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"Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela" redirects here. Venezuela_sentence_0

For the period when it was known as the "Republic of Venezuela" from 1953 to 1999, see Republic of Venezuela. Venezuela_sentence_1

This article is about the country. Venezuela_sentence_2

For other uses, see Venezuela (disambiguation). Venezuela_sentence_3


Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela

República Bolivariana de Venezuela  (Spanish)Venezuela_header_cell_0_0_0


and largest cityVenezuela_header_cell_0_1_0

Official languagesVenezuela_header_cell_0_2_0 SpanishVenezuela_cell_0_2_1
Recognized regional languagesVenezuela_header_cell_0_3_0 26 languagesVenezuela_cell_0_3_1
Ethnic groups (2011)Venezuela_header_cell_0_4_0 Venezuela_cell_0_4_1
Religion (2012)Venezuela_header_cell_0_5_0 89% Christianity

—71% Roman Catholic —17% Protestant —1% Other Christian 8% No religion 2% Other religions 1% No answerVenezuela_cell_0_5_1

Demonym(s)Venezuela_header_cell_0_6_0 VenezuelanVenezuela_cell_0_6_1
GovernmentVenezuela_header_cell_0_7_0 Federal dominant-party presidential constitutional republicVenezuela_cell_0_7_1
PresidentVenezuela_header_cell_0_8_0 Venezuela_cell_0_8_1
Vice PresidentVenezuela_header_cell_0_9_0 Delcy Rodríguez (constitutional position disputed)Venezuela_cell_0_9_1
LegislatureVenezuela_header_cell_0_10_0 National Assembly

Constituent Assembly (disputed)Venezuela_cell_0_10_1

from SpainVenezuela_header_cell_0_12_0 5 July 1811Venezuela_cell_0_12_1
from Gran ColombiaVenezuela_header_cell_0_13_0 13 January 1830Venezuela_cell_0_13_1
RecognizedVenezuela_header_cell_0_14_0 29 March 1845Venezuela_cell_0_14_1
Admitted to the United NationsVenezuela_header_cell_0_15_0 15 November 1945Venezuela_cell_0_15_1
Current constitutionVenezuela_header_cell_0_16_0 20 December 1999Venezuela_cell_0_16_1
Area Venezuela_header_cell_0_17_0
TotalVenezuela_header_cell_0_18_0 916,445 km (353,841 sq mi) (32nd)Venezuela_cell_0_18_1
Water (%)Venezuela_header_cell_0_19_0 3.2%Venezuela_cell_0_19_1
2018 estimateVenezuela_header_cell_0_21_0 28,887,118 (government)

28,067,000 (IMF) (45th)Venezuela_cell_0_21_1

DensityVenezuela_header_cell_0_22_0 33.74/km (87.4/sq mi) (181st)Venezuela_cell_0_22_1
GDP (PPP)Venezuela_header_cell_0_23_0 2019 estimateVenezuela_cell_0_23_1
TotalVenezuela_header_cell_0_24_0 $204.291 billionVenezuela_cell_0_24_1
Per capitaVenezuela_header_cell_0_25_0 $7,344Venezuela_cell_0_25_1
GDP (nominal)Venezuela_header_cell_0_26_0 2019 estimateVenezuela_cell_0_26_1
TotalVenezuela_header_cell_0_27_0 $63.960 billion (84th)Venezuela_cell_0_27_1
Per capitaVenezuela_header_cell_0_28_0 $2,299 (146th)Venezuela_cell_0_28_1
Gini (2013)Venezuela_header_cell_0_29_0 44.8


HDI (2018)Venezuela_header_cell_0_30_0 0.726

high · 96thVenezuela_cell_0_30_1

CurrencyVenezuela_header_cell_0_31_0 (VES)Venezuela_cell_0_31_1
Time zoneVenezuela_header_cell_0_32_0 UTC−4 (VET)Venezuela_cell_0_32_1
Date formatVenezuela_header_cell_0_33_0 dd/mm/yyyy (CE)Venezuela_cell_0_33_1
Driving sideVenezuela_header_cell_0_34_0 rightVenezuela_cell_0_34_1
Calling codeVenezuela_header_cell_0_35_0 +58Venezuela_cell_0_35_1
ISO 3166 codeVenezuela_header_cell_0_36_0 VEVenezuela_cell_0_36_1
Internet TLDVenezuela_header_cell_0_37_0 .veVenezuela_cell_0_37_1

Venezuela (/ˌvɛnəˈzweɪlə/; American Spanish: [beneˈswela (listen)), officially the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela (Spanish: República Bolivariana de Venezuela), is a country on the northern coast of South America, consisting of a continental landmass and many islands and islets in the Caribbean Sea. Venezuela_sentence_4

It has a territorial extension of 916,445 km (353,841 sq mi) and the population of Venezuela was estimated at 28 million in 2019. Venezuela_sentence_5

The capital and largest urban agglomeration is the city of Caracas. Venezuela_sentence_6

The continental territory is bordered on the north by the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean, on the west by Colombia, Brazil on the south, Trinidad and Tobago to the north-east and on the east by Guyana. Venezuela_sentence_7

The Venezuelan government maintains a claim against Guyana to Guayana Esequiba. Venezuela_sentence_8

Venezuela is a federal presidential republic consisting of 23 states, the Capital District and federal dependencies covering Venezuela's offshore islands. Venezuela_sentence_9

Venezuela is among the most urbanized countries in Latin America; the vast majority of Venezuelans live in the cities of the north and in the capital. Venezuela_sentence_10

The territory of Venezuela was colonized by Spain in 1522 amid resistance from indigenous peoples. Venezuela_sentence_11

In 1811, it became one of the first Spanish-American territories to declare independence from the Spanish as a department of the federal republic of Gran Colombia. Venezuela_sentence_12

It gained full sovereignty as a country in 1830. Venezuela_sentence_13

During the 19th century, Venezuela suffered political turmoil and autocracy, remaining dominated by regional military dictators until the mid-20th century. Venezuela_sentence_14

Since 1958, the country has had a series of democratic governments, as an exception where most of the region was ruled by military dictatorships, and the period was characterized by economic prosperity. Venezuela_sentence_15

Economic shocks in the 1980s and 1990s led to major political crises and widespread social unrest, including the deadly Caracazo riots of 1989, two attempted coups in 1992, and the impeachment of a President for embezzlement of public funds charges in 1993. Venezuela_sentence_16

The collapse in confidence in the existing parties saw the 1998 Venezuelan presidential election, the catalyst for the Bolivarian Revolution, which began with a 1999 Constituent Assembly, where a new Constitution of Venezuela was imposed. Venezuela_sentence_17

The government populist social welfare policies were bolstered by soaring oil prices, temporarily increasing social spending, and reducing economic inequality and poverty in the early years of the regime. Venezuela_sentence_18

The 2013 Venezuelan presidential election was widely disputed leading to widespread protest, which triggered another nationwide crisis that continues to this day. Venezuela_sentence_19

Venezuela is a developing country and ranks 96th on the Human Development Index. Venezuela_sentence_20

It has the world's largest known oil reserves and has been one of the world's leading exporters of oil. Venezuela_sentence_21

Previously, the country was an underdeveloped exporter of agricultural commodities such as coffee and cocoa, but oil quickly came to dominate exports and government revenues. Venezuela_sentence_22

The excesses and poor policies of the incumbent government led to the collapse of Venezuela's entire economy. Venezuela_sentence_23

The country struggles with record hyperinflation, shortages of basic goods, unemployment, poverty, disease, high child mortality, malnutrition, severe crime and corruption. Venezuela_sentence_24

These factors have precipitated the Venezuelan migrant crisis where more than three million people have fled the country. Venezuela_sentence_25

By 2017, Venezuela was declared to be in default regarding debt payments by credit rating agencies. Venezuela_sentence_26

The crisis in Venezuela has contributed to a rapidly deteriorating human rights situation, including increased abuses such as torture, arbitrary imprisonment, extrajudicial killings and attacks on human rights advocates. Venezuela_sentence_27

Venezuela is a charter member of the UN, OAS, UNASUR, ALBA, Mercosur, LAIA and OEI. Venezuela_sentence_28

Etymology Venezuela_section_0

According to the most popular and accepted version, in 1499, an expedition led by Alonso de Ojeda visited the Venezuelan coast. Venezuela_sentence_29

The stilt houses in the area of Lake Maracaibo reminded the Italian navigator, Amerigo Vespucci, of the city of Venice, Italy, so he named the region Veneziola, or "Little Venice". Venezuela_sentence_30

The Spanish version of Veneziola is Venezuela. Venezuela_sentence_31

Martín Fernández de Enciso, a member of the Vespucci and Ojeda crew, gave a different account. Venezuela_sentence_32

In his work Summa de geografía, he states that the crew found indigenous people who called themselves the Veneciuela. Venezuela_sentence_33

Thus, the name "Venezuela" may have evolved from the native word. Venezuela_sentence_34

Previously, the official name was Estado de Venezuela (1830–1856), República de Venezuela (1856–1864), Estados Unidos de Venezuela (1864–1953), and again República de Venezuela (1953–1999). Venezuela_sentence_35

History Venezuela_section_1

Main article: History of Venezuela Venezuela_sentence_36

Pre-Columbian history Venezuela_section_2

Evidence exists of human habitation in the area now known as Venezuela from about 15,000 years ago. Venezuela_sentence_37

Leaf-shaped tools from this period, together with chopping and scraping implements, have been found exposed on the high riverine terraces of the Rio Pedregal in western Venezuela. Venezuela_sentence_38

Late Pleistocene hunting artifacts, including spear tips, have been found at a similar series of sites in northwestern Venezuela known as "El Jobo"; according to radiocarbon dating, these date from 13,000 to 7,000 BC. Venezuela_sentence_39

It is not known how many people lived in Venezuela before the Spanish conquest; it has been estimated at around one million. Venezuela_sentence_40

In addition to indigenous peoples known today, the population included historical groups such as the Kalina (Caribs), Auaké, Caquetio, Mariche, and Timoto–Cuicas. Venezuela_sentence_41

The Timoto–Cuica culture was the most complex society in Pre-Columbian Venezuela, with pre-planned permanent villages, surrounded by irrigated, terraced fields. Venezuela_sentence_42

They also stored water in tanks. Venezuela_sentence_43

Their houses were made primarily of stone and wood with thatched roofs. Venezuela_sentence_44

They were peaceful, for the most part, and depended on growing crops. Venezuela_sentence_45

Regional crops included potatoes and ullucos. Venezuela_sentence_46

They left behind works of art, particularly anthropomorphic ceramics, but no major monuments. Venezuela_sentence_47

They spun vegetable fibers to weave into textiles and mats for housing. Venezuela_sentence_48

They are credited with having invented the arepa, a staple in Venezuelan cuisine. Venezuela_sentence_49

After the conquest, the population dropped markedly, mainly through the spread of new infectious diseases from Europe. Venezuela_sentence_50

Two main north–south axes of pre-Columbian population were present, who cultivated maize in the west and manioc in the east. Venezuela_sentence_51

Large parts of the llanos were cultivated through a combination of slash and burn and permanent settled agriculture. Venezuela_sentence_52

Colonization Venezuela_section_3

Main articles: Spanish colonization of the Americas and Colonial Venezuela Venezuela_sentence_53

In 1498, during his third voyage to the Americas, Christopher Columbus sailed near the Orinoco Delta and landed in the Gulf of Paria. Venezuela_sentence_54

