, G-15, G-24, G-77, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICCt, ICRM, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITU, ITUC, LAES, LAIA, Mercosur, MIGA, NAM, OAS, OPANAL, OPCW, OPEC, PCA, RG, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNWTO, UPU, WCL, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
Diplomatic representation in the US:
Definition Field Listing
chief of mission: Ambassador Bernardo ALVAREZ Herrera
chancery: 1099 30th Street NW, Washington, DC 20007
telephone: [1] (202) 342-2214
FAX: [1] (202) 342-6820
consulate(s) general: Boston, Chicago, Houston, Miami, New Orleans, New York, San Francisco, San Juan (Puerto Rico)
Diplomatic representation from the US:
Definition Field Listing
chief of mission: Ambassador William R. BROWNFIELD
embassy: Calle F con Calle Suapure, Urbanizacion Colinas de Valle Arriba, Caracas 1080
mailing address: P. O. Box 62291, Caracas 1060-A; APO AA 34037
telephone: [58] (212) 975-9234, 975-6411
FAX: [58] (212) 975-8991
Flag description:
Definition Field Listing
three equal horizontal bands of yellow (top), blue, and red with the coat of arms on the hoist side of the yellow band and an arc of eight white five-pointed stars centered in the blue band
   Economy    Venezuela Top of Page
Economy - overview:
Definition Field Listing
Venezuela remains highly dependent on oil revenues, which account for roughly 90% of export earnings, more than 50% of the federal budget revenues, and around 30% of GDP. Tax collection - Venezuela's primary source of non-oil revenue - is expected to surpass $23 billion in 2006, exceeding the yearend collection goal by more than 20%. 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 higher oil prices, record government spending helped to boost GDP growth in 2004 and 2005 to approximately 18% and 11%, respectively. Economic growth in 2006 reached about 9%. This spending, combined with recent minimum wage hikes and improved access to domestic credit, has fueled a consumption boom - car sales in 2006 increased by around 70% - but has come at the cost of higher inflation. Despite government attempts to withdraw liquidity from the economy, Venezuela's money supply set a record in June 2006, approximately 70% higher than the previous year. Imports have also jumped significantly.
GDP (purchasing power parity):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$176.4 billion (2006 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate):
Definition Field Listing
$147.9 billion (2006 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
8.8% (2006 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$6,900 (2006 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
Definition Field Listing
agriculture: 3.7%
industry: 41%
services: 55.3% (2006 est.)
Labor force:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
12.5 million (November 2006 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:
Definition Field Listing
agriculture: 13%
industry: 23%
services: 64% (1997 est.)
Unemployment rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
8.9% (October 2006 est.)
Population below poverty line:
Definition Field Listing
37.9% (end 2005 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
Definition Field Listing
lowest 10%: 0.8%
highest 10%: 36.5% (1998)
Distribution of family income - Gini index:
Definition Field Listing
49.1 (1998)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
15.8% (2006 est.)
Investment (gross fixed):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
19.8% of GDP (2006 est.)
Budget:
Definition Field Listing
revenues: $52.24 billion
expenditures: $52.9 billion; including capital expenditures of $2.6 billion (2006 est.)
Public debt:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
28.4% of GDP (2006 est.)
Agriculture - products:
Definition Field Listing
corn, sorghum, sugarcane, rice, bananas, vegetables, coffee; beef, pork, milk, eggs; fish
Industries:
Definition Field Listing
petroleum, construction materials, food processing, textiles; iron ore mining, steel, aluminum; motor vehicle assembly
Industrial production growth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
7% (2006 est.)
Electricity - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
93.03 billion kWh (2004)
Electricity - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
86.52 billion kWh (2004)
Electricity - exports:
Definition Field Listing
0 kWh (2004)
Electricity - imports:
Definition Field Listing
0 kWh (2004)
Oil - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
3.081 million bbl/day (2005 est.)
Oil - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
560,000 bbl/day (2004 est.)
Oil - exports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
2.1 million bbl/day (2004 est.)
Oil - imports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
NA bbl/day
Oil - proved reserves:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
75.27 billion bbl (2006 est.)
Natural gas - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
27.2 billion cu m (2004 est.)
Natural gas - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
27.2 billion cu m (2004 est.)
Natural gas - exports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
0 cu m (2004 est.)
Natural gas - imports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
0 cu m (2004 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
4.276 trillion cu m (1 January 2005 est.)
Current account balance:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$31.82 billion (2006 est.)
Exports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$69.23 billion f.o.b. (2006 est.)
Exports - commodities:
Definition Field Listing
petroleum, bauxite and aluminum, steel, chemicals, agricultural products, basic manufactures
Exports - partners:
Definition Field Listing
US 50.9%, Netherlands Antilles 7.2%, Canada 2.4% (2005)
Imports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$28.81 billion f.o.b. (2006 est.)
Imports - commodities:
Definition Field Listing
raw materials, machinery and equipment, transport equipment, construction materials
Imports - partners:
Definition Field Listing
US 31.6%, Colombia 11%, Brazil 9.1%, Mexico 6.9% (2005)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$35.95 billion (2006 est.)
Debt - external:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$35.63 billion (2006 est.)
