Venezuela (GPS: 8 00 N, 66 00 W) is located in Northern South America, bordering the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, between Colombia and Guyana. The country’s area measurements are total: 912,050 sq km; land: 882,050 sq km, water: 30,000 sq km. This sovereign state is almost six times the size of Georgia, slightly more than twice the size of California. The total irrigated land is 10,550 sq km (2012).
One of the essential features of Venezuela: The country lies on the central sea and air routes linking North and South America. Venezuela has some of the unique geology in the world. Tepuis are massive table-top mountains of the western Guiana Highlands that tend to be isolated and support unique endemic plant and animal species. Their sheer cliffsides account for some of the most spectacular waterfalls globally, including Angel Falls, the world’s highest (979 m) that drops off Auyan Tepui.
It’s significant, and at the same time, the principal city, Caracas’s GPS coordinates are 10 29 N 66 52 W. Caracas’s local time is 1 hour ahead of Washington DC during Standard Time. The capital’s time difference: UTC-4.
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 some social reforms. Democratically elected governments have held sway since 1959, although the re-election of current disputed President Nicolas MADURO in an election boycotted by most opposition parties was widely viewed as fraudulent. Under Hugo CHAVEZ, president from 1999 to 2013, and his hand-picked successor, MADURO, the executive branch has exercised increasingly authoritarian control over other branches of government.
National Assembly President Juan GUAIDO is currently recognized by more than 50 countries – including the United States – as the interim president. At the same time, MADURO retains control of all other institutions within the country and has security forces. Venezuela is currently authoritarian with only one democratic institution – the National Assembly – and substantial restrictions on freedoms of expression and the press.
The ruling party’s economic policies expanded the state’s role in the economy through expropriations of significant enterprises, strict currency exchange and price controls that discourage private-sector investment and production, and overdependence on the petroleum industry for revenues, among others. However, in 2019, Caracas relaxed some economic rules to mitigate the financial crisis’s impacts driven by a drop in oil production. Current concerns include human rights abuses, rampant violent crime, high inflation, and widespread shortages of essential consumer goods, medicine, and medical supplies.
Venezuela’s names conventional long form: the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, traditional short form: Venezuela, local long way: Republica Bolivariana de Venezuela, local short state: Venezuela, etymology: native stilt-houses built on Lake Maracaibo reminded early explorers Alonso de OJEDA and Amerigo VESPUCCI in 1499 of buildings in Venice, and so they named the region “Venezuola,” which in Italian means “Little Venice.” Native stilt-houses built on Lake Maracaibo reminded early explorers Alonso de OJEDA and Amerigo VESPUCCI in Venice’s 1499 buildings. So they named the region “Venezuola,” which in Italian means “Little Venice.”
Venezuela’s terrain is typically Andes Mountains and Maracaibo Lowlands in the northwest; central plains (llanos); the Guiana Highlands in the southeast. The country’s mean elevation: 450 m, elevation extremes; lowest point: the Caribbean Sea 0 m, highest point: Pico Bolivar 5,007 m.
The general climate in the country; tropical: hot, humid: more moderate in highlands.
The total number of border countries is 3, Brazil 2,137 km, Colombia 2,341 km, Guyana 789 km are the neighboring nations with the indicated border lengths. Venezuela’s coastline is 2,800 km. Its marital claims are territorial sea: 12 nautical miles, contiguous zone: 15 nautical miles, exclusive economic zone: 200 nautical miles, continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation. Waterways: 7,100 km (Orinoco River (400 km) and Lake de Maracaibo navigable by oceangoing vessels) (2011). Land use: agricultural land: 24.5%; arable land 3.1%; permanent crops 0.8%; permanent pasture 20.6%; forest: 52.1%; other: 23.4% (2011 estimate).
The population in Venezuela 31,689,176 (July 2018 estimate), urban population: 89% of total population (2015), central metropolitan area’s population: CARACAS (capital) 2.916 million; Maracaibo 2.196 million; Valencia 1.734 million; Maracay 1.166 million; Barquisimeto 1.039 million (2015), while Venezuela has most of the population is concentrated in the northern and western highlands along an eastern spur at the north end of the Andes, an area that includes the capital of Caracas. Their spoken languages are Spanish (official language), numerous indigenous dialects. Main religions in Venezuela are nominally Roman Catholic 96%, Protestant 2%, other 2%. The nation uses civil law system based on the Spanish civil code. It is a(n) federal presidential republic, National holiday(s) Independence Day, 5 July (1811).
Economic overview for the country: Venezuela remains highly dependent on oil revenues, which account for almost all export earnings and nearly half of the government’s revenue, despite a continued decline in oil production in 2017. In the absence of official statistics, foreign experts estimate that GDP contracted 12% in 2017, inflation exceeded 2000%, and people faced widespread consumer goods and medicine shortages. The central bank’s international reserves dwindled. In late 2017, Venezuela also entered selective default on some of its sovereign and state oil company, Petroleos de Venezuela, S.A., (PDVSA) bonds.
Domestic production and industry continue to underperform severely, and the Venezuelan government continues to rely on imports to meet its raw food and consumer goods needs. Falling oil prices since 2014 have aggravated Venezuela’s economic crisis. Insufficient access to dollars, price controls, and rigid labor regulations have led some US and multinational firms to reduce or shut down their Venezuelan operations. Market uncertainty and PDVSA’s low cash flow have slowed investment in the petroleum sector, resulting in a decline in oil production. Under President Nicolas MADURO, the Venezuelan Government’s response to the economic crisis has been to increase state control over the economy and blame the private sector for shortages.
MADURO has given authority to produce and distribute essential goods to the military and local socialist party member committees. The Venezuelan Government has maintained strict currency controls since 2003. The government has been unable to sustain its mechanisms for distributing dollars to the private sector, in part because it needed to withhold some foreign exchange reserves to make its foreign bond payments. As a result of price and currency controls, local industries have struggled to purchase production inputs necessary to maintain their operations or sell goods at a profit on the local market. Expansionary monetary policies and currency controls have created opportunities for arbitrage and corruption and fueled a rapid increase in black market activity.
Natural resources of Venezuela: petroleum, natural gas, iron ore, gold, bauxite, other minerals, hydropower, diamonds.
Main export partners for Venezuela, South America are the US 26.6%, India 13.7%, China 11.7%, Cuba 6.4% (2015) for petroleum and petroleum products, bauxite and aluminum, minerals, chemicals, agricultural products, while the main import partners for the country are: the US 18.4%, China 15.3%, Brazil 9.7%, Colombia 5.9%, Mexico 4.2% (2015) for agricultural products, livestock, raw materials, machinery and equipment, transport equipment, construction materials, medical equipment, petroleum products, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, iron and steel products.
When you visit this country in South America, consider the natural hazards in Venezuela: Subject to floods, rockslides, mudslides, periodic droughts, while infectious diseases are a degree of risk: high food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea and hepatitis A vectorborne diseases: dengue fever and malaria. Note: active local transmission of Zika virus by Aedes species mosquitoes has been identified in this country (as of August 2016); it poses a substantial risk (a large number of cases possible) among US citizens if bitten by an infective mosquito; other less common ways to get Zika are through sex, via blood transfusion, or during pregnancy, in which the pregnant woman passes Zika virus to her fetus (2016). Also, note that Venezuela faces the following environmental 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, Threat to the rainforest ecosystem from irresponsible mining operations.
You may also be interested in the countries next to Venezuela around its total: 5,267 km border, like Brazil, Colombia, Guyana.