Amazed by the great offshore current of freshwater which deflected his course eastward, Columbus expressed in a letter to Isabella and Ferdinand that he must have reached Heaven on Earth (terrestrial paradise): Venezuela_sentence_55

Spain's colonization of mainland Venezuela started in 1522, establishing its first permanent South American settlement in the present-day city of Cumaná. Venezuela_sentence_56

In the 16th century, Venezuela was contracted as a concession by the King of Spain to the German Welser banking family (Klein-Venedig, 1528–1546). Venezuela_sentence_57

Native caciques (leaders) such as Guaicaipuro (c. 1530–1568) and Tamanaco (died 1573) attempted to resist Spanish incursions, but the newcomers ultimately subdued them; Tamanaco was put to death by order of Caracas' founder, Diego de Losada. Venezuela_sentence_58

In the 16th century, during the Spanish colonization, indigenous peoples such as many of the Mariches, themselves descendants of the Kalina, converted to Roman Catholicism. Venezuela_sentence_59

Some of the resisting tribes or leaders are commemorated in place names, including Caracas, Chacao and Los Teques. Venezuela_sentence_60

The early colonial settlements focused on the northern coast, but in the mid-18th century, the Spanish pushed farther inland along the Orinoco River. Venezuela_sentence_61

Here, the Ye'kuana (then known as the Makiritare) organized serious resistance in 1775 and 1776. Venezuela_sentence_62

Spain's eastern Venezuelan settlements were incorporated into New Andalusia Province. Venezuela_sentence_63

Administered by the Royal Audiencia of Santo Domingo from the early 16th century, most of Venezuela became part of the Viceroyalty of New Granada in the early 18th century, and was then reorganized as an autonomous Captaincy General starting in 1777. Venezuela_sentence_64

The town of Caracas, founded in the central coastal region in 1567, was well-placed to become a key location, being near the coastal port of La Guaira whilst itself being located in a valley in a mountain range, providing defensive strength against pirates and a more fertile and healthy climate. Venezuela_sentence_65

Independence and 19th century Venezuela_section_4

Main article: Venezuelan War of Independence Venezuela_sentence_66

After a series of unsuccessful uprisings, Venezuela, under the leadership of Francisco de Miranda, a Venezuelan marshal who had fought in the American Revolution and the French Revolution, declared independence as the First Republic of Venezuela on 5 July 1811. Venezuela_sentence_67

This began the Venezuelan War of Independence. Venezuela_sentence_68

A devastating earthquake that struck Caracas in 1812, together with the rebellion of the Venezuelan llaneros, helped bring down the republic. Venezuela_sentence_69

Simón Bolívar, new leader of the independentist forces, launched his Admirable Campaign in 1813 from New Granada, retaking most of the territory and being proclaimed as El Libertador ("The Liberator"). Venezuela_sentence_70

A second Venezuelan republic was proclaimed on 7 August 1813, but lasted only a few months before being crushed at the hands of royalist caudillo José Tomás Boves and his personal army of llaneros. Venezuela_sentence_71

The end of the French invasion of homeland Spain in 1814 allowed the preparation of a large expeditionary force to the American provinces under general Pablo Morillo, with the goal to regain the lost territory in Venezuela and New Granada. Venezuela_sentence_72

As the war reached a stalemate on 1817, Bolívar reestablished the Third Republic of Venezuela on the territory still controlled by the patriots, mainly in the Guayana and Llanos regions. Venezuela_sentence_73

This republic was short-lived as only two years later, during the Congress of Angostura of 1819, the union of Venezuela with New Granada was decreed to form the Republic of Gran Colombia. Venezuela_sentence_74

The war continued for some years, until full victory and sovereignty was attained after Bolívar, aided by José Antonio Páez and Antonio José de Sucre, won the Battle of Carabobo on 24 June 1821. Venezuela_sentence_75

On 24 July 1823, José Prudencio Padilla and Rafael Urdaneta helped seal Venezuelan independence with their victory in the Battle of Lake Maracaibo. Venezuela_sentence_76

New Granada's congress gave Bolívar control of the Granadian army; leading it, he liberated several countries and founded Gran Colombia. Venezuela_sentence_77

Sucre, who won many battles for Bolívar, went on to liberate Ecuador and later become the second president of Bolivia. Venezuela_sentence_78

Venezuela remained part of Gran Colombia until 1830, when a rebellion led by Páez allowed the proclamation of a newly independent Venezuela; Páez became the first president of the new State of Venezuela. Venezuela_sentence_79

Between one-quarter and one-third of Venezuela's population was lost during these two decades of warfare (including perhaps one-half of the white population), which by 1830, was estimated at about 800,000. Venezuela_sentence_80

The colors of the Venezuelan flag are yellow, blue, and red: the yellow stands for land wealth, the blue for the sea that separates Venezuela from Spain, and the red for the blood shed by the heroes of independence. Venezuela_sentence_81

Slavery in Venezuela was abolished in 1854. Venezuela_sentence_82

Much of Venezuela's 19th-century history was characterized by political turmoil and dictatorial rule, including the Independence leader José Antonio Páez, who gained the presidency three times and served a total of 11 years between 1830 and 1863. Venezuela_sentence_83

This culminated in the Federal War (1859–1863), a civil war in which hundreds of thousands died in a country with a population of not much more than a million people. Venezuela_sentence_84

In the latter half of the century, Antonio Guzmán Blanco, another caudillo, served a total of 13 years between 1870 and 1887, with three other presidents interspersed. Venezuela_sentence_85

In 1895, a longstanding dispute with Great Britain about the territory of Guayana Esequiba, which Britain claimed as part of British Guiana and Venezuela saw as Venezuelan territory, erupted into the Venezuela Crisis of 1895. Venezuela_sentence_86

The dispute became a diplomatic crisis when Venezuela's lobbyist, William L. Scruggs, sought to argue that British behavior over the issue violated the United States' Monroe Doctrine of 1823, and used his influence in Washington, D.C., to pursue the matter. Venezuela_sentence_87

Then, U.S. president Grover Cleveland adopted a broad interpretation of the doctrine that did not just simply forbid new European colonies, but declared an American interest in any matter within the hemisphere. Venezuela_sentence_88

Britain ultimately accepted arbitration, but in negotiations over its terms was able to persuade the U.S. on many of the details. Venezuela_sentence_89

A tribunal convened in Paris in 1898 to decide the issue and in 1899 awarded the bulk of the disputed territory to British Guiana. Venezuela_sentence_90

In 1899, Cipriano Castro, assisted by his friend Juan Vicente Gómez, seized power in Caracas, marching an army from his base in the Andean state of Táchira. Venezuela_sentence_91

Castro defaulted on Venezuela's considerable foreign debts and declined to pay compensation to foreigners caught up in Venezuela's civil wars. Venezuela_sentence_92

This led to the Venezuela Crisis of 1902–1903, in which Britain, Germany and Italy imposed a naval blockade of several months before international arbitration at the new Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague was agreed. Venezuela_sentence_93

In 1908, another dispute broke out with the Netherlands, which was resolved when Castro left for medical treatment in Germany and was promptly overthrown by Juan Vicente Gómez (1908–1935). Venezuela_sentence_94

20th century Venezuela_section_5

Bolivarian government: 1999–present Venezuela_section_6

Main article: Bolivarian Revolution Venezuela_sentence_95

The Bolivarian Revolution refers to a left-wing populism social movement and political process in Venezuela led by Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez, who founded the Fifth Republic Movement in 1997 and the United Socialist Party of Venezuela in 2007. Venezuela_sentence_96

The "Bolivarian Revolution" is named after Simón Bolívar, an early 19th-century Venezuelan and Latin American revolutionary leader, prominent in the Spanish American wars of independence in achieving the independence of most of northern South America from Spanish rule. Venezuela_sentence_97

According to Chávez and other supporters, the "Bolivarian Revolution" seeks to build a mass movement to implement Bolivarianismpopular democracy, economic independence, equitable distribution of revenues, and an end to political corruption—in Venezuela. Venezuela_sentence_98

They interpret Bolívar's ideas from a populist perspective, using socialist rhetoric. Venezuela_sentence_99

Hugo Chávez: 1999–2013 Venezuela_section_7

Main article: Presidency of Hugo Chávez Venezuela_sentence_100

A collapse in confidence in the existing parties led to Chávez being elected president in 1998 and the subsequent launch of a "Bolivarian Revolution", beginning with a 1999 Constituent Assembly to write a new Constitution of Venezuela. Venezuela_sentence_101

Chávez also initiated Bolivarian missions, programs aimed at helping the poor. Venezuela_sentence_102

In April 2002, Chávez was briefly ousted from power in the 2002 Venezuelan coup d'état attempt following popular demonstrations by his opponents, but he returned to power after two days as a result of demonstrations by poor Chávez supporters in Caracas and actions by the military. Venezuela_sentence_103

Chávez also remained in power after an all-out national strike that lasted from December 2002 to February 2003, including a strike/lockout in the state oil company PDVSA. Venezuela_sentence_104

The strike produced severe economic dislocation, with the country's GDP falling 27% during the first four months of 2003, and costing the oil industry $13.3 billion. Venezuela_sentence_105

Capital flight before and during the strike led to the reimposition of currency controls (which had been abolished in 1989), managed by the CADIVI agency. Venezuela_sentence_106

In the subsequent decade, the government was forced into several currency devaluations. Venezuela_sentence_107

These devaluations have done little to improve the situation of the Venezuelan people who rely on imported products or locally produced products that depend on imported inputs while dollar-denominated oil sales account for the vast majority of Venezuela's exports. Venezuela_sentence_108

According to Sebastian Boyd writing at Bloomberg News, the profits of the oil industry have been lost to "social engineering" and corruption, instead of investments needed to maintain oil production. Venezuela_sentence_109

Chávez survived several further political tests, including an August 2004 recall referendum. Venezuela_sentence_110

He was elected for another term in December 2006 and re-elected for a third term in October 2012. Venezuela_sentence_111

However, he was never sworn in for his third period, due to medical complications. Venezuela_sentence_112

Chávez died on 5 March 2013 after a nearly two-year fight with cancer. Venezuela_sentence_113

The presidential election that took place on Sunday, 14 April 2013, was the first since Chávez took office in 1999 in which his name did not appear on the ballot. Venezuela_sentence_114

Nicolás Maduro: 2013–present Venezuela_section_8

Main article: Presidency of Nicolás Maduro Venezuela_sentence_115

Further information: Crisis in Venezuela Venezuela_sentence_116

Poverty and inflation began to increase into the 2010s. Venezuela_sentence_117

Nicolás Maduro was elected in 2013 after the death of Chavez. Venezuela_sentence_118

Chavez picked Maduro as his successor and appointed him vice president in 2013. Venezuela_sentence_119

Maduro was elected president in a shortened election in 2013 following Chavez's death. Venezuela_sentence_120

Nicolás Maduro has been the president of Venezuela since 14 April 2013, after winning the second presidential election after Chávez's death, with 50.61% of the votes against the opposition's candidate Henrique Capriles Radonski who had 49.12% of the votes. Venezuela_sentence_121

The Democratic Unity Roundtable contested his election as fraud and as a violation of the constitution. Venezuela_sentence_122

