Venezuela Destinations Travel Guide
Calling code: +58
Currency: Bolivar fuerte (VEF)
Venezuela, officially called the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, is an American country located in the northern part of South America, consisting of a continental part and a large number of small islands and islets in the Caribbean Sea, whose capital and largest urban agglomeration is the city of Caracas, with a territorial extension of 916,445 km². The continental territory is bordered on the north by the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean, on the west by Colombia, on the south by Brazil and on the east by Guyana. With this last country, the Venezuelan Government maintains a claim for Guayana Esequiba over an area of 159,542 km². For its maritime areas, it exercises sovereignty over 71 295 km² of territorial sea, 22 224 km² in its contiguous zone, 471,507 km² of the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean under the concept of exclusive economic zone, and 99 889 km² of continental shelf. This marine zone borders those of thirteen States, the country has an extremely high biodiversity and ranks 7th in the world list of nations with the highest number of species. There are habitats that go from the mountains of the Andes in the west to the tropical forest of the Amazon basin in the south, through the extensive plains of the Llanos, the Caribbean coast and the Orinoco delta in the east.
Mountains, this is a region comprised by the states of Mérida, Táchira and Trujillo.
With more than 600 islands, cays and archipelagos, the most of the beaches can be found here.
The largest concentration of people in Venezuela in addition to the most populated regions, such as Caracas, Miranda, Vargas with access to the states of Aragua and Carabobo.
It is the most extensive region of the country. It extends from the Orinoco River to the front of Brazil and Guyana. It includes the states of Bolívar, Amazonas and Delta Amacuro.
The high plains are found at the foot of the Andes and are very rich lands for cultivation. They comprise the states of Apure, Barinas, Cojedes, Guárico and Portuguesa.
It has a wide range of natural attractions, thanks to its geographical diversity, for Anzoátegui and Sucre beaches, between the beaches of Sucre state, those of Playa Colorada and Cumaná stand out, for mountaineering and excursions the region near Caripe in Monagas state .
Zulia state is an oil state, in Falcón you can find various beaches and Yaracuy and Lara states have jungle areas and the main activities are agricultural. Similarly, the Northwest region is very rich in cultural events.
1 Caracas – Being the capital and the largest city of
Venezuela, Caracas is known for being one of the most cosmopolitan and
modern cities in South America. There are many places to visit, like
theaters, shopping centers, museums, art galleries, parks,
well-preserved colonial architecture and even gourmet restaurants.
2 Coro – The first capital of Venezuela and a city rich in colonial architecture, a unique natural setting and a tourist attraction. Its historic center is considered a World Heritage Site.
3 Ciudad Bolívar – Starting point for Angel Falls and comfortable stopover to Brazil.
4 Ciudad Guayana – Dominated by heavy industry, it is the most organized city in Venezuela and the main gateway to the Orinoco delta and the Gran Sabana. It is still known locally as Puerto Ordaz or San Félix.
Cumaná – It is the first city founded on the American mainland, capital of the colonial province of Nueva Andalucía, and historically it is the most important city in eastern Venezuela.
5 Maracaibo – The second largest city in Venezuela. Suffocating and built on petroleum.
6 Maracay – Once the capital of Venezuela, now home to the main military headquarters, it is also nicknamed the Garden City.
7 Mérida – Also known as the city of gentlemen, it is a charming university city in the Andes mountains, popular for its outdoor activities.
8 Puerto La Cruz – The city you should go to if you want to visit the beaches in eastern Venezuela.
9 San Cristóbal – A lush industrial city in the Andes Mountains, on the border with Colombia.
Angel Falls located on Auyantepui plateau in Bolivar State in Venezuela is the highest waterfall in the World.
Los Roques Archipelago located North of Caracas is made up of 350 islands with untouched marine biosphere.
Cueva del Guácharo National Park located in Venezuela is a nature preserve dedicated to preservation of underground biosphere.
Delta del Orinoco or delta of river Orinoco is a unique wetland biosphere situated in the eastern Orinoco.
Henri Pittier National Park or Parque Nacional Henri Pittier is a nature reserve situated in the state of Aragua in Venezuela.
Mochima Nacional Park or Parque Nacional Mochima is a massive protected area in the Sucre State in in the North Venezuela.
Río Caura or River Caura River is one of the tributaries of the Orinoco River located in the Bolívar State of Venezuela.
Mount Roraima influenced famous author Arthur Conan Doyle to write his book The Lost World in 1912.
Salto Aponguao is a beautiful waterfall on Aponguao river that is one of the tributaries of the Orinoco river in Venezuela.
Teleférico de Mérida or Mérida Cable Car is situated in Merida in Venezuela.
National parks and monuments
The national parks and monuments of Venezuela constitute landscapes of great beauty, where there are species of plants and animals or habitats of biological, educational and landscape interest. Recreational, tourist and educational activities, as well as scientific research, are allowed in these areas. In total there are 43 national parks and 22 natural monuments in 2007, which are equivalent to 21.76% of the Venezuelan territory. Among the national parks are:
Henri Pittier National Park, located in Maracay, Aragua state.
Waraira Repano National Park, located in Caracas, Capital District.
Canaima National Park, located between El Dorado and Santa Elena de Wairen, Bolívar state.
Laguna de La Restinga National Park, located on the Isla de Margarita, Nueva Esparta state.
Paria Peninsula National Park, located in the Paria Peninsula, Sucre state.
San Esteban National Park, located in Puerto Cabello, Carabobo state.
Cerro Saroche National Park, located between Barquisimeto and Carora, Lara state.
Morrocoy National Park, located in Tucacas, Falcon state.
Terepaima National Park, located between the states of Lara and Portuguesa.
Santos Luzardo National Park. Located between the Cinaruco and Capanaparo river basins, Apure state.
Laguna de Tacarigua National Park, located in Tacarigua de la Laguna, Miranda state.
Perija National Park, located in the Sierra de Perija, Zulia state.
Cerro Copey National Park, located on the island of Margarita, Nueva Esparta state.
Guatopo National Park, located in the states of Miranda and Guárico.
Venezuela has about 314 islands, keys and islets. Most of the
best-known Venezuelan islands are in the Caribbean Sea, however there
are many other fluvial islands. Regarding the marinas, they are located
on the coasts of the states of Anzoátegui, Sucre, Nueva Esparta and
Federal Dependencies. Among the main Venezuelan islands and
archipelagos, the following stand out:
Los Roques National Park
Las Aves Islands archipelago
La Orchila Island
Los Frailes Archipelago
Keys of Morrocoy National Park
San Carlos Island
Los Monjes Archipelago
The country is made up of three hydrographic slopes: that of the
Caribbean Sea, that of the Atlantic Ocean and that of Lake Valencia,
which forms an endorheic basin.
Most of Venezuela's river waters drain on the Atlantic slope. The largest basin in this area is the extensive Orinoco basin whose surface, close to a million km², is greater than that of all of Venezuela, constituting the third in South America, and it gives rise to a flow of about 33 thousand m³. /s, making the Orinoco the third largest in the world, this basin is connected through El Río or Brazo Casiquiare, for its part, it constitutes a unique case in the world, since it is a natural derivation of the Orinoco that, after about 500 km long, connects it with the Negro River, which is in turn a tributary of the Amazon. Other Venezuelan river basins that empty into the Atlantic slope are the waters of the San Juan, Cuyuní, Gulf of Paria and the Essequibo river basins.
The second most important slope is the Caribbean Sea. The rivers in this region tend to be short and have a low and irregular flow, with some exceptions, such as the Catatumbo, which rises in Colombia and empties into the Lake Maracaibo basin. Among the rivers that reach the Lake Maracaibo basin are the Chama, the Escalante, the Catatumbo, and the contributions of the smaller basins of the Tocuyo, Yaracuy, Neverí and Manzanares rivers.
The third slope is the basin of Lake Valencia.
