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Countries > Venezuela Venezuela Flag

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Capital: Caracas
Population: 22,500,000
Click to Listen Play the National Anthem
Venezuela Map


Location: Northern South America, bordering the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, between Colombia and Guyana

Geographic coordinates: 8 00 N, 66 00 W

Map references: South America

total: 912,050 sq km
land: 882,050 sq km
water: 30,000 sq km

Area - comparative: slightly more than twice the size of California

Land boundaries:
total: 4,993 km
border countries: Brazil 2,200 km, Colombia 2,050 km, Guyana 743 km

Coastline: 2,800 km

Maritime claims:
contiguous zone: 15 nm
continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
territorial sea : 12 nm

Climate: tropical; hot, humid; more moderate in highlands

Terrain: Andes Mountains and Maracaibo Lowlands in northwest; central plains (llanos); Guiana Highlands in southeast

Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m
highest point : Pico Bolivar (La Columna) 5,007 m

Natural resources: petroleum, natural gas, iron ore, gold, bauxite, other minerals, hydropower, diamonds

Land use:
arable land : 4%
permanent crops: 1%
permanent pastures : 20%
forests and woodland: 34%
other: 41% (1998 est.)

Irrigated land: 540 sq km (1998 est.)

Natural hazards: subject to floods, rockslides, mud slides; periodic droughts

Environment - current issues: 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

Environment - international agreements:
party to : Biodiversity, Climate Change, Endangered Species, Marine Life Conservation, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: Hazardous Wastes, Marine Dumping, Tropical Timber 94

Geography - note: on major sea and air routes linking North and South America


Population: 24,287,670 (July 2002 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years :31.6% (male 3,955,132; female 3,710,159)
15-64 years:63.6% (male 7,756,362; female 7,695,738)
65 years and over: 4.8% (male 533,559; female 636,720) (2002 est.)

Population growth rate:1.52% (2002 est.)

Birth rate:20.22 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Death rate: 4.91 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Net migration rate: -0.11 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Sex ratio:
at birth:1.07 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.07 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
65 years and over :0.84 male(s)/female
total population:1.02 male(s)/female (2002 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 24.58 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population :73.56 years
male: 70.53 years
female : 76.81 years (2002 est.)

Total fertility rate: 2.41 children born/woman (2002 est.)

noun: Venezuelan(s)
adjective: Venezuelan

Ethnic groups: mestizo 67%, white 21%, black 10%, Amerindian 2%

Religions: nominally Roman Catholic 96%, Protestant 2%

Languages: Spanish (official), nnumerous indigenous dialects

definition : age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 91.1%
male: 91.8%
female: 90.3% (1995 est.)


Country name:
conventional long form: Republic of Venezuela
conventional short form: Venezuela
local long form: Republica de Venezuela
local short form : Venezuela

Data code: VE

Government type: republic

National capital: Caracas

Administrative divisions: 22 states (estados, singular - estado),1 federal district* (distrito federal), 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, Yaracuy, Zulia
note: the federal dependency consists of 11 federally controlled island groups with a total of 72 individual islands

Independence: 5 July 1811 (from Spain)

National holiday: Independence Day, 5 July (1811)

Constitution: 23 January 1961

Legal system: based on Napoleonic code; judicial review of legislative acts in Cassation Court only; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction

Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal

Executive branch:
chief of state: President Hugo CHAVEZ Frias (since 3 February 1999); Vice President Jose Vicente RANGEL (since 28 April 2002); 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 Jose Vicente RANGEL (since 28 April 2002); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president
elections: president elected by popular vote for a six-year term; election last held 30 July 2000 (next to be held NA 2006)
election results : Hugo CHAVEZ Frias reelected president; percent of vote - 60%

Legislative branch:unicameral National Assembly or Asamblea Nacional (165 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms; three seats reserved for the indigenous peoples of Venezuela)
elections: last held 30 July 2000 (next to be held NA 2005)
election results: percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - pro-government 108 (MVR 92, MAS 6, indigenous 3, other 7), opposition 57 (AD 33, COPEI 6, Justice First 5, other 13)

Judicial branch: Supreme Court of Justice (Corte Suprema de Justicia), magistrates are elected by both chambers in joint session

Political parties and leaders:Democratic Action or AD [Claudio FERMIN]; Fifth Republic Movement or MVR [Garcia PONCE]; Homeland for All or PPT [Jose ALBORNIZ]; Justice First [Julio BORGES]; Movement Toward Socialism or MAS [Hector MUJICA]; National Convergence or Convergencia [Juan Jose CALDERA]; Radical Cause or La Causa R [Antonio HERRERA]; Social Christian Party or COPEI [Oswaldo ALVAREZ Paz]; Venezuela Project or PV [Henrique SALAS Romer]

Political pressure groups and leaders:FEDECAMARAS, a conservative business group; VECINOS groups; Venezuelan Confederation of Workers or CTV (labor organization dominated by the Democratic Action)

International organization participation: AG, BCIE, Caricom (observer), CCC, CDB, ECLAC, FAO, G- 3, G-11, G-15, G-19, G-24, G-77, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICFTU, ICRM, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO, ITU, LAES, LAIA, MINURSO, NAM, OAS, OPANAL, OPEC, PCA, RG, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNIKOM, UNU, UPU, WCL, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO

Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Designate Roy CHADERTON Matos
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, and San Juan (Puerto Rico)

Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission : Ambassador Charles SHAPIRO
embassy: Calle F con Calle Suapure, Colinas de Valle Arriba, Caracas 1060
mailing address: P. O. Box 62291, Caracas 1060-A; APO AA 34037
telephone: [58] (2) 977-2011
FAX: [58] (2) 977-0843

Flag description: 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 seven white five-pointed stars centered in the blue band


Economy - overview:The petroleum sector dominates the economy, accounting for roughly a third of GDP, around 80% of export earnings, and more than half of government operating revenues. Venezuelan officials estimate that GDP grew by 2.7% in 2001. A strong rebound in international oil prices fueled the recovery from the steep recession in 1999. Nevertheless, a weak nonoil sector and capital flight - and a temporary fall in oil prices - undercut the recovery. In early 2002, President CHAVEZ changed the exchange rate regime from a crawling peg to a free floating exchange rate, causing the bolivar to depreciate significantly.