An audit of 56% of the vote showed no discrepancies, and the Supreme Court of Venezuela ruled that under Venezuela's Constitution, Nicolás Maduro is the legitimate president and was invested as such by the Venezuelan National Assembly (Asamblea Nacional). Venezuela_sentence_123

Opposition leaders and some international media consider the government of Maduro to be a dictatorship. Venezuela_sentence_124

Beginning in February 2014, hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans have protested over high levels of criminal violence, corruption, hyperinflation, and chronic scarcity of basic goods due to policies of the federal government. Venezuela_sentence_125

Demonstrations and riots have left over 40 fatalities in the unrest between both Chavistas and opposition protesters, and has led to the arrest of opposition leaders including Leopoldo López and Antonio Ledezma. Venezuela_sentence_126

Human rights groups have strongly condemned the arrest of Leopoldo López. Venezuela_sentence_127

In the 2015 Venezuelan parliamentary election, the opposition gained a majority. Venezuela_sentence_128

Venezuela devalued its currency in February 2013 due to the rising shortages in the country, which included those of milk, flour, and other necessities. Venezuela_sentence_129

This led to an increase in malnutrition, especially among children. Venezuela_sentence_130

Venezuela's economy had become strongly dependent on the exportation of oil with crude accounting for 86% of exports, and a high price per barrel to support social programs. Venezuela_sentence_131

Beginning in 2014 the price of oil plummeted from over $100/bbl to $40/bbl a year and a half later, this placed great pressure on the Venezuelan economy, which was no longer able to afford vast social programs. Venezuela_sentence_132

To counter the decrease in oil prices, the Venezuelan Government began taking more money from PDVSA, the state oil company, to meet budgets resulting in a lack of reinvestment in fields and employees. Venezuela_sentence_133

This has seen Venezuela's oil production decrease from its height of nearly 3 to 1 million barrels (480 to 160 thousand cubic metres) per day. Venezuela_sentence_134

In 2014, Venezuela entered an economic recession. Venezuela_sentence_135

In 2015, Venezuela had the world's highest inflation rate with the rate surpassing 100%, becoming the highest in the country's history. Venezuela_sentence_136

In 2017, Donald Trump's administration imposed more economic sanctions against Venezuela's state-owned oil company PDVSA and Venezuelan officials. Venezuela_sentence_137

Economic problems, as well as crime and corruption, were some of the main causes of the 2014–present Venezuelan protests. Venezuela_sentence_138

Since 2015 nearly 2 million people have fled Venezuela. Venezuela_sentence_139

In January 2016, President Maduro decreed an "economic emergency" revealing the extent of the crisis and expanding his powers. Venezuela_sentence_140

In July 2016, Colombian border crossings were temporarily opened to allow Venezuelans to purchase food and basic household and health items in Colombia. Venezuela_sentence_141

In September 2016, a study published in the Spanish-language Diario Las Américas indicated that 15% of Venezuelans are eating "food waste discarded by commercial establishments". Venezuela_sentence_142

Close to 200 riots had occurred in Venezuelan prisons by October 2016, according to Una Ventana a la Libertad, an advocacy group for better prison conditions. Venezuela_sentence_143

The father of an inmate at Táchira Detention Center in Caracas alleged that his son was cannibalized by other inmates during a month-long riot, a claim corroborated by an anonymous police source but denied by the Minister of Correctional Affairs. Venezuela_sentence_144

In 2017, Venezuela experienced a constitutional crisis in the country. Venezuela_sentence_145

In March 2017, opposition leaders branded President Nicolas Maduro a dictator after the Maduro-aligned Supreme Tribunal, which had been overturning most National Assembly decisions since the opposition took control of the body, took over the functions of the assembly, pushing a lengthy political standoff to new heights. Venezuela_sentence_146

However, the Supreme Court quickly backed down and reversed its decision on 1 April 2017. Venezuela_sentence_147

A month later, President Maduro announced the 2017 Venezuelan Constituent Assembly election and on 30 August 2017, the 2017 Constituent National Assembly was elected into office and quickly stripped the National Assembly of its powers. Venezuela_sentence_148

In December 2017, President Maduro declared that leading opposition parties would be barred from taking part in following year's presidential vote after they boycotted mayoral polls. Venezuela_sentence_149

Maduro won the 2018 election with 67.8% of the vote. Venezuela_sentence_150

The result was challenged by countries including Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Brazil, Canada, Germany, France and the United States who deemed it fraudulent and moved to recognize Juan Guaidó as president. Venezuela_sentence_151

Other countries including Cuba, China, Russia, Turkey, and Iran have continued to recognize Maduro as president, although China, facing financial pressure over its position, has reportedly begun hedging its position by decreasing loans given, cancelling joint ventures, and signaling willingness to work with all parties. Venezuela_sentence_152

A Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman denied the reports, describing them as "false information". Venezuela_sentence_153

In January 2019 the Permanent Council of the Organization of American States (OAS) approved a resolution "to not recognize the legitimacy of Nicolas Maduro's new term as of the 10th of January of 2019," while the United Nations General Assembly formally recognized the Maduro government as the only legitimate representative of Venezuela at the United Nations and in October 2019, Venezuela was elected to the United Nations Human Rights Council. Venezuela_sentence_154

In August 2019, United States President Donald Trump signed an executive order to impose a total economic embargo against Venezuela. Venezuela_sentence_155

Later, in March 2020, the Trump administration indicted Maduro and several Venezuelan officials on charges of drug trafficking. Venezuela_sentence_156

In June 2020, a detailed report by Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights documented enforced disappearances in Venezuela, specifically those that occurred during the years 2018 and 2019. Venezuela_sentence_157

During the period, around 724 enforced disappearances of political detainees were reported. Venezuela_sentence_158

Venezuelan security forces have subjected victims that have disappeared to illegal interrogation processes accompanied by torture and cruel or inhuman treatment. Venezuela_sentence_159

Venezuela's Bolivarian regime has strategically used enforced disappearances to silence political opponents and other critical voices it deems a threat. Venezuela_sentence_160

Geography Venezuela_section_9

Main article: Geography of Venezuela Venezuela_sentence_161

Venezuela is located in the north of South America; geologically, its mainland rests on the South American Plate. Venezuela_sentence_162

It has a total area of 916,445 km (353,841 sq mi) and a land area of 882,050 km (340,560 sq mi), making Venezuela the 33rd largest country in the world. Venezuela_sentence_163

The territory it controls lies between latitudes and 13°N and longitudes 59° and 74°W. Venezuela_sentence_164

Shaped roughly like a triangle, the country has a 2,800 km (1,700 mi) coastline in the north, which includes numerous islands in the Caribbean and the northeast borders the northern Atlantic Ocean. Venezuela_sentence_165

Most observers describe Venezuela in terms of four fairly well defined topographical regions: the Maracaibo lowlands in the northwest, the northern mountains extending in a broad east–west arc from the Colombian border along the northern Caribbean coast, the wide plains in central Venezuela, and the Guiana Highlands in the southeast. Venezuela_sentence_166

The northern mountains are the extreme northeastern extensions of South America's Andes mountain range. Venezuela_sentence_167

Pico Bolívar, the nation's highest point at 4,979 m (16,335 ft), lies in this region. Venezuela_sentence_168

To the south, the dissected Guiana Highlands contain the northern fringes of the Amazon Basin and Angel Falls, the world's highest waterfall, as well as tepuis, large table-like mountains. Venezuela_sentence_169

The country's center is characterized by the llanos, which are extensive plains that stretch from the Colombian border in the far west to the Orinoco River delta in the east. Venezuela_sentence_170

The Orinoco, with its rich alluvial soils, binds the largest and most important river system of the country; it originates in one of the largest watersheds in Latin America. Venezuela_sentence_171

The Caroní and the Apure are other major rivers. Venezuela_sentence_172

Venezuela borders Colombia to the west, Guyana to the east, and Brazil to the south. Venezuela_sentence_173

Caribbean islands such as Trinidad and Tobago, Grenada, Curaçao, Aruba, and the Leeward Antilles lie near the Venezuelan coast. Venezuela_sentence_174

Venezuela has territorial disputes with Guyana, formerly United Kingdom, largely concerning the Essequibo area and with Colombia concerning the Gulf of Venezuela. Venezuela_sentence_175

In 1895, after years of diplomatic attempts to solve the border dispute, the dispute over the Essequibo River border flared up. Venezuela_sentence_176

It was submitted to a "neutral" commission (composed of British, American, and Russian representatives and without a direct Venezuelan representative), which in 1899 decided mostly against Venezuela's claim. Venezuela_sentence_177

Venezuela's most significant natural resources are petroleum and natural gas, iron ore, gold, and other minerals. Venezuela_sentence_178

It also has large areas of arable land and water. Venezuela_sentence_179

Climate Venezuela_section_10

Main article: Climate of Venezuela Venezuela_sentence_180

Venezuela is entirely located in the tropics over the Equator to around 12° N. Its climate varies from humid low-elevation plains, where average annual temperatures range as high as 35 °C (95.0 °F), to glaciers and highlands (the páramos) with an average yearly temperature of 8 °C (46.4 °F). Venezuela_sentence_181

Annual rainfall varies from 430 mm (16.9 in) in the semiarid portions of the northwest to over 1,000 mm (39.4 in) in the Orinoco Delta of the far east and the Amazonian Jungle in the south. Venezuela_sentence_182

The precipitation level is lower in the period from August through April. Venezuela_sentence_183

These periods are referred to as hot-humid and cold-dry seasons. Venezuela_sentence_184

Another characteristic of the climate is this variation throughout the country by the existence of a mountain range called "Cordillera de la Costa" which crosses the country from east to west. Venezuela_sentence_185

The majority of the population lives in these mountains. Venezuela_sentence_186

The country falls into four horizontal temperature zones based primarily on elevation, having tropical, dry, temperate with dry winters, and polar (alpine tundra) climates, amongst others. Venezuela_sentence_187

In the tropical zone—below 800 m (2,625 ft)—temperatures are hot, with yearly averages ranging between 26 and 28 °C (78.8 and 82.4 °F). Venezuela_sentence_188

The temperate zone ranges between 800 and 2,000 m (2,625 and 6,562 ft) with averages from 12 to 25 °C (53.6 to 77.0 °F); many of Venezuela's cities, including the capital, lie in this region. Venezuela_sentence_189

Colder conditions with temperatures from 9 to 11 °C (48.2 to 51.8 °F) are found in the cool zone between 2,000 and 3,000 m (6,562 and 9,843 ft), especially in the Venezuelan Andes, where pastureland and permanent snowfield with yearly averages below 8 °C (46 °F) cover land above 3,000 meters (9,843 ft) in the páramos. Venezuela_sentence_190

The highest temperature recorded was 42 °C (108 °F) in Machiques, and the lowest temperature recorded was −11 °C (12 °F), it has been reported from an uninhabited high altitude at Páramo de Piedras Blancas (Mérida state), even though no official reports exist, lower temperatures in the mountains of the Sierra Nevada de Mérida are known. Venezuela_sentence_191

Biodiversity Venezuela_section_11

Main articles: Natural regions of Venezuela, Fauna of Venezuela, Flora of Venezuela, National symbols of Venezuela, and List of birds of Venezuela Venezuela_sentence_192

Venezuela lies within the Neotropical realm; large portions of the country were originally covered by moist broadleaf forests. Venezuela_sentence_193

One of 17 megadiverse countries, Venezuela's habitats range from the Andes Mountains in the west to the Amazon Basin rainforest in the south, via extensive llanos plains and Caribbean coast in the center and the Orinoco River Delta in the east. Venezuela_sentence_194