The main lakes in the country are Lake Maracaibo —the largest in South America— open to the sea through a natural channel, but with fresh water, and Lake Valencia with its endorheic system. Other mentionable bodies of water are the Guri reservoir, the Altagracia lagoon, the Camatagua reservoir and the Mucubají lagoon, in the Andes.
Some rivers or water bodies of tourist interest are:
jump the toad
jump the ax
La Restinga Lagoon
In the area of plains and savannahs in Venezuela, two regions stand
out: the Llanos region and the Gran Sabana region.
The Llanos de Venezuela are considered one of the most important ecosystems in the world with two marked seasons, the rainy season and the dry season, it is characterized by its extensive savannahs, its climate is intertropical savannah being humid and hot, except in the high plains with a milder climate.
The economic importance of the plains is due to the fact that this is a suitable region for extensive cattle raising and agriculture. There is also significant oil activity in the Venezuelan states of Anzoátegui, Apure, Barinas, Guárico and Monagas.
The inhabitants of the region, the plains, are hospitable people, excellent horsemen, the original cowboys. The main musical rhythm of the Llanos is the joropo.
La Gran Sabana is a region located in the southeast of Venezuela, in the Guianas massif, to the south-east of Bolívar State, and which extends to the border with Brazil and Guyana. The
Gran Sabana has an area of 10,820 km², and is part of one of the largest National Parks in Venezuela, the Canaima National Park.
The average temperature is around 20 °C, but at night it can drop to 13 °C, and in some of the higher places, depending on the weather, it can drop a little more. The place offers unique landscapes in the whole world, it has rivers, waterfalls and streams, deep and extensive valleys, impenetrable jungles, savannahs that are home to a large number and variety of plant species, a diverse fauna, and the plateaus better known as tepuis.
In these regions it is recommended to visit:
Santos Luzardo Cinaruco National Park - Capanaparo
Aguaro Guariquito National Park
Mariusa National Park
Rio Viejo National Park
The Great Savannah
40% of the Venezuelan territory is protected in special protection
areas. In addition, there are also a high number of recreational parks,
zoos, theme parks, and buildings for concentrations, among them are:
Generalísimo Francisco de Miranda Park, in Miranda state.
Knoop Park, in Miranda state.
Vinicio Adames Park, in Miranda state.
Los Caobos Park, the Capital District.
Caricuao Zoological Park, in the Capital District.
Poliedro de Caracas, in the Capital District.
Las Delicias Zoological Park, in the state of Aragua
Plaza de Toros Maestranza César Girón, in the state of Aragua
Fernando Peñalver Park, in the Carabobo state.
Aquarium of Valencia, in the Carabobo state.
Dunas Water Park, in Carabobo state.
LunaPark Amusement Park, in Carabobo state.
Monumental bullring of Valencia, in the Carabobo state.
Loefling Zoo, in Bolívar state.
La Llovizna Park, in Bolívar state.
Cachamay Park in Bolívar state.
Dr. León Croizat Xerophyte Garden, in Falcón state.
Metropolitan Zoological Park of Zulia, in Zulia state.
Waterland Mundo Marino, in Nueva Esparta state.
Albarregas Metropolitan Park in the state of Merida.
Campo Carabobo in Valencia.
Angostura Congress House in Ciudad Bolívar
House of a hundred windows in Coro
Birthplace of the Liberator of America Simón Bolívar in Caracas.
San Antonio de la Eminencia Castle, Santa Maria de la Cabeza Fortress, San Francisco Convent, Santa Ines Co-Cathedral Church and Sacred Heart of Jesus Metropolitan Cathedral in Cumaná.
San Carlos Borromeo Castle in Pampatar.
National Pantheon in Caracas
Monument to the Liberator w: Simón Bolívar, is located in the spaces of the Botanical Garden of Ciudad Bolívar
Venezuela uses a domestic electrical network of 120V at 60Hz, with plugs type A and B, exactly the same as the United States. Power adapters of various types can be found at hardware and parts stores.
The telephone prefix of Venezuela is 58. Landline numbers are 7 digits, and cell phone numbers are 10.
There are a certain number of public telephones that work with cards, the main telephone operator in the country is CANTV in fixed telephony and in mobile MOVILNET in this last type Movistar and Digitel also operate.
In Venezuela there is freedom of worship consecrated by the constitution, although the majority are practicing Christianity. 71% of the Venezuelan population identifies as Catholic, mostly belonging to the Roman Catholic Church: Pope John Paul II visited Venezuela on two occasions, the first in 1985 and the second in 1996. The patron saint of Venezuela is Our Lady of Coromoto
The Legal Time of Venezuela (HLV) is an official service of the Venezuelan State that establishes the local time of the country administered by the Hydrography and Navigation Service based at the Cagigal Naval Observatory, in Caracas.
UTC−04:30 is the time zone used only in Venezuela. In order to be informed of the legal time in Venezuela, you can request by telephone by number 119.
In December 2010, the Presidency of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, according to Decree No. 5,693, reformed Legal Time, in order to adopt the legal time of the meridian of minus four hours and thirty minutes in relation to the UTC meridian, which corresponds to the 67th 30th meridian. ' from Villa de Cura (central solar time).
Venezuelan Football Federation - First Division, is the highest category of professional football in Venezuela. The Opening Tournament and Closing Tournament played in the second and first semester of the year, respectively.
Professional Basketball League of Venezuela, is the highest basketball competition. The league is made up of 10 teams. The season starts in February and ends in April.
Venezuelan Professional Baseball League, is the highest level professional baseball league in Venezuela, made up of eight local teams that play a knockout championship from October to December, a semifinal series in January, commonly called Round Robin or All against All and a series final between the two best teams in the semifinal.
The currency of Venezuela is the Bolívar Fuerte (BsF), which replaced the old bolivar on January 1, 2008. Currently, Venezuela has a strict exchange control for currencies. There are three official exchange rates for one US dollar, depending on the item, they are 6.3BsF per 1Us$ for food imports (still in force, only and exclusively for food imported by the government), 12.9Bsf per 1Us$ for the rest of imports (This no longer applies to these transactions) and 49.9Bsf per 1Us$ for other sectors of the economy (it was replaced by 1001.53Bfs per 1Us$, the latter being the referential exchange rate for a tourist who wishes to sell their currencies in the country.
When visiting and touring Venezuela, do not stop acquiring handicrafts, Venezuelan artisans stand out for the elaboration of basketry, wood carving, rock sculpture, muralism, the elaboration of rag dolls, wooden toys, rugs, fabrics, bronze works and other metals, goldsmithing, naive painting, musical instruments, as well as an endless number of other objects worked by hand. You can find very good pieces at a very good price among artisans who make them, generally they are located on the sides of national highways.
The typical food is the pabellón (shredded meat, white rice and black
beans that can be accompanied by fried plantains). The arepa is the most
popular food, in addition to other dishes, certain states have their own
dishes, as is the case from Zulia with its patacón, Miranda with its
tequeños, eastern Venezuela with its empanadas, Mérida with its breads
and Andean arepas, the plains with its Creole pavilion, among others.
Traveling the paths of Venezuelan gastronomy is knowing a world of
unforgettable flavors, colors and aromas. Each dish in our kitchen
carries with it a story, a hidden feeling. It can be assured that our
history developed parallel to the heat of the Venezuelan stoves, as time
has passed customs and dreams have changed, history continues its
course, but in each new creation in our kitchen the root of our
ancestors, that magical touch of our natives, that range of spices and
flavors from the colony... Venezuelan cuisine is the expression of our
color, our seasoning, our overflowing joy. Like us, the food is varied,
mixed, full of color and flavor. Among other dishes that predominate in
Venezuela are cachapa, made with ground yellow tender corn, which is
usually accompanied with white cheese and fried pork.
For Christmas or December party, the Christmas table usually has hallacas, buns, pork leg, ham bread, stuffed turkey, chicken salad and sweet milk, figs, icacos, grapefruit, cashew (cash fruit), among others.
Venezuela is the second largest consumer of pasta in the world, just behind Italy itself.
Venezuela has the emergency telephone number 171, however, as of
January 2014 911 was implemented, both currently work.
