Saturday, June 19, 2010

VENEZUELA - Country profile

Venezuela is a country on the northern tropical Caribbean coast
of South America. Venezuela borders Brazil to the south,
Guyana to the east, and Colombia to the west.
North of the Venezuelan coast lie the islands of Aruba, the Netherlands Antilles,
and Trinidad and Tobago. A former Spanish colony, Venezuela is a federal republic. Historically, Venezuela has had territorial disputes with Guyana,
largely concerning the Essequibo area, and with Colombia concerning the Gulf of Venezuela. Today, Venezuela is known widely for its petroleum industry,
the environmental diversity of its territory, and its sheer natural beauty.
Christopher Columbus was so enthralled by Venezuela's landscape,
when arriving to its coast in 1498,
that he referred to the land as Tierra de Gracia (Land of Grace),
which has become the country’s nickname.


The flag of Venezuela dates from 1811, the beginning of that nation's struggle for independence. The basic design includes a horizontal tricolor of yellow, blue, and red. Further modifications have involved including a set of stars, multiple changes to the placement and number of stars and inclusion of an optional coat of arms at the upper-left corner.

National anthem of VENEZUELA :

Gloria al Bravo Pueblo (Glory to the Brave People) was adopted as Venezuela's national anthem by President Antonio Guzmán Blanco on May 25, 1881. The lyrics were written by the medician and journalist Vicente Salias in 1810. The music was later composed by musician Juan José Landaeta. It is said, however, that the melody was known since 1840 as La Marsellesa Venezolana (Venezuelan Marseillaise), in reference to its subtle similarity to the French national anthem.

Location :

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

Map :

Area :

Total : 912 050 sq km
Land : 882 050 sq km
Water : 30 000 sq km

Elevation extremes :

Lowest point : Caribbean Sea 0 m
Highest point : Pico Bolivar (La Columna) 5,007 m

Terrain :

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

Natural resources :

Petroleum, natural gas, iron ore, gold, bauxite, other minerals, hydropower, diamonds.

Climate :

Current weather : tropical, hot, humid, more moderate in highlands.

Population :

27,223,228 (2010 est.)

Nationality :

Demonym : Venezuelan

Ethnic groups :

Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Arab, German, African, indigenous people.

Religions :

Nominally Roman Catholic 96%, Protestant 2%, other 2%.

Languages :

Official : Spanish
National : Spanish
Numerous indigenous dialects

Country name :

Conventional long form : Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela
Conventional short form : Venezuela
Local long form : Republica Bolivariana de Venezuela
Local short form : Venezuela

ISO country code :


Government type :

Federal republic

Capital :

Caracas (population Distrito Capital : 2 097 350 in 2009 ; Distrito Metropolitano was estimated at 3 196 514 in 2008).

Other major cities :

Maracaibo, Valencia, Barquisimeto.

Administrative divisions :

23 states (estados, singular - estado), 1 capital district (distrito capital), and 1 federal dependency (dependencia federal); Amazonas, Anzoategui, Apure, Aragua, Barinas, Bolivar, Carabobo, Cojedes, Delta Amacuro, Dependencias Federales, Distrito Capital, Falcon, Guarico, Lara, Merida, Miranda, Monagas, Nueva Esparta, Portuguesa, Sucre, Tachira, Trujillo, Vargas, Yaracuy, Zulia
Note: the federal dependency consists of 11 federally controlled island groups with a total of 72 individual islands

Independance :

From Spain : 5 July 1811
From Gran Colombia : 13 January 1830
Recognized : 30 marc 1845

National holiday :

Independence Day, 5 July (1811)

Constitution :

30 December 1999

Executive branch :

Chief of state : President Hugo CHAVEZ Frias (since 3 February 1999) ;
Executive Vice President : Elias JAUA Milano (since 26 January 2010) ;
Note : the president is both the chief of state and head of government

Head of government : President Hugo CHAVEZ Frias (since 3 February 1999) ;
Executive Vice President : Elias JAUA Milano (since 26 January 2010)
Cabinet : Council of Ministers appointed by the president

Elections : president elected by popular vote for a six-year term (eligible for unlimited reelection) ; election last held on 3 December 2006 (next to be held in December 2012).
Note: in 1999, a National Constituent Assembly drafted a new constitution that increased the presidential term to six years ; an election was subsequently held on 30 July 2000 under the terms of this constitution ; in 2009, a national referendum approved the elimination of term limits on all elected officials, including the presidency.

Election results : Hugo CHAVEZ Frias reelected president ; percent of vote - Hugo CHAVEZ Frias 62.9%, Manuel ROSALES 36.9%

Legislative branch :

Unicameral National Assembly or Asamblea Nacional (167 seats ; members elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms ; three seats reserved for the indigenous peoples of Venezuela).

Judicial branch :

Supreme Tribunal of Justice or Tribuna Suprema de Justicia (32 magistrates are elected by the National Assembly for a single 12-year term).

Currency :

Bolivar fuerte (VEB)

Agriculture products :

Corn, sorghum, sugarcane, rice, bananas, vegetables, coffee, beef, pork, milk, eggs, fish.

Industries :

Petroleum, construction materials, food processing, textiles, iron ore mining, steel, aluminum, motor vehicle assembly.

Exports partners :

US 39.8%, Netherlands Antilles 7.6%, China 4.6% (2008).

Imports partners :

US 26.1%, Colombia 12.6%, Brazil 10.7%, China 6.9%, Mexico 4.8% (2008).

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