They include xeric scrublands in the extreme northwest and coastal mangrove forests in the northeast. Venezuela_sentence_195

Its cloud forests and lowland rainforests are particularly rich. Venezuela_sentence_196

Animals of Venezuela are diverse and include manatees, three-toed sloth, two-toed sloth, Amazon river dolphins, and Orinoco Crocodiles, which have been reported to reach up to 6.6 m (22 ft) in length. Venezuela_sentence_197

Venezuela hosts a total of 1,417 bird species, 48 of which are endemic. Venezuela_sentence_198

Important birds include ibises, ospreys, kingfishers, and the yellow-orange Venezuelan troupial, the national bird. Venezuela_sentence_199

Notable mammals include the giant anteater, jaguar, and the capybara, the world's largest rodent. Venezuela_sentence_200

More than half of Venezuelan avian and mammalian species are found in the Amazonian forests south of the Orinoco. Venezuela_sentence_201

For the fungi, an account was provided by R.W.G. Venezuela_sentence_202

Dennis which has been digitized and the records made available on-line as part of the Cybertruffle Robigalia database. Venezuela_sentence_203

That database includes nearly 3,900 species of fungi recorded from Venezuela, but is far from complete, and the true total number of fungal species already known from Venezuela is likely higher, given the generally accepted estimate that only about 7% of all fungi worldwide have so far been discovered. Venezuela_sentence_204

Among plants of Venezuela, over 25,000 species of orchids are found in the country's cloud forest and lowland rainforest ecosystems. Venezuela_sentence_205

These include the flor de mayo orchid (Cattleya mossiae), the national flower. Venezuela_sentence_206

Venezuela's national tree is the araguaney, whose characteristic lushness after the rainy season led novelist Rómulo Gallegos to name it "[l]a primavera de oro de los araguaneyes" (the golden spring of the araguaneyes). Venezuela_sentence_207

The tops of the tepuis are also home to several carnivorous plants including the marsh pitcher plant, Heliamphora, and the insectivorous bromeliad, Brocchinia reducta. Venezuela_sentence_208

Venezuela is among the top 20 countries in terms of endemism. Venezuela_sentence_209

Among its animals, 23% of reptilian and 50% of amphibian species are endemic. Venezuela_sentence_210

Although the available information is still very small, a first effort has been made to estimate the number of fungal species endemic to Venezuela: 1334 species of fungi have been tentatively identified as possible endemics of the country. Venezuela_sentence_211

Some 38% of the over 21,000 plant species known from Venezuela are unique to the country. Venezuela_sentence_212

Environment Venezuela_section_12

See also: Environmental issues in Venezuela Venezuela_sentence_213

Venezuela is one of the 10 most biodiverse countries on the planet, yet it is one of the leaders of deforestation due to economic and political factors. Venezuela_sentence_214

Each year, roughly 287,600 hectares of forest are permanently destroyed and other areas are degraded by mining, oil extraction, and logging. Venezuela_sentence_215

Between 1990 and 2005, Venezuela officially lost 8.3% of its forest cover, which is about 4.3 million ha. Venezuela_sentence_216

In response, federal protections for critical habitat were implemented; for example, 20% to 33% of forested land is protected. Venezuela_sentence_217

The country's biosphere reserve is part of the World Network of Biosphere Reserves; five wetlands are registered under the Ramsar Convention. Venezuela_sentence_218

In 2003, 70% of the nation's land was under conservation management in over 200 protected areas, including 43 national parks. Venezuela_sentence_219

Venezuela's 43 national parks include Canaima National Park, Morrocoy National Park, and Mochima National Park. Venezuela_sentence_220

In the far south is a reserve for the country's Yanomami tribes. Venezuela_sentence_221

Covering 32,000 square miles (82,880 square kilometres), the area is off-limits to farmers, miners, and all non-Yanomami settlers. Venezuela_sentence_222

Venezuela was one of the few countries that did not enter an INDC at COP21. Venezuela_sentence_223

Many terrestrial ecosystems are considered endangered, specially the dry forest in the northern regions of the country and the coral reefs in the Caribbean coast. Venezuela_sentence_224

Hydrography Venezuela_section_13

The country is made up of three river basins: the Caribbean Sea, the Atlantic Ocean and Lake Valencia, which forms an endorheic basin. Venezuela_sentence_225

On the Atlantic side it drains most of Venezuela's river waters. Venezuela_sentence_226

The largest basin in this area is the extensive Orinoco basin whose surface area, close to one million km, is greater than that of the whole of Venezuela, although it has a presence of 65% in the country. Venezuela_sentence_227

The size of this basin - similar to that of the Danube - makes it the third largest in South America, and it gives rise to a flow of some 33,000 m³/s, making the Orinoco the third largest in the world, and also one of the most valuable from the point of view of renewable natural resources. Venezuela_sentence_228

The Rio or Brazo Casiquiare is unique in the world, as it is a natural derivation of the Orinoco that, after some 500 km in length, connects it to the Negro River, which in turn is a tributary of the Amazon. Venezuela_sentence_229

The Orinoco receives directly or indirectly rivers such as the Ventuari, the Caura, the Caroní, the Meta, the Arauca, the Apure and many others. Venezuela_sentence_230

Other Venezuelan rivers that empty into the Atlantic are the waters of the San Juan and Cuyuní basins. Venezuela_sentence_231

Finally, there is the Amazon River, which receives the Guainía, the Negro and others. Venezuela_sentence_232

Other basins are the Gulf of Paria and the Esequibo River. Venezuela_sentence_233

The second most important watershed is the Caribbean Sea. Venezuela_sentence_234

The rivers of this region are usually short and of scarce and irregular flow, with some exceptions such as the Catatumbo, which originates in Colombia and drains into the Maracaibo Lake basin. Venezuela_sentence_235

Among the rivers that reach the Maracaibo lake basin are the Chama, the Escalante, the Catatumbo, and the contributions of the smaller basins of the Tocuyo, Yaracuy, Neverí and Manzanares rivers. Venezuela_sentence_236

A minimum drains to the Lake Valencia basin. Venezuela_sentence_237

Of the total extension of the rivers, a total of 5400 km are navigable. Venezuela_sentence_238

Other rivers worth mentioning are the Apure, Arauca, Caura, Meta, Barima, Portuguesa, Ventuari and Zulia, among others. Venezuela_sentence_239

The country's main lakes are Lake Maracaibo -the largest in South America- open to the sea through the natural channel, but with fresh water, and Lake Valencia with its endorheic system. Venezuela_sentence_240

Other noteworthy bodies of water are the Guri reservoir, the Altagracia lagoon, the Camatagua reservoir and the Mucubají lagoon in the Andes. Venezuela_sentence_241

Navigation in Lake Maracaibo through the natural channel is useful for the mobilization of oil resources. Venezuela_sentence_242

Government and politics Venezuela_section_14

Main articles: Government of Venezuela, Cabinet of Venezuela, and Politics of Venezuela Venezuela_sentence_243

Following the fall of Marcos Pérez Jiménez in 1958, Venezuelan politics were dominated by the Third Way Christian democratic COPEI and the center-left social democratic Democratic Action (AD) parties; this two-party system was formalized by the puntofijismo arrangement. Venezuela_sentence_244

Economic crises in the 1980s and 1990s led to a political crisis which resulted in hundreds dead in the Caracazo riots of 1989, two attempted coups in 1992, and impeachment of President Carlos Andrés Pérez for corruption in 1993. Venezuela_sentence_245

A collapse in confidence in the existing parties saw the 1998 election of Hugo Chávez, who had led the first of the 1992 coup attempts, and the launch of a "Bolivarian Revolution", beginning with a 1999 Constituent Assembly to write a new Constitution of Venezuela. Venezuela_sentence_246

The opposition's attempts to unseat Chávez included the 2002 Venezuelan coup d'état attempt, the Venezuelan general strike of 2002–2003, and the Venezuelan recall referendum, 2004, all of which failed. Venezuela_sentence_247

Chávez was re-elected in December 2006 but suffered a significant defeat in 2007 with the narrow rejection of the 2007 Venezuelan constitutional referendum, which had offered two packages of constitutional reforms aimed at deepening the Bolivarian Revolution. Venezuela_sentence_248

Two major blocs of political parties are in Venezuela: the incumbent leftist bloc United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), its major allies Fatherland for All (PPT) and the Communist Party of Venezuela (PCV), and the opposition bloc grouped into the electoral coalition Mesa de la Unidad Democrática. Venezuela_sentence_249

This includes A New Era (UNT) together with allied parties Project Venezuela, Justice First, Movement for Socialism (MAS) and others. Venezuela_sentence_250

Hugo Chávez, the central figure of the Venezuelan political landscape since his election to the presidency in 1998 as a political outsider, died in office in early 2013, and was succeeded by Nicolás Maduro (initially as interim president, before narrowly winning the 2013 Venezuelan presidential election). Venezuela_sentence_251

The Venezuelan president is elected by a vote, with direct and universal suffrage, and is both head of state and head of government. Venezuela_sentence_252

The term of office is six years, and (as of 15 February 2009) a president may be re-elected an unlimited number of times. Venezuela_sentence_253

The president appoints the vice president and decides the size and composition of the cabinet and makes appointments to it with the involvement of the legislature. Venezuela_sentence_254

The president can ask the legislature to reconsider portions of laws he finds objectionable, but a simple parliamentary majority can override these objections. Venezuela_sentence_255

The president may ask the National Assembly to pass an enabling act granting the ability to rule by decree in specified policy areas; this requires a two-thirds majority in the Assembly. Venezuela_sentence_256

Since 1959, six Venezuelan presidents have been granted such powers. Venezuela_sentence_257

The unicameral Venezuelan parliament is the Asamblea Nacional ("National Assembly"). Venezuela_sentence_258

The number of members is variable – each state and the Capital district elect three representatives plus the result of dividing the state population by 1.1% of the total population of the country. Venezuela_sentence_259

Three seats are reserved for representatives of Venezuela's indigenous peoples. Venezuela_sentence_260

For the 2011–2016 period the number of seats is 165. Venezuela_sentence_261

All deputies serve five-year terms. Venezuela_sentence_262

The voting age in Venezuela is 18 and older. Venezuela_sentence_263

Voting is not compulsory. Venezuela_sentence_264

The legal system of Venezuela belongs to the Continental Law tradition. Venezuela_sentence_265

The highest judicial body is the Supreme Tribunal of Justice or Tribunal Supremo de Justicia, whose magistrates are elected by parliament for a single two-year term. Venezuela_sentence_266

The National Electoral Council (Consejo Nacional Electoral, or CNE) is in charge of electoral processes; it is formed by five main directors elected by the National Assembly. Venezuela_sentence_267

Supreme Court president Luisa Estela Morales said in December 2009 that Venezuela had moved away from "a rigid division of powers" toward a system characterized by "intense coordination" between the branches of government. Venezuela_sentence_268

Morales clarified that each power must be independent adding that "one thing is separation of powers and another one is division". Venezuela_sentence_269

Suspension of constitutional rights Venezuela_section_15

The 2015 parliamentary elections were held on 6 December 2015 to elect the 164 deputies and three indigenous representatives of the National Assembly. Venezuela_sentence_270

In 2014, a series of protest and demonstrations began in Venezuela, attributed to inflation, violence and shortages in Venezuela. Venezuela_sentence_271