Venezuela is the country with the second highest homicide rate in the world, with Caracas, its capital, being the most violent city on the planet. People follow a schedule where generally 10:00 pm is the maximum time for a healthy enjoyment in the street. The transport system stops working and the premises close at approximately this time.
Despite them, you can enjoy the nightlife in areas like Las Mercedes, Altamira and Florida, where you can find restaurants, discos, liquor stores, theaters and endless establishments for all tastes. But you must take into account that there is no public transport at night, so you must have your own transport or private transport awarded to the Hotel where you are staying.
. The US State Department and the Canadian Government have warned foreign visitors that they may be subject to armed robbery, kidnapping and murder in Venezuela.
Due to the insecurity situation, various countries have recommended that their citizens take additional security measures when visiting Venezuela, such as avoiding going out at night.
The numerical country code is +58. For example: +58 212 1234567 to call Caracas.
For emergency calls you can call the number 171 for free and 911 also works with some operators in Venezuela.
In Venezuela there are three main companies that offer lines for mobile or cell phones, these are; Movilnet, a public company, and Movistar and Digitel, private companies.
The public company for sending letters and small packages is IPOSTELinfoeditar
There are also very important private companies such as MRW, ZOOM, DHL, Domesa, Tealca, Serex, among others.
1 of January New Year
January 14: Festivities of the Divina Pastora
February 12: Youth Day
March 21: Anniversary of the abolition of slavery
April 19: Independence Movement Day
May 1: Labor Day
July 5: Independence Day
July 24: Simón Bolívar's birthday
September 8: Birth of the Virgin Mary, festivities of the Virgen del Valle and Our Lady of Coromoto
October 12: Day of indigenous resistance
December 8: Immaculate Conception Day
25th December, Christmas
December 31 end of year
Citizens of the following countries do not need a visa to visit
Venezuela for tourist purposes only for a maximum of 90 days: Andorra,
Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Barbados, Belgium,
Belize, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Denmark, Dominica,
Spain, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Grenada, Hong Kong, Iceland,
Iran (maximum 15 days), Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Lithuania,
Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Mexico, Monaco, Netherlands,
Netherland Antilles, Nevis, New Zealand, Netherlands, Paraguay, Poland,
Portugal, Russia, San Marino, Spain, Saint Kitts, Saint Lucia, Saint
Vincent and the Grenadines, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Trinidad and
Tobago, Kingdom United States, United States and Uruguay.
In Caracas, passengers go through immigration in the arrival hall before proceeding to baggage claim. The officers will review your passport and may ask questions. If a customs official or someone asks you about the purpose of your visit, tell them that you are only there for visiting or sightseeing purposes. At baggage claim, you'll be asked to match the baggage tag on your flight ticket to the barcode on your bag before handing over your tax form to customs officials.
There will be many people who will approach you after you arrive and offer to help you find a taxi or exchange currency. It is better not to interact with anyone who approaches you. Even airport officials with proper identification may try to take you to other areas of the airport to exchange currency on the black market. When taking a taxi from the airport, always set a price before getting in the taxi and only use taxis that have the official yellow oval stamp.
Simón Bolívar International Airport (also known as Maiquetía airport), (IATA: CCS) is the most important in Venezuela, located in the State of Vargas thirty minutes from the capital.
Venezuela has road connections with Colombia and Brazil.
Venezuela has highways to which is added a network of highways that cover the national territory.
Venezuela has a network of international and national airports, including:
Simón Bolívar International Airport (CCS), located in Maiquetía, Vargas state.
La Chinita International Airport (MAR), located in Maracaibo, Zulia state.
Arturo Michelena International Airport (VLN), located in Valencia, Carabobo state.
Santiago Mariño Caribbean International Airport (PMV), located in Porlamar, Nueva Esparta state.
Antonio José de Sucre International Airport (CUM), located in Cumaná, Sucre state.
Juan Vicente Gómez International Airport (SVZ), located in San Antonio del Táchira, Táchira state.
Santo Domingo International Airport (SVSO), located in Santo Domingo, Táchira state.
Oriente General José Antonio Anzoátegui International Airport (BLA), located in Barcelona, Anzoátegui state.
Jacinto Lara International Airport (BRM), located in Barquisimeto, Lara state.
Juan Pablo Pérez Alfonso International Airport (EVG), located in El Vigía, Mérida state.
Manuel Piar International Airport (PZO), located in Puerto Ordaz, Bolívar state.
José Tadeo Monagas International Airport (MUN), located in Maturín, Monagas state.
Josefa Camejo International Airport (SVJC), located in Punto Fijo, Falcón state.
Francisco García de Hevia International Airport (LFR), located in La Fría, Táchira state.
Bartolomé Salom International Airport (PBL) located in Puerto Cabello, Carabobo state.
Spanish is the official language of Venezuela. In addition to
Spanish, the Constitution of Venezuela recognizes more than thirty
indigenous languages —wayúu, warao, pemón and many others— for the
official use of the Amerindian peoples, most of whom have few speakers
—less than 1% of the total population.
Languages such as Italian, Portuguese, Arabic, Mandarin, etc. are also widespread; mainly due to the influence of tourists and immigrants.
According to the most common version, in 1499 a Spanish expedition led by Alonso de Ojeda visited the Venezuelan coast, where they discovered an Indian village located on stilts in the bay west of the Paraguana Peninsula. Indian huts on stilts reminded the Italian navigator Florentine Amerigo Vespucci of a city in the Venetian lagoon, so he named the bay "Veneziola" ("Little Venice") - on modern Russian-language maps this is the Venezuelan Gulf. Later, the name "Venezuela" was extended to the entire southern coast of the Caribbean Sea up to the Orinoco Delta, inclusive, and in 1830 the name "Venezuela" was adopted by an independent republic that separated from Great Colombia.
The climate of Venezuela is determined by the alternation of moist equatorial air masses in calm weather in summer and dry trade winds in winter. Temperatures change little during the year and depend mainly on the altitude of the area. Coastal areas are distinguished by exhausting heat and high air humidity, at higher elevations temperatures are lower and conditions are more comfortable for human habitation. That is why all major cities are located at an altitude of 600 to 1850 meters above sea level. Above 1800 m, the climate is much cooler and close to the climate of temperate latitudes. At altitudes above 3,000 m, it is so cold that farming is almost impossible, and sheep breeding is the main agricultural activity. More than three quarters of the country's area is characterized by the rainy season, which lasts from May to November. Precipitation varies from 280 mm on the Caribbean coast to 2000 mm or more at the southern end of Lake Maracaibo and on the windward slopes of the mountains and the Guiana Plateau. The dry season lasts from December to April.
The territory of Venezuela, like most countries of South America, is
diverse in terms of absolute heights, the amount of precipitation and
other environmental conditions. This explains the heterogeneity of the
vegetation cover and the richness of the country's flora.
Venezuela has about 105 protected areas that cover about 26% of the country's continental, marine and insular surface.
Several floristic regions can be distinguished. On the north coast, the flora is typically Caribbean, with a variety of legume trees, numerous cacti, species of Capparia, Jacquinia and Ziziphus. The Venezuelan Andes is a continuation of the Andean region of the west of South America. It is characterized by the vegetation of the paramo (high mountain meadows) and temperate forests of Colombia, in particular Espeletia, Geranium, Ceroxylon, Cinchona, Miconia and Gentiana. The flora of the richly vegetated Orinoco Basin has its origins in the more southerly uplands and rainforests. Plantations of exotic species, such as sugar cane and coffee tree, are widespread here. Many families are well represented, but legumes and palms stand out against the background of cereals. A significant part of the southern regions of the country is similar in flora to the Amazon.