Economic aid - recipient:
Definition Field Listing
$74 million (2000)
Currency (code):
Definition Field Listing
bolivar (VEB)
Exchange rates:
Definition Field Listing
bolivares per US dollar - 2,147 (2006), 2,089.8 (2005), 1,891.3 (2004), 1,607 (2003), 1,161 (2002)
Fiscal year:
Definition Field Listing
calendar year
   Communications    Venezuela Top of Page
Telephones - main lines in use:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
3.605 million (2005)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
12.496 million (2005)
Telephone system:
Definition Field Listing
general assessment: modern and expanding
domestic: domestic satellite system with 3 earth stations; recent substantial improvement in telephone service in rural areas; substantial increase in digitalization of exchanges and trunk lines; installation of a national interurban fiber-optic network capable of digital multimedia services
international: country code - 58; 3 submarine coaxial cables; satellite earth stations - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean) and 1 PanAmSat; participating with Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia in the construction of an international fiber-optic network
Radio broadcast stations:
Definition Field Listing
AM 201, FM NA (20 in Caracas), shortwave 11 (1998)
Television broadcast stations:
Definition Field Listing
66 (plus 45 repeaters) (1997)
Internet country code:
Definition Field Listing
.ve
Internet hosts:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
51,968 (2006)
Internet users:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
3.04 million (2005)
   Transportation    Venezuela Top of Page
Airports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
375 (2006)
Airports - with paved runways:
Definition Field Listing
total: 129
over 3,047 m: 5
2,438 to 3,047 m: 11
1,524 to 2,437 m: 34
914 to 1,523 m: 60
under 914 m: 19 (2006)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
Definition Field Listing
total: 246
1,524 to 2,437 m: 9
914 to 1,523 m: 90
under 914 m: 147 (2006)
Heliports:
Definition Field Listing
1 (2006)
Pipelines:
Definition Field Listing
extra heavy crude oil 992 km; gas 5,369 km; oil 7,607 km; refined products 1,681 km; unknown (oil/water) 141 km (2006)
Railways:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 682 km
standard gauge: 682 km 1.435-m gauge (2005)
Roadways:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 96,155 km
paved: 32,308 km
unpaved: 63,847 km (1999)
Waterways:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
7,100 km
note: Orinoco River (400 km) and Lake de Maracaibo navigable by oceangoing vessels (2005)
Merchant marine:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 56 ships (1000 GRT or over) 824,941 GRT/1,327,924 DWT
by type: bulk carrier 7, cargo 10, chemical tanker 2, container 1, liquefied gas 6, passenger/cargo 12, petroleum tanker 18
foreign-owned: 13 (Denmark 3, Greece 3, India 1, Mexico 3, Panama 1, Russia 1, Spain 1)
registered in other countries: 15 (Bahamas 1, Panama 14) (2006)
Ports and terminals:
Definition Field Listing
Amuay, La Guaira, Maracaibo, Puerto Cabello, Punta Cardon
   Military    Venezuela Top of Page
Military branches:
Definition Field Listing
National Armed Forces (Fuerzas Armadas Nacionales or FAN): Ground Forces or Army (Fuerzas Terrestres or Ejercito), Naval Forces (Fuerzas Navales or Armada; includes Marines, Coast Guard), Air Force (Fuerzas Aereas or Aviacion), Armed Forces of Cooperation or National Guard (Fuerzas Armadas de Cooperacion or Guardia Nacional)
Military service age and obligation:
Definition Field Listing
18 years of age for compulsory and voluntary military service; conscript service obligation - 30 months; all citizens of military service age (between 18 and 50 years old) are obligated to register for military service (2007)
Manpower available for military service:
Definition Field Listing
males age 18-49: 6,236,012
females age 18-49: 6,137,622 (2005 est.)
Manpower fit for military service:
Definition Field Listing
males age 18-49: 4,907,947
females age 18-49: 5,151,843 (2005 est.)
Manpower reaching military service age annually:
Definition Field Listing
males age 18-49: 252,396
females age 18-49: 237,300 (2005 est.)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
1.2% (2005 est.)
   Transnational Issues    Venezuela Top of Page
Disputes - international:
Definition Field Listing
claims all of the area west of the Essequibo River in Guyana, preventing any discussion of a maritime boundary; Guyana has expressed its intention to join Barbados in asserting claims before the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) that Trinidad and Tobago's maritime boundary with Venezuela extends into their waters; dispute with Colombia over maritime boundary and Venezuelan-administered Los Monjes islands near the Gulf of Venezuela; Colombian-organized illegal narcotics and paramilitary activities penetrate Venezuela's shared border region; in 2006, an estimated 139,000 Colombians sought protection in 150 communities along the border in Venezuela; US, France, and the Netherlands recognize Venezuela's granting full effect to Aves Island, thereby claiming a Venezuelan EEZ/continental shelf extending over a large portion of the eastern Caribbean Sea; Dominica, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines protest Venezuela's full effect claim
Trafficking in persons:
Definition Field Listing
current situation: Venezuela is a source, transit, and destination country for women and children trafficked for the purposes of sexual exploitation and forced labor; women and children from Colombia, China, Peru, Ecuador, and the Dominican Republic are trafficked to and through Venezuela and subjected to commercial sexual exploitation or forced labor; Venezuelans are trafficked internally and to Western Europe, particularly Spain and the Netherlands, and to countries in the Caribbean region for commercial sexual exploitation; Venezuela is a transit country for illegal migrants from other countries in the region and for Asian nationals, some of whom are believed to be trafficking victims
tier rating: Tier 3 - Venezuela does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so
Illicit drugs:
Definition Field Listing
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

This page was last updated on 31 May, 2007


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