The government has accused the protest of being motivated by fascists, opposition leaders, capitalism and foreign influence, despite being largely peaceful. Venezuela_sentence_272

President Maduro acknowledged PSUV defeat, but attributed the opposition's victory to an intensification of an economic war. Venezuela_sentence_273

Despite this, Maduro said "I will stop by hook or by crook the opposition coming to power, whatever the costs, in any way". Venezuela_sentence_274

In the following months, Maduro fulfilled his promise of preventing the democratically and constitutionally elected National Assembly from legislating. Venezuela_sentence_275

The first steps taken by PSUV and government were the substitution of the entire Supreme court a day after the Parliamentary Elections contrary to the Constitution of Venezuela, acclaimed as a fraud by the majority of the Venezuelan and international press. Venezuela_sentence_276

The Financial Times described the function of the Supreme Court in Venezuela as "rubber stamping executive whims and vetoing legislation". Venezuela_sentence_277

The PSUV government used this violation to suspend several elected opponents, ignoring again the Constitution of Venezuela. Venezuela_sentence_278

Maduro said that "the Amnesty law (approved by the Parliament) will not be executed" and asked the Supreme Court to declare it unconstitutional before the law was known. Venezuela_sentence_279

On 16 January 2016, Maduro approved an unconstitutional economic emergency decree, relegating to his own figure the legislative and executive powers, while also holding judiciary power through the fraudulent designation of judges the day after the election on 6 December 2015. Venezuela_sentence_280

From these events, Maduro effectively controls all three branches of government. Venezuela_sentence_281

On 14 May 2016, constitutional guarantees were in fact suspended when Maduro decreed the extension of the economic emergency decree for another 60 days and declared a State of Emergency, which is a clear violation of the Constitution of Venezuela in the Article 338th: "The approval of the extension of States of emergency corresponds to the National Assembly." Venezuela_sentence_282

Thus, constitutional rights in Venezuela are considered suspended in fact by many publications and public figures. Venezuela_sentence_283

On 14 May 2016, the Organization of American States was considering the application of the Inter-American Democratic Charter sanctions for non-compliance to its own constitution. Venezuela_sentence_284

In March 2017, the Venezuelan Supreme Court took over law making powers from the National Assembly but reversed its decision the following day. Venezuela_sentence_285

Foreign relations Venezuela_section_16

Main article: Foreign relations of Venezuela Venezuela_sentence_286

Throughout most of the 20th century, Venezuela maintained friendly relations with most Latin American and Western nations. Venezuela_sentence_287

Relations between Venezuela and the United States government worsened in 2002, after the 2002 Venezuelan coup d'état attempt during which the U.S. government recognized the short-lived interim presidency of Pedro Carmona. Venezuela_sentence_288

In 2015, Venezuela was declared a national security threat by U.S. president Barack Obama. Venezuela_sentence_289

Correspondingly, ties to various Latin American and Middle Eastern countries not allied to the U.S. have strengthened. Venezuela_sentence_290

For example, Palestinian foreign minister Riyad al-Maliki declared in 2015 that Venezuela was his country's "most important ally". Venezuela_sentence_291

Venezuela seeks alternative hemispheric integration via such proposals as the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas trade proposal and the newly launched Latin American television network teleSUR. Venezuela_sentence_292

Venezuela is one of five nations in the world—along with Russia, Nicaragua, Nauru, and Syria—to have recognized the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Venezuela_sentence_293

Venezuela was a proponent of OAS's decision to adopt its Anti-Corruption Convention and is actively working in the Mercosur trade bloc to push increased trade and energy integration. Venezuela_sentence_294

Globally, it seeks a "multi-polar" world based on strengthened ties among undeveloped countries. Venezuela_sentence_295

On 26 April 2017, Venezuela announced its intention to withdraw from the OAS. Venezuela_sentence_296

Venezuelan Foreign Minister Delcy Rodríguez said that President Nicolás Maduro plans to publicly renounce Venezuela's membership on 27 April 2017. Venezuela_sentence_297

It will take two years for the country to formally leave. Venezuela_sentence_298

During this period, the country does not plan on participating in the OAS. Venezuela_sentence_299

Venezuela is involved in a long-standing disagreement about the control of the Guayana Esequiba area. Venezuela_sentence_300

Venezuela may suffer a deterioration of its power in international affairs if the global transition to renewable energy is completed. Venezuela_sentence_301

It is ranked 151 out of 156 countries in the index of Geopolitical Gains and Losses after energy transition (GeGaLo). Venezuela_sentence_302

Military Venezuela_section_17

See also: National Bolivarian Armed Forces of Venezuela Venezuela_sentence_303

The Bolivarian National Armed Forces of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela (Fuerza Armada Nacional Bolivariana, FANB) are the overall unified military forces of Venezuela. Venezuela_sentence_304

It includes over 320,150 men and women, under Article 328 of the Constitution, in 5 components of Ground, Sea and Air. Venezuela_sentence_305

The components of the Bolivarian National Armed Forces are: the Venezuelan Army, the Venezuelan Navy, the Venezuelan Air Force, the Venezuelan National Guard, and the Venezuelan National Militia. Venezuela_sentence_306

As of 2008, a further 600,000 soldiers were incorporated into a new branch, known as the Armed Reserve. Venezuela_sentence_307

The president of Venezuela is the commander-in-chief of the national armed forces. Venezuela_sentence_308

The main roles of the armed forces are to defend the sovereign national territory of Venezuela, airspace, and islands, fight against drug trafficking, to search and rescue and, in the case of a natural disaster, civil protection. Venezuela_sentence_309

All male citizens of Venezuela have a constitutional duty to register for the military service at the age of 18, which is the age of majority in Venezuela. Venezuela_sentence_310

Law and crime Venezuela_section_18

Main articles: Law of Venezuela and Crime in Venezuela Venezuela_sentence_311

In Venezuela, a person is murdered every 21 minutes. Venezuela_sentence_312

Violent crimes have been so prevalent in Venezuela that the government no longer produces the crime data. Venezuela_sentence_313

In 2013, the homicide rate was approximately 79 per 100,000, one of the world's highest, having quadrupled in the past 15 years with over 200,000 people murdered. Venezuela_sentence_314

By 2015, it had risen to 90 per 100,000. Venezuela_sentence_315

The country's body count of the previous decade mimics that of the Iraq War and in some instances had more civilian deaths even though the country is at peacetime. Venezuela_sentence_316

The capital Caracas has one of the greatest homicide rates of any large city in the world, with 122 homicides per 100,000 residents. Venezuela_sentence_317

In 2008, polls indicated that crime was the number one concern of voters. Venezuela_sentence_318

Attempts at fighting crime such as Operation Liberation of the People were implemented to crack down on gang-controlled areas but, of reported criminal acts, less than 2% are prosecuted. Venezuela_sentence_319

In 2017, the Financial Times noted that some of the arms procured by the government over the previous two decades had been diverted to paramilitary civilian groups and criminal syndicates. Venezuela_sentence_320

Venezuela is especially dangerous for foreign travelers and investors who are visiting. Venezuela_sentence_321

The United States Department of State and the Government of Canada have warned foreign visitors that they may be subjected to robbery, kidnapping for a ransom or sale to terrorist organizations and murder, and that their own diplomatic travelers are required to travel in armored vehicles. Venezuela_sentence_322

The United Kingdom's Foreign and Commonwealth Office has advised against all travel to Venezuela. Venezuela_sentence_323

Visitors have been murdered during robberies and criminals do not discriminate among their victims. Venezuela_sentence_324

Former Miss Venezuela 2004 winner Mónica Spear and her ex-husband were murdered and their 5-year-old daughter was shot while vacationing in Venezuela, and an elderly German tourist was murdered only a few weeks later. Venezuela_sentence_325

There are approximately 33 prisons holding about 50,000 inmates. Venezuela_sentence_326

They include; El Rodeo outside of Caracas, Yare Prison in the northern state of Miranda, and several others. Venezuela_sentence_327

Venezuela's prison system is heavily overcrowded; its facilities have capacity for only 14,000 prisoners. Venezuela_sentence_328

Corruption Venezuela_section_19

Main article: Corruption in Venezuela Venezuela_sentence_329

Corruption in Venezuela is high by world standards and was so for much of the 20th century. Venezuela_sentence_330

The discovery of oil had worsened political corruption, and by the late 1970s, Juan Pablo Pérez Alfonso's description of oil as "the Devil's excrement" had become a common expression in Venezuela. Venezuela_sentence_331

Venezuela has been ranked one of the most corrupt countries on the Corruption Perceptions Index since the survey started in 1995. Venezuela_sentence_332

The 2010 ranking placed Venezuela at number 164, out of 178 ranked countries in government transparency. Venezuela_sentence_333

By 2016, the rank had increased to 166 out of 178. Venezuela_sentence_334

Similarly, the World Justice Project ranked Venezuela 99th out of 99 countries surveyed in its 2014 Rule of Law Index. Venezuela_sentence_335

This corruption is shown with Venezuela's significant involvement in drug trafficking, with Colombian cocaine and other drugs transiting Venezuela towards the United States and Europe. Venezuela_sentence_336

In the period 2003 - 2008 Venezuelan authorities seized the fifth largest total quantity of cocaine in the world, behind Colombia, the United States, Spain and Panama. Venezuela_sentence_337

In 2006, the government's agency for combating illegal drug trade in Venezuela, ONA, was incorporated into the office of the vice-president of the country. Venezuela_sentence_338

However, many major government and military officials have been known for their involvement with drug trafficking; especially with the October 2013 incident of men from the Venezuelan National Guard placing 1.3 tons of cocaine on a Paris flight knowing they will not face charges. Venezuela_sentence_339

Administrative Divisions Venezuela_section_20

Main articles: States of Venezuela and Regions of Venezuela Venezuela_sentence_340

Venezuela is divided into 23 states (estados), a capital district (distrito capital) corresponding to the city of Caracas, and the Federal Dependencies (Dependencias Federales, a special territory). Venezuela_sentence_341

Venezuela is further subdivided into 335 municipalities (municipios); these are subdivided into over one thousand parishes (parroquias). Venezuela_sentence_342

The states are grouped into nine administrative regions (regiones administrativas), which were established in 1969 by presidential decree. Venezuela_sentence_343

The country can be further divided into ten geographical areas, some corresponding to climatic and biogeographical regions. Venezuela_sentence_344

In the north are the Venezuelan Andes and the Coro region, a mountainous tract in the northwest, holds several sierras and valleys. Venezuela_sentence_345

East of it are lowlands abutting Lake Maracaibo and the Gulf of Venezuela. Venezuela_sentence_346

The Central Range runs parallel to the coast and includes the hills surrounding Caracas; the Eastern Range, separated from the Central Range by the Gulf of Cariaco, covers all of Sucre and northern Monagas. Venezuela_sentence_347

The Insular Region includes all of Venezuela's island possessions: Nueva Esparta and the various Federal Dependencies. Venezuela_sentence_348

The Orinoco Delta, which forms a triangle covering Delta Amacuro, projects northeast into the Atlantic Ocean. Venezuela_sentence_349

Additionally, the country maintains a historical claim on the territory it calls Guyana Esequiba, which is equivalent to about 160,000 square kilometers and corresponds to all the territory administered by Guyana west of the Esequibo River. Venezuela_sentence_350