Economically important species grow here, such as Hevea brazilian and rubber-bearing castilla, as well as the rope palm, from which coarse, dark fibers (piassava) are obtained. The most interesting floristic province is small in area and occupies the flat tops of the sandstone mountains of the Serra Pacaraima, running along the southern border of the country from the Roraima massif at the junction of Venezuela, Guyana and Brazil west to Mount Duida near the Casiquiare River, which connects the upper reaches of the Orinoco with the upper reaches of the Rio Negro. This is a relic zone, so ancient that its closest floristic connections can be traced only with some hills in the south of Brazil, and more distant ones with the Andean region, the mountains of the Cuban region of Oriente and West Africa. Many narrowly endemic heathers, madders, bromeliads and cypresses grow here.
The Orinoco drainage basin occupies approximately four-fifths of the territory of Venezuela. The area of the llanos north of the river is a vast thicket of tall grasses interspersed with savannahs, palm groves and light forests. In many places grasslands are prevented from overgrowing by means of frequent burning. The forests, which occupy significant areas here, are of the tropical deciduous type and are similar to the monsoon forests of the tropics of the Old World. Closer to the Caribbean coast, they become drier and gradually acquire the character of thorny thickets with numerous cacti and thorny legumes. In the south and east of the country, along the borders with Brazil and Guyana, these deciduous forests are in many places replaced by a typical Amazonian rainforest of tall evergreen trees with a closed canopy of numerous lianas and little undergrowth. Forest areas are interspersed with savannahs. Small areas of similar rainforest are found in the north of the country, mostly at the southern tip of Lake Maracaibo. The slopes of the Venezuelan Andes are covered with dense and impenetrable moss forest, also called mountain rain or cloud forest. This is the belt of cinchona (Cinchona), often considered temperate in climate. Above the tree line are treeless paramos dominated by bizarre Espeletia species, shrubs and cushion plants. These high mountain communities are striking with their many bright colors that make them look like huge alpine gardens. Overgrazing has degraded the natural vegetation to scrub wasteland in many places.
In Venezuela, there are jaguar, puma, ocelot, bush dog, taira close
to martens, otters, monkeys, pigs, coypu, tenacious porcupine, tapir and
peccaries. There are also deer and opossums. Crocodiles, alligators and
turtles are common in many rivers. Boa constrictors, other snakes and
lizards are abundant in the jungle. In the lowlands there are many
cranes, herons, storks, ducks and other water game, and in the mountains
- birds of prey.
Bolivarian time zone
On August 19, 2007, President Chavez, speaking on his TV show, proposed changing the Venezuelan time zone. The Minister of Science and Technology of Venezuela, Hector Navarro, then announced that the transition to the new time will be carried out in mid-September 2007, it will move half an hour ahead of the current time (from UTC-4 to UTC-4:30), will bring the start of work into line and the study of Venezuelans with daylight hours and "will have a beneficial effect on their health and well-being."
The UTC-4:30 time zone was already in use in Venezuela from 1912 to 1964.
Planned for September 24, 2007, the time change was delayed due to "bureaucratic formalities with international organizations". January 2008 was announced as the new time changeover time.
On November 26, 2007, the Decree of the President of Venezuela was issued on the transition to a new time zone from December 9, 2007.
Chavez's main motive for changing the country's time zone in 2007 is said to be anti-Americanism, which is confirmed by his statements about the "need to abandon the time imposed by American imperialism."
After the restoration of democracy
After the liquidation of the military dictatorship in 1958, a multi-party system was established in the country. However, by 1968, the leading positions began to be occupied by two main political parties, which alternated in power - the Democratic Action (DD) and the Social Christian Party (KOPEI). In the subsequent period, tendencies towards the formation of a two-party political structure intensified: although about 20 parties and organizations took part in the general elections, DD and KOPEI together gained more than 85% of the vote.
The DD was founded in September 1941 and considers itself a social democratic party, part of the Socialist International. Representatives of the DD served as president of the country in 1945-1948, 1959-1969, 1974-1979, 1984-1993. Founded in January 1946, KOPEY is a party of Christian democratic orientation that advocated a "revolution in conditions of freedom" and also relied on its own network of workers, agrarians, women's, youth, professional and other organizations. KOPEY led the country's governments in 1969-1974 and 1979-1984. In reality, the differences between DD and KOPEY were gradually smoothed out, and both parties moved to centrist positions.
The acute socio-economic and political crisis of the 1980s, general dissatisfaction with corruption and voter apathy led to a significant weakening of the position of both leading parties. New forces and organizations began to enter the political arena. First of all, it was the Movement towards Socialism (MAS), formed in 1971 as a result of a split in the Communist Party. The IAU stood on positions close to "Eurocommunism", condemned the entry of Soviet troops into Czechoslovakia in 1968 (Operation "Danube") and the political system of the USSR. Standing for democratic socialism, the IAU was in 1973-1993 the third most powerful political organization in the country; in 1988 it won over 10% of the vote in the general election. In 1992, the IAS won gubernatorial elections in five states, in 1995 - in four. However, in the 1990s, it was pushed aside by another populist left-wing group, the Radical Cause (Causa R), which also arose as a result of a split in the communist party and relied on the union of metallurgists, highly skilled workers employed in technologically advanced enterprises. In 1988, the Radical cause for the first time won 3 seats in the National Congress (parliament) of the country, in 1989 it won the election of the governor in the state of Bolivar, and in 1992 added to this the post of mayor of the capital. In 1993, the party's presidential candidate, Andrés Velázquez, was only a few percent behind the representatives of DD and COPEY. However, the influence of the party proved unstable.
Since the beginning of the 1990s, a fundamental change in the entire old party system has been taking place in Venezuela. The 1993 presidential election was won by the former head of state from the KOPEI party, Rafael Caldera, who left his party and spoke from a broad bloc of 17 centrist, left and right parties - the National Convergence. The IAU was the leading force in the coalition. But the new heterogeneous ruling alliance did not last long.
The reign of Hugo Chavez
The 1998 presidential election was won by the charismatic military leader Hugo Chavez, who spoke on behalf of a new organization, the Fifth Republic Movement (DPR), created in 1997. The program provisions of the DPR were of a general nature: it promised to carry out a constitutional reform, cleanse the country of corruption and abuse of political elites, create a democratic society of social justice, and involve the masses in government. The mainstay of the DPR was the “Bolivarian committees” created by Chavez supporters, primarily in poor urban areas.
The DPR led the Patriotic Pole bloc, which included various leftist and populist parties, including the IAU and the Radical Cause splinter party Rodina for All. Hugo Chavez won with over 55% of the vote, but his coalition failed to win a majority of seats in the National Congress.
The dominant positions in the parliament still belonged to the traditional parties DD and KOPEY. Chavez's main rival in the 1998 elections was the candidate from the new center-right association - Project Venezuela Enrique Salas Römer, who received almost 40% of the vote.
The Venezuelan constitution, adopted at the initiative of President Hugo Chavez in 1999, recognized for the first time that the country's 300,000 indigenous people, the Indians, have rights to the lands of their traditional residence and can participate in the design of their borders. The old constitution only stated that the indigenous inhabitants of the country were under the protection of the state and should gradually be included in the life of the nation.
After the adoption of a new constitution in 2000, new presidential and parliamentary elections were held in the country, which were won by the ruling DPR: Hugo Chávez collected almost 60% of the vote, and his movement won 92 out of 165 seats in the National Assembly. The remaining seats in parliament were distributed as follows: DD - 33, KOPEI - 6, Project Venezuela - 6, MAC - 6, Radical Cause - 3, Motherland for All - 1. National Convergence (supporters of Rafael Caldera) - 1, others - 17.
On April 11, 2002, an attempted coup d'etat took place
in the country, however, having received massive support from the
population and the army, Hugo Chavez retained power.
On March 12, 2006, by unanimous decision of the National Assembly (Parliament) of Venezuela, changes were adopted in the state symbols proposed by President Hugo Chavez. From now on, the eighth star will appear on the flag of Venezuela, symbolizing the annexation of the easternmost region of Guayana at the beginning of the 19th century. In 1817, the South American liberator Simon Bolivar suggested using the eighth star.