GDP: purchasing power parity - $146.2 billion (2001 est.)

GDP - real growth rate:2.7% (2001 est.)

GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $6,100 (2001 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 5%
industry: 40%
services: 55% (2001 est.)

Inflation rate - consumer price index: 12.3% (2001)

Labor force:
total: 9.9 million (1999)
by occupation : services 64%, industry 23%, agriculture 13% (1997 est.)

Unemployment rate: 14.1% (2001 est.)

revenues: $21.5 billion
expenditures : $27 billion, including capital expenditures of $NA (2000 est.)

Industries: petroleum, iron ore mining, construction materials, food processing, textiles, steel, aluminum, motor vehicle assembly

Industrial production growth rate: NA%

Electricity - capacity: 18.966 million kW (1995)

Electricity - production: 80.754 billion kWh (2000)

Electricity - consumption per capita: 75.101 billion kWh (2000)

Agriculture - products: corn, sorghum, sugarcane, rice, bananas, vegetables, coffee; beef, pork, milk, eggs; fish

total value : $29.5 billion (f.o.b., 2001)
commodities: petroleum 72%, bauxite and aluminum, steel, chemicals, agricultural products, basic manufactures
partners: US 60%, Brazil 5.5%, Colombia 3.5%, Italy 3.5%, Spain 3.4% (2000)

total value : $18.4 billion (f.o.b., 2001)
commodities: raw materials, machinery and equipment, transport equipment, construction materials
partners: US 35.8%, Colombia 6.8%, Brazil 4.5%, Germany 3.9%, Italy 3.9% (2000)

Debt - external: $34.5 billion (2000)

Economic aid:
recipient: $35 million with more assistance likely as a result of flooding (1999)

Currency: 1 bolivar(VEB) = 100 centimos

Exchange rates: bolivares per US dollar - 761.225 (January 2002), 723.666 (2001), 679.960 (2000), 605.717 (1999), 547.556 (1998), 488.635 (1997)

Fiscal year: calendar year


Telephones: 2.6 million (however, 3,500,000 have been installed) (1998)

Telephone system: 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: 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: AM 201, FM NA (20 in Caracas), shortwave 11 (1998)

Radios: 10.75 million (1997)

Television broadcast stations:66 (plus 45 repeaters) (1997)

Televisions: 4.1 million (1997)


total :682 km
standard gauge: 682 km 1.435-m gauge
note: 248 km of the existing system are privately owned; passenger services are nonexistent; however, a National Railways Plan, intended to provide a significant railway system, has been initiated (2001)

total: 96,155 km
paved: 32,308 km
unpaved: 63,847 km (1997 est.)

Waterways: 7,100 km; Rio Orinoco and Lago de Maracaibo accept oceangoing vessels

Pipelines: crude oil 6,370 km; petroleum products 480 km; natural gas 4,010 km

Ports and harbors: Amuay, Bajo Grande, El Tablazo, La Guaira, La Salina, Maracaibo, Matanzas, Palua, Puerto Cabello, Puerto la Cruz, Puerto Ordaz, Puerto Sucre, Punta Cardon

Merchant marine:
total: 45 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 716,361 GRT/1,267,095 DWT
ships by type: bulk 7, cargo 9, liquefied gas 3, passenger/cargo 1, petroleum tanker 14, roll on/roll off 10, short-sea passenger 1

Airports:372 (2001)

Airports - with paved runways:
total : 124
over 3,047 m: 5
2,438 to 3,047 m:11
1,524 to 2,437 m:32
914 to 1,523 m: 59
under 914 m: 17 (2001)

Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 248
1,524 to 2,437 m:11
914 to 1,523 m:97
under 914 m:140 (2001)


Military branches: National Armed Forces (Fuerzas Armadas Nacionales or FAN) includes Ground Forces or Army (Fuerzas Terrestres or Ejercito), Naval Forces (Fuerzas Navales or Armada), Air Force (Fuerzas Aereas or Aviacion), Armed Forces of Cooperation or National Guard (Fuerzas Armadas de Cooperacion or Guardia Nacional)

Military manpower - military age: 18 years of age

Military manpower - availability:
males age 15-49 : 6,647,718 (2002 est.)

Military manpower - fit for military service:
males:4,786,849 (2002 est.)

Military manpower - reaching military age annually:
males: 246,185 (2002 est.)

Military expenditures - dollar figure:$934 million (FY99)

Military expenditures - percent of GDP: 0.9% (FY99)

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international: claims all of Guyana west of the Essequibo River; maritime boundary dispute with Colombia in the Gulf of Venezuela

Illicit drugs: illicit producer of cannabis, opium, and coca leaf for the international drug trade on a small scale; however, large quantities of cocaine and heroin transit the country from Colombia; important money-laundering hub; active aerial eradication program primarily targeting opium

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