In 1966 the British and Venezuelan governments signed the Geneva Agreement to resolve the conflict peacefully. Venezuela_sentence_351

In addition to this agreement, the Port of Spain Protocol of 1970 set a deadline to try to resolve the issue, without success to date. Venezuela_sentence_352

Largest cities Venezuela_section_21

Main article: List of metropolitan areas in Venezuela Venezuela_sentence_353

Economy Venezuela_section_22

Main article: Economy of Venezuela Venezuela_sentence_354

Venezuela has a market-based mixed economy dominated by the petroleum sector, which accounts for roughly a third of GDP, around 80% of exports, and more than half of government revenues. Venezuela_sentence_355

Per capita GDP for 2016 was estimated to be US$15,100, ranking 109th in the world. Venezuela_sentence_356

Venezuela has the least expensive petrol in the world because the consumer price of petrol is heavily subsidized. Venezuela_sentence_357

The private sector controls two-thirds of Venezuela's economy. Venezuela_sentence_358

The Central Bank of Venezuela is responsible for developing monetary policy for the Venezuelan bolívar which is used as currency. Venezuela_sentence_359

The president of the Central Bank of Venezuela serves as the country's representative in the International Monetary Fund. Venezuela_sentence_360

The U.S.-based conservative think tank The Heritage Foundation, cited in The Wall Street Journal, claims Venezuela has the weakest property rights in the world, scoring only 5.0 on a scale of 100; expropriation without compensation is not uncommon. Venezuela_sentence_361

As of 2011, more than 60% of Venezuela's international reserves was in gold, eight times more than the average for the region. Venezuela_sentence_362

Most of Venezuela's gold held abroad was located in London. Venezuela_sentence_363

On 25 November 2011, the first of US$11 billion of repatriated gold bullion arrived in Caracas; Chávez called the repatriation of gold a "sovereign" step that will help protect the country's foreign reserves from the turmoil in the U.S. and Europe. Venezuela_sentence_364

However government policies quickly spent down this returned gold and in 2013 the government was forced to add the dollar reserves of state owned companies to those of the national bank to reassure the international bond market. Venezuela_sentence_365

Manufacturing contributed 17% of GDP in 2006. Venezuela_sentence_366

Venezuela manufactures and exports heavy industry products such as steel, aluminium and cement, with production concentrated around Ciudad Guayana, near the Guri Dam, one of the largest in the world and the provider of about three-quarters of Venezuela's electricity. Venezuela_sentence_367

Other notable manufacturing includes electronics and automobiles, as well as beverages, and foodstuffs. Venezuela_sentence_368

Agriculture in Venezuela accounts for approximately 3% of GDP, 10% of the labor force, and at least a quarter of Venezuela's land area. Venezuela_sentence_369

The country is not self-sufficient in most areas of agriculture. Venezuela_sentence_370

In 2012, total food consumption was over 26 million metric tonnes, a 94.8% increase from 2003. Venezuela_sentence_371

Since the discovery of oil in the early 20th century, Venezuela has been one of the world's leading exporters of oil, and it is a founding member of OPEC. Venezuela_sentence_372

Previously an underdeveloped exporter of agricultural commodities such as coffee and cocoa, oil quickly came to dominate exports and government revenues. Venezuela_sentence_373

The 1980s oil glut led to an external debt crisis and a long-running economic crisis, which saw inflation peak at 100% in 1996 and poverty rates rise to 66% in 1995 as (by 1998) per capita GDP fell to the same level as 1963, down a third from its 1978 peak. Venezuela_sentence_374

The 1990s also saw Venezuela experience a major banking crisis in 1994. Venezuela_sentence_375

The recovery of oil prices after 2001 boosted the Venezuelan economy and facilitated social spending. Venezuela_sentence_376

With social programs such as the Bolivarian Missions, Venezuela initially made progress in social development in the 2000s, particularly in areas such as health, education, and poverty. Venezuela_sentence_377

Many of the social policies pursued by Chávez and his administration were jump-started by the Millennium Development Goals, eight goals that Venezuela and 188 other nations agreed to in September 2000. Venezuela_sentence_378

The sustainability of the Bolivarian Missions has been questioned due to the Bolivarian state's overspending on public works and because the Chávez government did not save funds for future economic hardships like other OPEC nations; with economic issues and poverty rising as a result of their policies in the 2010s. Venezuela_sentence_379

In 2003 the government of Hugo Chávez implemented currency controls after capital flight led to a devaluation of the currency. Venezuela_sentence_380

This led to the development of a parallel market of dollars in the subsequent years. Venezuela_sentence_381

The fallout of the 2008 global financial crisis saw a renewed economic downturn. Venezuela_sentence_382

Despite controversial data shared by the Venezuelan government showing that the country had halved malnutrition following one of the UN's Millennium Development Goals, shortages of staple goods began to occur in Venezuela and malnutrition began to increase. Venezuela_sentence_383

In early 2013, Venezuela devalued its currency due to growing shortages in the country. Venezuela_sentence_384

The shortages included, and still include, necessities such as toilet paper, milk, and flour. Venezuela_sentence_385

Fears rose so high due to the toilet paper shortage that the government occupied a toilet paper factory, and continued further plans to nationalize other industrial aspects like food distribution. Venezuela_sentence_386

Venezuela's bond ratings have also decreased multiple times in 2013 due to decisions by the president Nicolás Maduro. Venezuela_sentence_387

One of his decisions was to force stores and their warehouses to sell all of their products, which led to even more shortages in the future. Venezuela_sentence_388

In 2016, consumer prices in Venezuela increased 800% and the economy declined by 18.6%, entering an economic depression. Venezuela_sentence_389

Venezuela's outlook was deemed negative by most bond-rating services in 2017. Venezuela_sentence_390

For 2018 an inflation rate of 1,000,000 percent was projected, putting Venezuela in a similar situation to that in Germany in 1923 or Zimbabwe in the late 2000s. Venezuela_sentence_391

Tourism Venezuela_section_23

Main article: Tourism in Venezuela Venezuela_sentence_392

Tourism has been developed considerably in recent decades, particularly because of its favorable geographical position, the variety of landscapes, the richness of plant and wildlife, the artistic expressions and the privileged tropical climate of the country, which affords each region (especially the beaches) throughout the year. Venezuela_sentence_393

Margarita Island is one of the top tourist destinations for enjoyment and relaxation. Venezuela_sentence_394

It is an island with a modern infrastructure, bordered by beautiful beaches suitable for extreme sports, and features castles, fortresses and churches of great cultural value. Venezuela_sentence_395

Los Roques Archipelago is made up of a set of islands and keys that constitute one of the main tourist attractions in the country. Venezuela_sentence_396

With exotic crystalline beaches, Morrocoy is a national park, formed by small keys very close to the mainland, which have grown rapidly as one of the greatest tourist attractions in the Venezuelan Caribbean. Venezuela_sentence_397

Canaima National Park extends over 30,000 km to the border with Guyana and Brazil, due to its size it is considered the sixth largest national park in the world. Venezuela_sentence_398

About 65% of the park is occupied by rock plateaus called tepuis. Venezuela_sentence_399

These constitute a unique biological environment, also presenting great geological interest. Venezuela_sentence_400

Its steep cliffs and waterfalls (including Angel Falls, which is the highest waterfall in the world, at 1,002 m) form spectacular landscapes. Venezuela_sentence_401

The state of Mérida, for the beauty of its Andean landscapes and its pleasant climate, is one of the main tourist centers of Venezuela. Venezuela_sentence_402

It has an extensive network of hotels not only in its capital city, but also throughout the state. Venezuela_sentence_403

Starting from the same city of Mérida, is the longest and highest cable car in the world, which reaches the Pico Espejo of 4,765 m. It is also necessary to recommend to travel through magnificent roads, the southern moors, where you can find good hotels and restaurants. Venezuela_sentence_404

Shortages Venezuela_section_24

Main article: Shortages in Venezuela Venezuela_sentence_405

Shortages in Venezuela have been prevalent following the enactment of price controls and other policies during the economic policy of the Hugo Chávez government. Venezuela_sentence_406

Under the economic policy of the Nicolás Maduro government, greater shortages occurred due to the Venezuelan government's policy of withholding United States dollars from importers with price controls. Venezuela_sentence_407

Shortages occur in regulated products, such as milk, various types of meat, coffee, rice, oil, flour, butter, and other goods including basic necessities like toilet paper, personal hygiene products, and even medicine. Venezuela_sentence_408

As a result of the shortages, Venezuelans must search for food, wait in lines for hours and sometimes settle without having certain products. Venezuela_sentence_409

Maduro's government has blamed the shortages on "bourgeois criminals" hoarding goods. Venezuela_sentence_410

A drought, combined with a lack of planning and maintenance, has caused a hydroelectricity shortage. Venezuela_sentence_411

To deal with lack of power supply, in April 2016 the Maduro government announced rolling blackouts and reduced the government workweek to only Monday and Tuesday. Venezuela_sentence_412

A multi-university study found that, in 2016 alone, about 75% of Venezuelans lost weight due to hunger, with the average losing about 8.6 kg (19 lbs) due to the lack of food. Venezuela_sentence_413

By late-2016 and into 2017, Venezuelans had to search for food on a daily basis, occasionally resorting to eating wild fruit or garbage, wait in lines for hours and sometimes settle without having certain products. Venezuela_sentence_414

By early 2017, priests began telling Venezuelans to label their garbage so needy individuals could feed on their refuse. Venezuela_sentence_415

In March 2017, Venezuela, with the largest oil reserves in the world, began having shortages of gasoline in some regions with reports that fuel imports had begun. Venezuela_sentence_416

Petroleum and other resources Venezuela_section_25

See also: History of the Venezuelan oil industry and Energy policy of Venezuela Venezuela_sentence_417

Venezuela has the largest oil reserves, and the eighth largest natural gas reserves in the world. Venezuela_sentence_418

Compared to the preceding year another 40.4% in crude oil reserves were proven in 2010, allowing Venezuela to surpass Saudi Arabia as the country with the largest reserves of this type. Venezuela_sentence_419

The country's main petroleum deposits are located around and beneath Lake Maracaibo, the Gulf of Venezuela (both in Zulia), and in the Orinoco River basin (eastern Venezuela), where the country's largest reserve is located. Venezuela_sentence_420

Besides the largest conventional oil reserves and the second-largest natural gas reserves in the Western Hemisphere, Venezuela has non-conventional oil deposits (extra-heavy crude oil, bitumen and tar sands) approximately equal to the world's reserves of conventional oil. Venezuela_sentence_421

The electricity sector in Venezuela is one of the few to rely primarily on hydropower, and includes the Guri Dam, one of the largest in the world. Venezuela_sentence_422

In the first half of the 20th century, U.S. oil companies were heavily involved in Venezuela, initially interested only in purchasing concessions. Venezuela_sentence_423

In 1943 a new government introduced a 50/50 split in profits between the government and the oil industry. Venezuela_sentence_424

In 1960, with a newly installed democratic government, Hydrocarbons Minister Juan Pablo Pérez Alfonso led the creation of OPEC, the consortium of oil-producing countries aiming to support the price of oil. Venezuela_sentence_425

In 1973, Venezuela voted to nationalize its oil industry outright, effective 1 January 1976, with Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) taking over and presiding over a number of holding companies; in subsequent years, Venezuela built a vast refining and marketing system in the U.S. and Europe. Venezuela_sentence_426