The National Assembly of Venezuela in August 2007 approved Chavez's amendments to the constitution - the number of presidential re-elections is not limited, the Central Bank of Venezuela passes under the control of the country's president, new provinces controlled by the central government are created, the working day is reduced from 8 hours to 6, citizens of Venezuela get the right to vote on elections from the age of 16, and the transition of the country to the construction of socialism is announced.
The constitutional amendments were put to a referendum held on December 2, 2007. According to its results, 50.7% of those who voted opposed the amendments and Chavez admitted his defeat.
November 24, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said that the United Socialist Party of Venezuela, of which he is the leader, in 2009 may re-raise the issue of constitutional amendments providing for an unlimited term of presidential rule. Chavez made the announcement the day after the EPUU won a landslide victory in the country's regional elections.
In a referendum held in Venezuela on February 15, 2009, 54.68% of citizens voted for the constitutional amendments proposed by President Hugo Chavez, which allow the president to be re-elected to his post an unlimited number of times in a row.
Having received the approval of the majority of voters, Chavez, who has repeatedly stated that he is ready to "rule for as long as the Lord God and the people desire," came to grips with the construction of the third stage of the Bolivarian revolution. According to the leader of Venezuela, this stage will last until 2019 and will be aimed at deepening the socialist revolution, as well as continuing the fight against poverty, corruption and crime. The plan to eliminate illiteracy occupies an important place in the program of the Venezuelan leader.
Chavez believed that the previous two stages of the Bolivarian revolution (the first - from 1999 to 2006, the second - from 2007 to 2009) had already been successfully completed. Their main result was the victory of the revolution, the independence of the country and the beginning of building socialism.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez approved a list of literature for schoolchildren, with which they will have to get acquainted without fail. These are the monographs of the country's president, the Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx, the writings of Che Guevara and other works that will help them get rid of capitalist thinking, as well as strengthen the collective consciousness and better understand the ideals and values necessary for building a socialist homeland.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez relied on the anti-American rhetoric popular in the country and pursued domestic, including economic, policies in accordance with the socialist course. Despite the appearance of an anti-American position, the United States remains the main trading partner of Venezuela, both in terms of export operations (the main consumer of Venezuelan hydrocarbons) and imports (the main supplier of industrial and agricultural products).
The fall in the unemployment rate was achieved by Chavez through the
active expansion of the public sector. In 2007-2008, not only the oil
industry, but also ferrous metallurgy, the cement industry and mobile
communications were nationalized in the country. The companies that have
fallen into the hands of the state do not aim to increase efficiency,
but to expand employment on the Soviet model. The "Bolivarian
revolution" of Chávez, among other things, includes the fight against
inflation, as understood by the supporters of socialist methods. Since
2003, the country has centrally set prices for 400 types of goods,
including food, "to fight inflation and protect the poor." Their result
was a periodic shortage of food (in a state with tropical agriculture)
and a sharp rise in prices. So, for example, there is a restriction on
the supply of milk and a constant shortage of chicken eggs. In the whole
country in the past decade, inflation was 21% per year, but food on the
black market rose in price by 50% annually.
The Venezuelan government is actively trying to redistribute revenues from the oil and gas sector for social purposes, but practically does not use them for the development of the country's economy, its diversification or new investments in the oil and gas sector. At the same time, it must be remembered that the efficiency of production due to the production of hydrocarbons is constantly decreasing, and therefore costs are growing, profitability is decreasing, and the country's income level is falling. Which, in turn, with growing social spending and impressive domestic and foreign public debt, may lead to default as a result of a rather significant collapse in oil prices. Given the problematic nature of foreign borrowing for Venezuela due to its economic policy, the only way to protect the country from such a scenario (other than its development) is to increase the role of OPEC (of which Venezuela is a member) in pricing.
In this regard, the achievements of Hugo Chavez include an increase in the role of OPEC in the state of affairs in the oil market. By the time he was elected, discipline in OPEC began to suffer: some states, including Venezuela, regularly violated their production quotas, which led to a collapse in prices. In 2000, Chavez organized a summit of the heads of state of the alliance (the first in 25 years and the second in the history of the organization). The actions of OPEC again began to influence the market, which allowed the alliance to play on price increases. And although OPEC was one of the many factors driving up prices during the first decade of the 21st century, the role of the alliance was highly visible.
However, this policy led to a conflict between Chavez and the national oil company (PdVSA). For decades, PdVSA has been accustomed not to meet quotas, but to produce as much oil as possible in order to maximize its revenues. PdVSA employees went on strike in 2002, completely shutting down the country's oil production (removing 3 million barrels per day from the market, causing prices to skyrocket). The government fired more than 19,000 employees of the company, replacing them with Chavez supporters, but production could not fully recover throughout the following year.
Restrictions on foreign capital had a negative impact on the state of the country's main oil and gas sector. The point is that PdVSA must invest at least $3 billion annually to keep producing old fields, some of which would otherwise see production decline by 25% a year. But the problem is that the company provides about half of the government's revenues and 80% of the country's export earnings.
A welcome exception for the Venezuelan economy and Russian companies is the agreement reached in 2009 to allow Russian companies to develop gas fields and build gas pipelines in Venezuela.
Since March 5, 2013, after the death of Hugo Chavez, the duties of the President of Venezuela were performed by Nicolas Maduro, whom Chavez called his successor. New elections were held on April 14, 2013. Maduro's opponent was Enrique Capriles Radonski, who fought against Chavez in the last elections. Nicolas Maduro was elected President of Venezuela.
On May 20, 2018, Nicolas Maduro was "re-elected" to the post of head of Venezuela for the period of 2019 —2025 with 6.2 million votes. Maduro was inaugurated on January 10, 2019.
In 2013, the country's economy was in a difficult position and was kept mainly due to high world prices for oil, the main export commodity of the republic. On the eve of N. Maduro coming to power (beginning of 2013), Venezuela's public debt amounted to 70% of GDP, and the budget deficit - 13%. Although at the end of 2013 the country's GDP grew by 1.6%, inflation remained very high - 56.3%. Maduro, having received emergency powers from the Parliament for six months, announced an "economic offensive" and, in particular, introduced a 30 percent ceiling on profits for private companies. There is a shortage of basic commodities such as sugar, vegetable oil and toilet paper. At the same time, the government says that the cause of the problems is corruption, sabotage and speculation, as well as the "economic war" waged against the country. The government launched a program to combat "speculation", in particular, on November 26, the Daka retail chain was nationalized for refusing to lower prices, which for some goods exceeded purchase prices by 1,000 percent, with an allowable rate of 30 percent. After the confiscation of goods, the entire management of the trading network was arrested.
In 2014, the country's economy experienced another blow: a sharp drop in world oil prices. As a result, government revenues from oil exports fell by a third compared to the previous year. The Central Bank tried to cover the budget deficit through emission, as a result of which inflation in September 2015 reached, according to estimates, at least 200% per annum (according to official data - 140%). In an attempt to curb inflation, the government introduced a sophisticated foreign exchange system that resulted in the dollar's "official exchange rate" being more than 100 times the market rate. Following the ideology of Chavisma, the Maduro government has administratively limited food prices, which has led to a total shortage of basic foodstuffs.
In January 2016, President Maduro appointed Luis Salas, a sociologist on the political left, as Minister of Economy. Like other members of the Maduro government, Salas believes that the main reason for the difficulties is the "economic war" unleashed by the West against Venezuela.
In 2016, according to the International Monetary Fund and other organizations, the fall in GDP was 18%, inflation reached 550%, unemployment - 21%, budget deficit - 17% of GDP, and external debt exceeded $130 billion. The country is on the verge of default.
93% of the country's population complains of malnutrition. The expected annual inflation rate is 1000%. The dollar exchange rate on the black market exceeds the official rate by 900 times.
The inflation rate in Venezuela will reach 1,000,000% at the end of 2018, according to the International Monetary Fund.
Causes of the crisis
There is an opinion that the main causes of the economic crisis are structural and political factors, including a large dependence on imports, a decline in world oil prices and state control over the production and distribution of food.
As early as April 15, 2013, opposition protests began, as a result of which at least 7 people died. Opposition leader Enrique Capriles told protesters that this form of protest should be stopped for the time being and that he agreed with the outcome of the election. On March 1, new demonstrations took place, and there were no casualties among supporters of Nicolás Maduro and the opposition.
In early February 2014, demonstrations and protests began in Venezuela (mainly in the capital and large cities) against the policy of the country's leader N. Maduro. They were attended not only by the "middle class", always opposed to such policies, but also by the poor, who until then favored the populist policies of "chavisma". From the very beginning of the protests, President Maduro banned any street manifestations and called the protesters "fascist gangs."
On February 12, clashes between opponents of President Maduro, on the
one hand, and his supporters and the police, on the other, led to the
death of three people; more than 40 people were injured during the
protests, now in their sixth day. On February 17, in Caracas, the
opposition, led by its leader Leopoldo Lopez (who had already been
issued an arrest warrant, but who was going to lead the column), held a
march in the streets in white clothes and handed the government of N.
Maduro a manifesto with their demands ( the main ones among which are to
release those arrested and stop the persecution of the opposition). By
the end of February, more than 50 people had died in protests and riots.
The situation became so complicated that even the oppositional heads of
a number of districts of Caracas were forced to turn to their supporters
with a request to abandon this form of protest.
On May 2, 2016, opposition representatives handed over to the authorities a petition to hold a referendum to remove President Maduro from power. The petition was signed by 1.85 million people, well above the 1% of the total number of registered voters required for a general vote.
On June 10, 2016, the National Electoral Council of Venezuela[es] decided that after verification, personal confirmation of 1.3 million signatures, or more than 70% of the votes cast for the referendum, is required.
On June 11, Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro announced that a referendum on his resignation in 2016 would not take place because, in his words, "there is no time to organize a referendum."
2017 National Assembly elections
On July 30, 2017, in accordance with the decree of President Maduro, elections were held for the National Assembly. Both the course of the elections and their results were accompanied by protests within the country and in the international arena.
2018 presidential election
On May 20, 2018, early presidential elections were held. The opposition boycotted the elections, calling them fraudulent. The current president, Nicolas Maduro, won the election. The elections provoked protests from most Western countries, as well as from Latin America. Fourteen countries, including Argentina, Brazil and Canada, withdrew their ambassadors from Caracas to protest the election results. For the same reason, the United States imposed additional economic sanctions on Venezuela. US President Donald Trump called for new elections and an end to the repression in Venezuela. Russian President Vladimir Putin congratulated N. Maduro on his re-election and wished him success in solving the country's social and economic problems. In addition to Russia, El Salvador, Cuba and China also recognized the results of the elections.
Political crisis since 2019
In January 2019, the protracted political crisis escalated sharply. The speaker of the National Assembly, Juan Guaidó, against the backdrop of thousands of protest rallies that began after the inauguration of Nicolas Maduro for a second presidential term, proclaimed himself acting president. Nicolas Maduro has said he will remain in office until his term expires in 2025. The aggravated confrontation in Venezuela caused the polarization of the world community.
Venezuela severed diplomatic relations with Colombia.
The population of Venezuela is 28.8 million people.
Annual growth - 1.5%;
Birth rate - 20 per 1000 (fertility - 2.5 births per woman, infant mortality - 21 per 1000);
Infant mortality - 19 per 1000;
Mortality - 5 per 1000;
Average life expectancy - 70.84 years for men, 77.87 years for women;
Infection with the immunodeficiency virus (HIV) - 0.7% (2001 estimate).
Ethno-racial composition: mestizos - 51.6%, whites - 43.6%, blacks - 3.6%, Indians - 1.2%.
Literacy - 95% (2005-2008).
Urban population - 93% (in 2008).
The aggravation of the economic crisis, the growth of political tension and the level of violence in 2016-2018 led to a sharp increase in emigration, which is controlled by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). From 2016 to the first half of 2018, according to various estimates, from 1.6 to 2.3 million people left the country, of which 90% arrived in various countries of South America. In addition, hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans are in other countries illegally. According to the UNHCR, illegal refugees "may become victims of human trafficking, sexual exploitation, discrimination and xenophobia." Due to its magnitude, the migration crisis in Venezuela is considered the largest in the history of South America.
The majority of the Venezuelan population consider themselves to be
Roman Catholic, within which the local population has a cult of Maria
Lions, which is not recognized by the Catholic Church. Relations between
President Hugo Chavez and the Catholic Church were quite tense, there
was a risk of a break in relations between Venezuela and the Vatican. In
one of his speeches, Hugo Chavez said about Catholic priests: “They
still think they are the dominant force in the state. Forget it, cave
Also since 2006, the "Reformed Catholic Church of Venezuela" has been operating. Its priests are clergy, banned from serving by Catholic bishops for various canonical violations. Soon the former Lutheran pastor Enrique Albonros joined them. The main reason for the worldwide publicity was the alleged support of the new Church by Hugo Chavez, as opposed to the Catholic one. The Church does not require obligatory celibacy from its clergy, does not consider homosexuality a sin, and allows divorce. The only obligatory rule is the full support of the socialist project of President Chavez, Albonros also did not refuse the veneration of Martin Luther, and the services acquired some Protestant features. The church (as of summer 2008) consists of five parishes in the province of Zulia.
Most Protestants in the country are Pentecostals. The largest Pentecostal denomination is the Venezuelan Assemblies of God - 410 thousand believers. The Pentecostal movement is also represented by the United Pentecostal Church, the Fourfold Gospel Church, the Church of God, the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God, and others.
Adventists have 197,000 believers in their ranks. The National Baptist Convention unites 550 churches and 45 thousand believers, the Plymouth Brethren - 23 thousand, the Lutherans - 7 thousand, the Church of the Nazarene - 5 thousand followers.
Venezuela is administratively divided into:
23 states (estados): Amazonas, Anzoategui, Apure, Aragua, Barinas, Bolivar, Guarico, Delta Amacuro, Zulia, Carabobo, Cohedes, Lara, Merida, Miranda, Monagas, Nueva Esparta, Portugues, Sucre, Tachira, Trujillo, Falcon, Yarakuy;
1 Federal District - the area of the capital of Caracas;
Federal possessions (from August 3, 2011 - Miranda, possibly also became a territory) - islands in the Caribbean Sea.
The states of Venezuela are grouped into 9 regions, established by presidential decree.
The President of Venezuela is elected by a simple majority in a direct popular vote and is the head of state and government. The presidential term is 6 years. The President can be re-elected an unlimited number of times. The President appoints the Vice President, decides on the structure and composition of the government, and appoints its members with the consent of Parliament.
The president has the right of legislative initiative and can propose changes to existing legislation, but his proposals can be rejected by a simple parliamentary majority.
The unicameral parliament - the National Assembly of Venezuela - consists of 165 deputies. 162 deputies are elected according to the proportional-list system in multi-member constituencies, including 97 personally, and 65 - according to party lists. The remaining 3 places are reserved for representatives of the indigenous peoples of Venezuela. The term of deputy powers is 5 years. Deputies can be elected for a maximum of three terms.
The highest judicial body is the Supreme Tribunal of Justice (Tribunal Supremo de Justicia). Its magistrates are elected by Parliament for one 12-year term.
In the parliamentary elections in December 2015, the opposition
coalition, the Round Table of Democratic Unity, won with 56.2% of the
vote and 109 out of 164 seats in parliament. The pro-presidential
left-wing coalition, the Great Patriotic Pole, won 40.9% of the vote and
will have 55 seats. Parties represented in Parliament:
The United Socialist Party of Venezuela is a left-wing pro-government party with 52 deputies.
The Communist Party of Venezuela, which won two seats in the National Assembly, and a number of other left-wing parties (People's Electoral Movement, Fatherland for All, For Social Democracy), which remained without representation, participated in the elections in a bloc with the EPUV.
Round Table of Democratic Unity (Spanish: Mesa de la Unidad Democrática, in opposition), 109 deputies. Includes several dozen different parties and organizations, almost the entire political spectrum - from the extreme right to the extreme left, including the conservative Project Venezuela party, the Christian Democratic parties National Convergence and KOPEI, the centrist parties For Justice and People's will”, the social democratic parties “New Time”, “Democratic Action”, “Movement to Socialism”, “Alliance of the Fearless People” and “Progressive Vanguard”, the socialist “Radical Cause” and the Hoxhaist “Red Banner”.
The rise in crime is one of the main threats to Venezuelan society. In 2015, almost 28 thousand people were killed in the country, or 90 murders for every 100 thousand of the population. According to this indicator, Venezuela is ahead of most countries in Latin America. 90% of murders remain unsolved. Starting in 2005, the government stopped publishing complete statistics on crime.
Venezuela has taken an active part in the work of the UN and the
Organization of American States (OAS), of which it is a member. But on
April 27, 2019, Venezuela withdrew from the OAS. The National Assembly
also reversed his decision and appointed a Venezuelan representative to
the OAS who would guarantee continued membership. It was also among the
founding members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting
Countries (OPEC), established in 1960. Venezuela is a member of the
Latin American Integration Association and, together with Bolivia,
Colombia, Ecuador and Peru, the Andean Pact. Venezuela also has a
significant impact on other Caribbean countries through preferential oil
supplies under the Petrocaribe program, which has been in place since
2005. Under W. Chavez, Venezuela joined the alliance of Latin American
During the period of high oil prices, in the 1970s and early 1980s, Venezuela pursued a very tough and independent course in foreign policy. Having nationalized the oil industry, the country began to expand its sphere of influence, especially in the Caribbean. She played a leading role in the Contadora Group of Latin American States, created to promote a peaceful solution to the crisis in Central America (which the United States actively opposed). Together with other countries of the region, Venezuela actively participated in the development of collective measures to overcome the non-payment crisis and called on international organizations to pay close attention to the economic problems of the third world countries.
Venezuela has a long history of claiming part of Guyana's territory west of the Essequibo River, about three-quarters of Guyana's area, and has border disputes with Colombia and the Netherlands Antilles. The 30-year-old dispute with Colombia over the ownership of the Gulf of Venezuela escalated in the late 1980s and early 1990s due to the fact that drug trafficking routes pass through it, as well as in connection with the discovery of new oil fields in the area.
In 1989, the UN sent a mediator to help Venezuela and Guyana resolve the dispute over the Essequibo region. After a series of border incidents, both countries signed an agreement in 1997 to establish a bilateral control commission. The mid-1990s were marked by border conflicts with Brazil over the smuggling of weapons and drugs across the border, as well as attacks by Brazilian gold miners on the Yanomamo Indians living in Venezuela.
In August 2015, a diplomatic conflict broke out between Venezuela and Colombia due to measures taken by Venezuela to combat paramilitary groups and smugglers, which included mass deportations of Colombians living in Venezuelan territory and the closure of the border.
In April 2017, Venezuela announced its withdrawal from the OAS. The process of the country's withdrawal from this association will take about two years.
On February 13, 2018, Venezuela was temporarily deprived of the right to vote in the UN due to accumulated debts.
At the end of the 19th century, Venezuela announced its claims to the territory of British Guiana west of the Essequibo River - after deposits of gold and diamonds were discovered there. In 1899, the International Arbitration Tribunal decided the dispute in favor of Britain; only a small area in the northwest of British Guiana was transferred to Venezuela.
Since 1962, 4 years before Guyana gained independence from Great Britain, Venezuela again began to demand territories west of the Essequibo River - an area of \u200b\u200babout 160 thousand km², that is, almost three-quarters of the entire territory of Guyana. These claims were repeated by all the presidents of Venezuela, including Hugo Chavez.
Venezuela and Russia
Venezuela has diplomatic relations with the Russian Federation (established with the USSR on March 14, 1945, interrupted on June 13, 1952 and restored on April 16, 1970).
In November 2008, during the visit of Russian President Dmitry Medvedev to Venezuela, an intergovernmental agreement was signed establishing a visa-free travel regime for Russian and Venezuelan citizens to visit each other for up to 90 days. The agreement entered into force on March 6, 2009.
On September 10, 2009, President of Venezuela Hugo Chavez, while on an official visit to Moscow, announced Venezuela's decision to recognize South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent states. On September 15, 2009, in Sukhum, the official note of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Venezuela on the recognition of the independence of the Republic of Abkhazia was presented to the delegation of Abkhazia, who is in this country on an official visit. Venezuela became the third (after Russia and Nicaragua) country to recognize the independence of the two Caucasian republics.
In March 2010, Prime Minister of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin visited Venezuela.
Venezuela is the largest operator of Russian weapons and military equipment in Latin America. For 2019, the amount of contracts is estimated at $11 billion.
Among other things, Venezuela acquired medium-range mobile air defense systems - Buk-M2 and long-range air defense systems - Antey-2500, Su-30MK2 fighters, Mi-35M helicopters, T-72 tanks, BMP-3 and BTR-80, as well as 100 thousand AK-103 assault rifles.
Venezuela and China
Under Hugo Chavez, contacts with China intensified, which since the 1990s has been in need of energy supplies and has turned from an oil exporter into a major oil importer. Beijing is seeking to diversify its sources of supply, most of which come from the Middle East. Hugo Chavez has repeatedly paid official visits to China. In June 2010, China provided Venezuela with a $20 billion loan for 10 years in exchange for hydrocarbon supplies ranging from 200,000 to 300,000 barrels per day.
Part of the Venezuelan economy depends on remittances.
Venezuela is a rapidly developing oil exporting state.
The Venezuelan economy is based on oil production, which provides 95% of export earnings, more than 50% of the state budget revenues and about 30% of GDP. Venezuela's GDP in 2009 was $344 billion. (35th place in the world). GDP per capita - 12.8 thousand dollars. Unemployment - 7.9% (in 2009). The proportion of the population below the poverty line is 37.9% (at the end of 2005). The growth of consumer prices in 2010 - 29.8%.
Industry (share in GDP - 35% in 2010) - oil production, production of building materials, food industry, textile industry; iron ore mining, steel and aluminum smelting; car assembly.
By 2013, annual inflation reached 54%. In November 2013, by order of President Nicolás Maduro, the owners and employees of networks selling electrical household goods were arrested. With the help of the army and the police, the goods were sold for 10% of the normal price. In a number of places, with residents wishing to receive goods at a reduced price, the police failed to cope and the shops were looted. Effective May 1, 2021, the minimum wage is 7,000,000 VES ($2.48) per month.
Venezuela has the world's largest proven oil reserves. At the beginning of 2017, the reserves amounted to 47.6 billion tons. Of these, 87.8% are presented in the form of extra-heavy and bituminous oil.
92.9% of crude oil is located within the Oriental basin. The most important fields in the basin are Cerro Negro (9.0 billion tons) and Zuata Principal (8.6 billion tons). Other largest deposits in Venezuela in terms of reserves are: Tia Juana Lago (379 million tons), Bloque 7 Ceuta (282 million tons), Boscan (213 million tons), Bachaquero Lago (213 million tons), Santa Barbara (186 million tons), Mulata (232 Mt) and El Furrial (128 Mt).
The share of agriculture in Venezuela's GDP is 4%. The industry
employs 13% of the workforce, one way or another, uses about a quarter
of the country's territory. Cultivated - corn, sorghum, sugarcane, rice,
bananas, vegetables, coffee. Beef, pork, milk, eggs are produced.
The most fertile agricultural lands of Venezuela are located around Lake Valencia, in the intermountain valleys of the Andes and in the south of the Lake Maracaibo basin. Vast areas of steppes and savannahs in the central part of the country were used for a long time mainly for cattle breeding, but after the construction of large irrigation facilities, rice, corn and other crops began to be grown here. Venezuela's main export crops are coffee and cocoa. Corn, rice and beans are grown exclusively for domestic consumption.