In the 1990s PDVSA became more independent from the government and presided over an apertura (opening) in which it invited in foreign investment. Venezuela_sentence_427

Under Hugo Chávez a 2001 law placed limits on foreign investment. Venezuela_sentence_428

The state oil company PDVSA played a key role in the December 2002 – February 2003 national strike which sought President Chávez' resignation. Venezuela_sentence_429

Managers and skilled highly paid technicians of PDVSA shut down the plants and left their posts, and by some reports sabotaged equipment, and petroleum production and refining by PDVSA almost ceased. Venezuela_sentence_430

Activities eventually were slowly restarted by returning and substitute oil workers. Venezuela_sentence_431

As a result of the strike, around 40% of the company's workforce (around 18,000 workers) were dismissed for "dereliction of duty" during the strike. Venezuela_sentence_432

Transport Venezuela_section_26

Main article: Transport in Venezuela Venezuela_sentence_433

Venezuela is connected to the world primarily via air (Venezuela's airports include the Simón Bolívar International Airport in Maiquetía, near Caracas and La Chinita International Airport near Maracaibo) and sea (with major sea ports at La Guaira, Maracaibo and Puerto Cabello). Venezuela_sentence_434

In the south and east the Amazon rainforest region has limited cross-border transport; in the west, there is a mountainous border of over 2,213 kilometres (1,375 mi) shared with Colombia. Venezuela_sentence_435

The Orinoco River is navigable by oceangoing vessels up to 400 kilometres (250 mi) inland, and connects the major industrial city of Ciudad Guayana to the Atlantic Ocean. Venezuela_sentence_436

Venezuela has a limited national railway system, which has no active rail connections to other countries. Venezuela_sentence_437

The government of Hugo Chávez tried to invest in expanding it, but Venezuela's rail project is on hold due to Venezuela not being able to pay the $7.5 billion and owing China Railway nearly $500 million. Venezuela_sentence_438

Several major cities have metro systems; the Caracas Metro has been operating since 1983. Venezuela_sentence_439

The Maracaibo Metro and Valencia Metro were opened more recently. Venezuela_sentence_440

Venezuela has a road network of nearly 100,000 kilometres (62,000 mi) in length, placing the country around 45th in the world; around a third of roads are paved. Venezuela_sentence_441

Demographics Venezuela_section_27

Main article: Demographics of Venezuela Venezuela_sentence_442

Further information: List of metropolitan areas in Venezuela Venezuela_sentence_443

Venezuela is among the most urbanized countries in Latin America; the vast majority of Venezuelans live in the cities of the north, especially in the capital Caracas, which is also the largest city. Venezuela_sentence_444

About 93% of the population lives in urban areas in northern Venezuela; 73% live less than 100 kilometres (62 mi) from the coastline. Venezuela_sentence_445

Though almost half of Venezuela's land area lies south of the Orinoco, only 5% of Venezuelans live there. Venezuela_sentence_446

The largest and most important city south of the Orinoco is Ciudad Guayana, which is the sixth most populous conurbation. Venezuela_sentence_447

Other major cities include Barquisimeto, Valencia, Maracay, Maracaibo, Barcelona-Puerto La Cruz, Mérida and San Cristóbal. Venezuela_sentence_448

According to a 2014 study by sociologists of the Central University of Venezuela, over 1.5 million Venezuelans, or about 4% to 6% of the country's population, have left Venezuela since 1999 following the Bolivarian Revolution. Venezuela_sentence_449

Ethnic groups Venezuela_section_28

Main articles: Venezuelan people, Mestizo Venezuelan, White Venezuelan, Afro-Venezuelan, Italo-Venezuelan, Portuguese Venezuelan, German Venezuelan, Arab Venezuelan, and Chinese Venezuelan Venezuela_sentence_450

The people of Venezuela come from a variety of ancestries. Venezuela_sentence_451

It is estimated that the majority of the population is of mestizo, or mixed, ethnic ancestry. Venezuela_sentence_452

Nevertheless, in the 2011 census, which Venezuelans were asked to identify themselves according to their customs and ancestry, the term mestizo was excluded from the answers. Venezuela_sentence_453

The majority claimed to be mestizo or white—51.6% and 43.6%, respectively. Venezuela_sentence_454

Practically half of the population claimed to be , a term used throughout Ibero-America that in this case means "dark-skinned" or "brown-skinned", as opposed to having a lighter skin (this term connotes skin color or tone, rather than facial features or descent). Venezuela_sentence_455

Ethnic minorities in Venezuela consist of groups that descend mainly from African or indigenous peoples; 2.8% identified themselves as "black" and 0.7% as afrodescendiente (Afro-descendant), 2.6% claimed to belong to indigenous peoples, and 1.2% answered "other races". Venezuela_sentence_456

Among indigenous people, 58% were Wayúu, 7% Warao, 5% Kariña, 4% Pemón, 3% Piaroa, 3% Jivi, 3% Añu, 3% Cumanágoto, 2% Yukpa, 2% Chaima and 1% Yanomami; the remaining 9% consisted of other indigenous nations. Venezuela_sentence_457

According to an autosomal DNA genetic study conducted in 2008 by the University of Brasília (UNB), the composition of Venezuela's population is 60.60% of European contribution, 23% of indigenous contribution, and 16.30% of African contribution. Venezuela_sentence_458

During the colonial period and until after the Second World War, many of the European immigrants to Venezuela came from the Canary Islands, which had a significant cultural impact on the cuisine and customs of Venezuela. Venezuela_sentence_459

These influences on Venezuela have led to the nation being called the 8th island of the Canaries. Venezuela_sentence_460

With the start of oil exploitation in the early 20th century, companies from the United States began establishing operations in Venezuela, bringing with them U.S. citizens. Venezuela_sentence_461

Later, during and after the war, new waves of immigrants from other parts of Europe, the Middle East, and China began; many were encouraged by government-established immigration programs and lenient immigration policies. Venezuela_sentence_462

During the 20th century, Venezuela, along with the rest of Latin America, received millions of immigrants from Europe. Venezuela_sentence_463

This was especially true post-World War II, as a consequence of war-ridden Europe. Venezuela_sentence_464

During the 1970s, while experiencing an oil-export boom, Venezuela received millions of immigrants from Ecuador, Colombia, and the Dominican Republic. Venezuela_sentence_465

Due to the belief that this immigration influx depressed wages, some Venezuelans opposed European immigration. Venezuela_sentence_466

The Venezuelan government, however, were actively recruiting immigrants from Eastern Europe to fill a need for engineers. Venezuela_sentence_467

Millions of Colombians, as well as Middle Eastern and Haitian populations would continue immigrating to Venezuela into the early 21st century. Venezuela_sentence_468

According to the World Refugee Survey 2008, published by the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, Venezuela hosted a population of refugee and asylum seekers from Colombia numbering 252,200 in 2007, and 10,600 new asylum seekers entered Venezuela in 2007. Venezuela_sentence_469

Between 500,000 and one million illegal immigrants are estimated to be living in the country. Venezuela_sentence_470

The total indigenous population of the country is estimated at about 500 thousand people (2.8% of the total), distributed among 40 indigenous peoples. Venezuela_sentence_471

There are three uncontacted tribes living in Venezuela. Venezuela_sentence_472

The Constitution recognizes the multi-ethnic, pluri-cultural, and multilingual character of the country and includes a chapter devoted to indigenous peoples' rights, which opened up spaces for their political inclusion at national and local level in 1999. Venezuela_sentence_473

Most indigenous peoples are concentrated in eight states along Venezuela's borders with Brazil, Guyana, and Colombia, and the majority groups are the Wayuu (west), the Warao (east), the Yanomami (south), and the Pemon (southeast). Venezuela_sentence_474

Languages Venezuela_section_29

Main article: Languages of Venezuela Venezuela_sentence_475

Although most residents are monolingual Spanish speakers, many languages are spoken in Venezuela. Venezuela_sentence_476

In addition to Spanish, the Constitution recognizes more than thirty indigenous languages, including Wayuu, Warao, Pemón, and many others for the official use of the indigenous peoples, mostly with few speakers – less than 1% of the total population. Venezuela_sentence_477

Wayuu is the most spoken indigenous language with 170,000 speakers. Venezuela_sentence_478

Immigrants, in addition to Spanish, speak their own languages. Venezuela_sentence_479

Chinese (400,000), Portuguese (254,000), and Italian (200,000) are the most spoken languages in Venezuela after the official language of Spanish. Venezuela_sentence_480

Arabic is spoken by Lebanese and Syrian colonies on Isla de Margarita, Maracaibo, Punto Fijo, Puerto la Cruz, El Tigre, Maracay, and Caracas. Venezuela_sentence_481

Portuguese is spoken not only by the Portuguese community in Santa Elena de Uairén but also by much of the population due to its proximity to Brazil. Venezuela_sentence_482

The German community speaks their native language, while the people of Colonia Tovar speak mostly an Alemannic dialect of German called alemán coloniero. Venezuela_sentence_483

English is the most widely used foreign language in demand and is spoken by many professionals, academics, and members of the upper and middle classes as a result of the oil exploration done by foreign companies, in addition to its acceptance as a lingua franca. Venezuela_sentence_484

Culturally, English is common in southern towns like El Callao, and the native English-speaking influence is evident in folk and calypso songs from the region. Venezuela_sentence_485

English was brought to Venezuela by Trinidadian and other British West Indies immigrants. Venezuela_sentence_486

A variety of Antillean Creole is spoken by a small community in El Callao and Paria. Venezuela_sentence_487

Italian language teaching is guaranteed by the presence of a consistent number of private Venezuelan schools and institutions, where Italian language courses and Italian literature are active. Venezuela_sentence_488

Other languages spoken by large communities in the country are Basque and Galician, among others. Venezuela_sentence_489

Religion Venezuela_section_30

Main article: Religion in Venezuela Venezuela_sentence_490

According to a 2011 poll (GIS XXI), 88% of the population is Christian, primarily Roman Catholic (71%), and the remaining 17% Protestant, primarily Evangelicals (in Latin America Protestants are usually called "evangelicos"). Venezuela_sentence_491

8% of Venezuelans are irreligious (atheist 2% and agnostic and 6% indifferent). Venezuela_sentence_492

Almost 3% of the population follow another religion (1% of these people practice Santería). Venezuela_sentence_493

There are small but influential Muslim, Druze, Buddhist, and Jewish communities. Venezuela_sentence_494

The Muslim community of more than 100,000 is concentrated among persons of Lebanese and Syrian descent living in Nueva Esparta State, Punto Fijo and the Caracas area. Venezuela_sentence_495

The Druze community are estimated around 60,000 and concentrated among persons of Lebanese and Syrian descent (a former vice president is Druze, showing the small group's influence). Venezuela_sentence_496

Buddhism in Venezuela is practiced by over 52,000 people. Venezuela_sentence_497

The Buddhist community is made up mainly of Chinese, Japanese, and Korean people. Venezuela_sentence_498

There are Buddhist centers in Caracas, Maracay, Mérida, Puerto Ordáz, San Felipe, and Valencia. Venezuela_sentence_499

The Jewish community has shrunk in recent years due to rising antisemitism in Venezuela, with the population declining from 22,000 in 1999 to less than 7,000 in 2015. Venezuela_sentence_500

Health Venezuela_section_31

Main articles: Health care in Venezuela and Mission Barrio Adentro Venezuela_sentence_501