Most of the food is imported. Agriculture covers the country's own needs only by a third. In 2005, the United States alone exported $347 million worth of agricultural products to Venezuela.
In the early 1990s, the agricultural sector accounted for only about 4% of national income; this ratio creates the erroneous impression of a highly developed economy. Before oil was discovered, the main Venezuelan exports were coffee, cocoa, livestock, hides, etc.; however, by 1950, after years of neglect of agriculture, more than a third of food had to be imported. From the early 1950s to the mid-1970s, agricultural production increased significantly. Between 1961 and 1975, food production almost doubled, although the share of agricultural workers fell from one-third to one-fifth of the Venezuelan household. This made it possible to reduce imports to 7% of the required volume of food products. Later, agricultural production growth slowed to 24% in the 12 years from 1975 to 1987, while the population continued to grow rapidly. As a result, the amount of food per capita fell by 14%, and in 1987 Venezuela was forced to import almost a third of the necessary food.
The modern manufacturing industry began in the 1950s, and since then production in this sector has grown rapidly. Yet in the early 1990s, it employed only about 15% of the economically active population, and it accounted for 22% of GDP (and one fifth of this amount was oil products). Initially, the main manufacturing industries were oil refining and sugar, as well as the assembly of cars from imported parts and the production of textiles, cement, car tires and inner tubes, cigarettes, beer, soap, pharmaceuticals and glass products.
In the 1960s, Venezuela began to develop heavy industry. A powerful steel industry was established, and aluminum and fertilizer production began. Later, already in the 1970s, a significant part of the sharply increased income from oil exports was invested in heavy industry. Between 1970 and 1980, steel production nearly doubled, while nitrogen fertilizer production and aluminum smelting increased 15 times. In 1979, aluminum came out on top in Venezuelan exports (after oil products), leaving behind iron ore.
The development of heavy industry in the country is carried out mainly at the initiative of the government. The largest project was the development of the basic metallurgy industries in the Venezuelan Guayana region, on the Orinoco and Caroni rivers. The mineral wealth of the area - significant deposits of iron ore and bauxite, as well as rich hydropower resources and access to the sea (sea ships can rise along the Orinoco River) allowed the government corporation and private foreign firms to build enterprises for the production of steel and aluminum here. In addition, the government is also taking measures to develop the petrochemical industry: a large petrochemical complex has been built in the city of Moron, north of Valencia, and another one on the eastern shore of Lake Maracaibo.
In addition to oil (share in exports in 2017 - 80%), Venezuela
exports bauxite, aluminum, coffee, coal, nickel, emeralds, bananas,
Exports from Venezuela (27.8 billion dollars in 2017) go mainly to the United States - 11.6 billion dollars (42%), as well as to China - 6.42 billion dollars (23%) and India - 5.25 billion dollars (19%).
Venezuela imports ($9.1 billion in 2017) mainly industrial products, including petroleum products, food and consumer goods.
The main supplier of imports to Venezuela is the USA 38%, as well as China 18%, Mexico 12%, Brazil 5.2% and Colombia 3.5%
External debt of Venezuela - 43.4 billion dollars (at the end of 2009).
President Hugo Chavez pursued a policy of strengthening state control of the economy - in 2007 he nationalized enterprises in the oil, communications and energy sectors. In 2008, he nationalized the enterprises producing steel and cement. In July 2008, Chávez issued a decree further strengthening the subordination of the economy as part of his "21st century socialism" plan.
The sharp drop in oil prices in 2014-2016 against the background of the erroneous policies of the socialist presidents Chavez and Maduro led to an acute economic, social and political crisis. Since most of the food is imported, the country was on the verge of starvation.
Observers note the unprecedented scale of the crisis, the likes of which Latin America has not seen in its entire modern history. There are fears that a protracted crisis in Venezuela could threaten the stability of all Latin American countries.
The national armed forces of Venezuela have approximately 129 thousand military personnel and are divided into:
Ground forces - 64 thousand;
Naval forces - 18 thousand (including the Marine Corps - 8 thousand);
Air Force - 12 thousand;
National Guard - 36 thousand.
The largest astronomical observatory in Venezuela is the National Astronomical Observatory of Llano Del Hato. The asteroid 9357 Venezuela is named after Venezuela.
The culture of Venezuela has Spanish and Indian roots, in addition,
since the middle of the 20th century, some influence of the United
States has been affecting. The role of the Afro-Caribbean population in
the development of national culture is extremely small.
The ethnotype of Venezuela is considered to be "Llanero" - a resident of the plains (Llanos), reminiscent of the Argentine gaucho. Llanero folklore, their songs, dances and legends are very popular.
The favorite genre of Llanero folklore is choropo, which is a whole suite of dances, songs and instrumental pieces. The musical accompaniment includes national instruments - a maraca (a ratchet made from a dried gourd), a small harp and a four-string cuatro guitar. Of the other folk dances, tono llanero (melody of the plains) is popular; pasillo, a type of Creole waltz; merengue, a genre of African-American folklore common to the entire Antilles zone; and "tanguito", the Venezuelan Argentine tango. The folk song of Venezuela is represented by the genres of copla (couplet) and corrido, which developed on the basis of the Spanish romance.
A number of cultural organizations and institutions, such as the Ateneo theater in Caracas, actively promote national art and folk music. Many works of folk music are included in the repertoire of the Orfeon Lamas choir, which for a long time was headed by the composer Vicente Emilio Soho (1887-1974). Soho was also the conductor of the National Symphony Orchestra of Caracas. The Institute for the Study of Folklore in Caracas acts as an information center for the organization of regional festivals of folk art. Many of these festivals are held on religious holidays.
The formation of Venezuelan literature is associated with the names of Simon Rodriguez, Andrés Bello and Simon Bolivar. Romanticism in national literature is represented by the prose writer Fermin Toro (1807-1865) and the poet Juan Antonio Pérez Bonalde (1846-1892). Realism was pioneered by Manuel Vicente Romero Garcia (1865-1917), author of Paeonia (1890). The aesthetics of Spanish American modernism was developed by the prose writers Manuel Diaz Rodriguez (1868-1927) and Rufino Blanco Fombona (1974-1944). Teresa de la Parra (1891-1936), one of the most popular writers in Latin America, is also among the famous writers. The greatest Venezuelan writer of the 20th century was ex-president Romulo Gallegos (1884-1969), whose works are devoted to the relationship between man and nature; his novel Doña Barbara won international recognition. Mariano Picon Salas (1901-1965), a master of fiction, was also a well-known Latin American sociologist. From Venezuelan poets of the 20th century. Andres Eloi Blanco (1897-1955) is considered the largest. Among the most significant contemporary prose writers are Miguel Otero Silva (1908-1985), author of a number of novels on social themes, as well as the remarkable historical novel Lope de Aguirre, Prince of Liberty (1979); and Arturo Uslar Pietri (1906–2001), also an eminent critic and short story writer; known for his historical novel about the era of the struggle for the independence of Venezuela "Scarlet Spears" (1931).
Painting and architecture
The most important Venezuelan artist of the colonial era was Juan Pedro Lopez (1724-1787), the author of church murals. In the 19th century, Martin Tovar-i-Tovar (1828-1902) stands out, capturing episodes of the War of Independence from the Spanish Crown. Another nineteenth-century Romantic painter, Arturo Michelena (1873–1898), painted large works of religious and secular subjects. From artists of the 20th century. the most famous is Tito Salas (1889-1974). Among the younger generation of artists, one of the most gifted is Osvaldo Vigas. Sculptors Alejandro Colina and Francisco Narvaez (b. 1908) are popular. The center of fine arts in Venezuela is the Museum of Fine Arts in Caracas.
Venezuela was one of the poorest Spanish colonies, so there are no outstanding monuments of colonial architecture. A few examples of buildings from this period can be found in the capital, as well as in the old cities of Merida and Valencia. With the beginning of the oil boom, many creations of modern architects appeared. This new source of wealth stimulated a boom in construction, especially in Caracas.
The most popular sport is baseball.