Venezuela has a national universal health care system. Venezuela_sentence_502

The current government has created a program to expand access to health care known as Misión Barrio Adentro, although its efficiency and work conditions have been criticized. Venezuela_sentence_503

It has been reported that many Misión Barrio Adentro clinics have been closed, and (as of December 2014) it is estimated that 80% of Barrio Adentro establishments in Venezuela are abandoned. Venezuela_sentence_504

Infant mortality in Venezuela was 19 deaths per 1,000 births for 2014 which was lower than the South American average (To compare: The U.S. figure was 6 deaths per 1,000 births in 2013 and the Canadian figure was 4.5 deaths per 1,000 live births). Venezuela_sentence_505

Child malnutrition (defined as stunting or wasting in children under the age of five) was 17%. Venezuela_sentence_506

Delta Amacuro and Amazonas had the nation's highest rates. Venezuela_sentence_507

According to the United Nations, 32% of Venezuelans lacked adequate sanitation, primarily those living in rural areas. Venezuela_sentence_508

Diseases ranging from diphtheria, plague, malaria, typhoid fever, yellow fever, cholera, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, and hepatitis D were present in the country. Venezuela_sentence_509

Obesity was prevalent in approximately 30% of the adult population in Venezuela. Venezuela_sentence_510

Venezuela had a total of 150 sewage treatment plants; however, 13% of the population lacked access to drinking water, but this number had been dropping. Venezuela_sentence_511

During the economic crisis observed under President Maduro's presidency, medical professionals were forced to perform outdated treatments on patients. Venezuela_sentence_512

Education Venezuela_section_32

Main article: Education in Venezuela Venezuela_sentence_513

The literacy rate of the adult population was already at 91.1% by 1998. Venezuela_sentence_514

In 2008, 95.2% of the adult population was literate. Venezuela_sentence_515

The net primary school enrollment rate was at 91% and the net secondary school enrollment rate was at 63% in 2005. Venezuela_sentence_516

Venezuela has a number of universities, of which the most prestigious are the Central University of Venezuela (UCV) founded in Caracas in 1721, the University of Zulia (LUZ) founded in 1891, the University of the Andes (ULA) founded in Mérida State in 1810, the Simón Bolívar University (USB) founded in Miranda State in 1967, and the University of the East (UDO) founded in Sucre State in 1958. Venezuela_sentence_517

Currently, many Venezuelan graduates seek a future abroad because of the country's troubled economy and heavy crime rate. Venezuela_sentence_518

In a study titled "Venezolana Community Abroad: A New Method of Exile" by Thomas Páez, Mercedes Vivas, and Juan Rafael Pulido of the Central University of Venezuela, over 1.35 million Venezuelan college graduates have left the country since the beginning of the Bolivarian Revolution. Venezuela_sentence_519

It is believed that nearly 12% of Venezuelans live abroad, with Ireland becoming a popular destination for students. Venezuela_sentence_520

According to Claudio Bifano, president of the Venezuelan Academy of Physical, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences, more than half of all medical graduates had left Venezuela in 2013. Venezuela_sentence_521

By 2018, over half of all Venezuelan children had dropped out of school, with 58% of students quitting nationwide while areas near bordering countries saw more than 80% of their students leave. Venezuela_sentence_522

Nationwide, about 93% of schools do not meet the minimum requirements to operate and 77% do not have utilities such as food, water or electricity. Venezuela_sentence_523

Culture Venezuela_section_33

Main article: Culture of Venezuela Venezuela_sentence_524

The culture of Venezuela is a melting pot made up of three main groups: The Indigenous Venezuelans, the Africans, and the Spanish. Venezuela_sentence_525

The first two cultures were in turn differentiated according to their tribes. Venezuela_sentence_526

Acculturation and assimilation, typical of a cultural syncretism, led to the Venezuelan culture of the present day, which is similar in many ways to the culture of the rest of Latin America, but still has its own unique characteristics. Venezuela_sentence_527

The indigenous and African influence is limited to a few words, food names, and place names. Venezuela_sentence_528

However, the Africans also brought in many musical influences, especially introduction of the drum. Venezuela_sentence_529

The Spanish influence predominantes due to the colonization process and the socioeconomic structure it created, and in particular came from the regions of Andalusia and Extremadura (the places of origin of most of the settlers in the Caribbean during the colonial era). Venezuela_sentence_530

Spanish influences can be seen in the country's architecture, music, religion, and language. Venezuela_sentence_531

Spanish influences can also be seen in the bullfights that take place in Venezuela, and in certain gastronomical features. Venezuela_sentence_532

Venezuela was also enriched by immigration streams of Indian and European origin in the 19th century, especially from France. Venezuela_sentence_533

Most recently, immigration from the United States, Spain, Italy, and Portugal has further enriched the already complex cultural mosaic (especially in large oil-producing cities). Venezuela_sentence_534

Architecture Venezuela_section_34

Carlos Raúl Villanueva was the most important Venezuelan architect of the modern era; he designed the Central University of Venezuela, (a World Heritage Site) and its Aula Magna. Venezuela_sentence_535

Other notable architectural works include the Capitolio, the Baralt Theatre, the Teresa Carreño Cultural Complex, and the General Rafael Urdaneta Bridge. Venezuela_sentence_536

Art Venezuela_section_35

Main article: Venezuelan art Venezuela_sentence_537

Venezuelan art was initially dominated by religious motifs. Venezuela_sentence_538

However, in the late 19th century, artists began emphasizing historical and heroic representations of the country's struggle for independence. Venezuela_sentence_539

This move was led by Martín Tovar y Tovar. Venezuela_sentence_540

Modernism took over in the 20th century. Venezuela_sentence_541

Notable Venezuelan artists include Arturo Michelena, Cristóbal Rojas, Armando Reverón, Manuel Cabré; the kinetic artists Jesús Soto, Gego and Carlos Cruz-Diez; and contemporary artists such as Marisol and Yucef Merhi. Venezuela_sentence_542

Literature Venezuela_section_36

Main article: Venezuelan literature Venezuela_sentence_543

Venezuelan literature originated soon after the Spanish conquest of the mostly pre-literate indigenous societies. Venezuela_sentence_544

It was originally dominated by Spanish influences. Venezuela_sentence_545

Following the rise of political literature during the Venezuelan War of Independence, Venezuelan Romanticism, notably expounded by Juan Vicente González, emerged as the first important genre in the region. Venezuela_sentence_546

Although mainly focused on narrative writing, Venezuelan literature was advanced by poets such as Andrés Eloy Blanco and Fermín Toro. Venezuela_sentence_547

Major writers and novelists include Rómulo Gallegos, Teresa de la Parra, Arturo Uslar Pietri, Adriano González León, Miguel Otero Silva, and Mariano Picón Salas. Venezuela_sentence_548

The great poet and humanist Andrés Bello was also an educator and intellectual (He was also a childhood tutor and mentor of Simón Bolívar). Venezuela_sentence_549

Others, such as Laureano Vallenilla Lanz and José Gil Fortoul, contributed to Venezuelan Positivism. Venezuela_sentence_550

Music Venezuela_section_37

Main article: Music of Venezuela Venezuela_sentence_551

The indigenous musical styles of Venezuela are exemplified by groups like Un Sólo Pueblo and Serenata Guayanesa. Venezuela_sentence_552

The national musical instrument is the cuatro. Venezuela_sentence_553

Traditional musical styles and songs mainly emerged in and around the llanos region, including, "Alma llanera" (by Pedro Elías Gutiérrez and Rafael Bolívar Coronado), "Florentino y el diablo" (by Alberto Arvelo Torrealba), "Concierto en la llanura" by Juan Vicente Torrealba, and "Caballo viejo" (by Simón Díaz). Venezuela_sentence_554

The Zulian gaita is also a very popular genre, generally performed during Christmas. Venezuela_sentence_555

The national dance is the joropo. Venezuela_sentence_556

Venezuela has always been a melting pot of cultures and this can be seen in the richness and variety of its musical styles and dances: calipso, bambuco, fulía, cantos de pilado de maíz, cantos de lavanderas, sebucán, and maremare. Venezuela_sentence_557

Teresa Carreño was a world-famous 19th century piano virtuoso. Venezuela_sentence_558

Recently, great classical music performances have come out of Venezuela. Venezuela_sentence_559

The Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra, under the leadership of its principal conductor Gustavo Dudamel and José Antonio Abreu, has hosted a number of excellent concerts in many European concert halls, most notably at the 2007 London Proms, and has received several honors. Venezuela_sentence_560

The orchestra is the pinnacle of El Sistema, a publicly financed, voluntary music education program now being emulated in other countries. Venezuela_sentence_561

In the early 21st century, a movement known as "Movida Acústica Urbana" featured musicians trying to save some national traditions, creating their own original songs but using traditional instruments. Venezuela_sentence_562

Some groups following this movement are Tambor Urbano, Los Sinverguenzas, C4Trío, and Orozco Jam. Venezuela_sentence_563

Afro-Venezuelan musical traditions are most intimately related to the festivals of the "black folk saints" San Juan and St. Venezuela_sentence_564 Benedict the Moor. Venezuela_sentence_565

Specific songs are related to the different stages of their festivals and processions, when the saints start their yearly "paseo" – stroll – through the community to dance with their people. Venezuela_sentence_566

Sport Venezuela_section_38

Main article: Sport in Venezuela Venezuela_sentence_567

See also: Baseball in Venezuela and Football in Venezuela Venezuela_sentence_568

The origins of baseball in Venezuela are unclear, although it is known that the sport was being played in the country by the late 19th century. Venezuela_sentence_569

In the early 20th century, North American immigrants who came to Venezuela to work in the nation's oil industry helped to popularize the sport in Venezuela. Venezuela_sentence_570

During the 1930s, baseball's popularity continued to rise in the country, leading to the foundation of the Venezuelan Professional Baseball League (LVBP) in 1945, and the sport would soon become the nation's most popular. Venezuela_sentence_571

The immense popularity of baseball in the country makes Venezuela a rarity among its South American neighbors—association football is the dominant sport in the continent. Venezuela_sentence_572

However, football, as well as basketball, are among the more popular sports played in Venezuela. Venezuela_sentence_573

Venezuela hosted the 2012 Basketball World Olympic Qualifying Tournament and the 2013 FIBA Basketball Americas Championship, which took place in the Poliedro de Caracas. Venezuela_sentence_574

Although not as popular in Venezuela as the rest of South America, football, spearheaded by the Venezuela national football team is gaining popularity as well. Venezuela_sentence_575

The sport is also noted for having an increased focus during the World Cup. Venezuela_sentence_576

According to the CONMEBOL alphabetical rotation policy established in 2011, Venezuela is scheduled to host the Copa América every 40 years. Venezuela_sentence_577

Venezuela is also home to former Formula 1 driver, Pastor Maldonado. Venezuela_sentence_578

At the 2012 Spanish Grand Prix, he claimed his first pole and victory, and became the first and only Venezuelan to have done so in Formula 1 history. Venezuela_sentence_579

Maldonado has increased the reception of Formula 1 in Venezuela, helping to popularize the sport in the country. Venezuela_sentence_580

In the 2012 Summer Olympics, Venezuelan Rubén Limardo won a gold medal in fencing. Venezuela_sentence_581

Cuisine Venezuela_section_39

Main article: Venezuelan cuisine Venezuela_sentence_582

See also Venezuela_section_40


Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: