Venezuela has a population of
23.4 million inhabitants (2000) of whom 85% lives in cities. This population is
very young: 37% is less than 15 years old and 65% less than 30 years old. The
growth of the population is very strong with a birth rate of 25.7 per one
thousand, and a low mortality of 25.7 per one thousand. It is estimated that in
the year 2000, Venezuela has 24 million inhabitants and in year 2010, 29
million. As a result, population doubles each 33 years.
Venezuela is a country of
immigrants. As a matter of fact, only 2% of its population is Indian (native).
The predominant ethnic group is the "mestizo" (mixture of European, African and
Indian), and constitutes 69% of the population. Whites count for 20% and black
for 9%. Since 1948, with the oil boom, there was an estimated of one million
inmigrants from Spain, Italy and Portugal. Also a great number of Colombian
arrived. Starting in 1958, a great number of Venezuelans moved from the country
side to the city, and where replaced by Colombians. There was also a great
professional immigration from Argentina, Chile and Uruguay, where the economic
and political situation was not favorable. Later, the immigration - less
prepared - from Colombia, Ecuador and Peru, continued with an estimated number
of 2 million.
population is quite small, and is found mainly in the Guayana region and the
Goajira peninsula, west of Lake Maracaibo.
Caracas 1,822,465; Maracaibo 1,249,670; Valencia 903,621; Barquisimeto
625,450; Ciudad Guayana 453,047.
Venezuelan constitution is very recent. It
was prepared in 1999 and ratified by a national referendum in December 1999,
with close to 70% of the votes. It specifies that government has 5 powers: the
traditional: Legislative, Judiciary and Executive, and also the electoral and
moral powers. Elections for the presidency and for the congress are popular and
realized each 6 years. Congress is unicameral.
Executive power is in hands of a president
(who is also the chief commander of the armed forces), and who names the
vice-president, a new figure in the 1999 constitution. President can be
reelected for another 6 year period. The main traditional parties Accion
Democratica and Copei, virtually disappeared
in 1998 giving place to president's Chavez' Movimiento V Republica, and
supported by Movimiento al socialismo (Movement towards socialism) and Patria
para Todos (links in Spanish).
Each state is
headed by a governor who gets elected in popular elections. Each state has its
own Legislative Chamber.
Main religion is catholic
(92.1%). Freedom of choice is warranted by constitution.
Venezuela was discovered by
Columbus in his third voyage in 1498. Independence started in 1810 and ended
with the Carabobo battle in 1821, under the command of Simon Bolivar (The
liberator) who died in 1830. From 1930 to 1958 there was a succession of
constitutions, elected and non-elected presidents, until the democratic period
which dates from 1958.
Link to Venezuelan history
ECONOMY AND FINANCES
The most important industry in
Venezuela is Oil. Up to 1970, Venezuela was the world's major exporter. It also
has other minerals.
In the following link we show
the Inflation index (IPC) and the exchange rate Bs to Dollars
communications: 4 million lines (Estim. 2000) with three suppliers: Telcel,
Movilnet and Digitel
Venezuela has a great variety of
food. For more details, click here (Spanish).
Venezuela: Gateway to Latin
Venezuela, strategically situated on
the northern part of the South American continent, with coasts on
the Atlantic ocean, on the Caribbean sea and boundaries with Brazil
to the south, Colombia to the west and Guyana to the east, is a
truly gateway to Latin America. Due to its location, the Venezuelan
capital, Caracas, has become an important air transport hub in the
Western Hemisphere, with daily connections to any part of the
Americas as well as Europe.
Venezuela: Its Distinctive
Stretched over 916.000 sq. km,
Venezuela is a tropical country that embraces a great variety of
natural landscapes, climate and vegetation. Despite its tropical
condition, the temperatures vary considerably according to the
altitude. Below 800 m., they range form 24ºC to 40ºC; while in zones
from 800 to 2000 m., temperatures oscillate from 16ºC to 33ºC. The
coldest temperatures are found in Andean mountains, where they can
fall bellow freezing over 3.500 meters over sea level.
The country contains several natural
regions: the Andean higher mountains zone which runs in a broad arc
from the south west to the north east; the lowlands around the Lake
of Maracaibo; the vast central plains called "llanos"; the extended
Guayana highlands, "tepuyes", in the south and south east, and
finally the coast of the Atlantic ocean and the Caribbean
Due to its great variety of
landscapes, climate and vegetation cover, among many other
characteristics, Venezuela owes many natural beauties, which are
very much appreciate all over the world.
Venezuela: Its Outstanding Natural
Nobody doubt the Venezuelan
wealth in natural resources, which represent a real source for its
economical growth. The wealthiness of Venezuela, for instance, in
oil, gas, iron ore, coal, bauxite, gold, as well as in water, timber
wood, soils and many other natural resources is very well
Oil and Oil Industry
Venezuela’s extensive resource base
includes proven crude oil reserves in 76.000 million barrels, the
largest outside the Middle East and the sixth largest in the world.
About 58% of the total oil reserve is heavy and extra-heavy crude
oil located in the Orinoco Strip, which a large quantity is
economically recoverable using existing technology. Combined
conventional reserves and the Orinoco Strip, Venezuela has the
largest hydrocarbon reserves in the world.
In addition, the nation’s natural gas
reserves total over 4 trillion cubic meters (14 trillion
Production capacity, excluding that of
the Orinoco Strip associations, was placed in 2000 at 3.500.000
barrels per day.
The oil industry is the engine that
pulls the entire Venezuelan economy. "Petróleos de Venezuela"
(PDVSA) the country’s national company which rules the industry is,
in fact, the world’s third largest oil company, having a modern
production and refining infrastructure with a first-class
professional and technical staff. About 23% of the GDP of the
Venezuela stems directly from oil and when it takes into account the
chain effects, that figure jumps up to 40%. As one of the founding
members of the organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC)
and strong producer, Venezuela has ever been one of the leaders of
Petroleum and associate products
continue to fuel the Venezuelan economy representing about 70% of
the country’s exports. Venezuela is the United States fourth
supplier of oil, it means 13% of the total oil import of USA. In
1999 sales of crude in the international market reached 2.785.000
per day, representing together with associate products a total of
2.403 million of US$.
Very important is to say that
Venezuela opened its door to foreign participations in its petroleum
industry since 1992 and today the so called "The Aperture Process
"has widened to include all sectors of the Venezuela’s oil
One of the most successful results of
the Venezuelan oil technology is Orimulsion a liquid coal substitute
made from a heavy oil/water mix that studies have shown is cleaner
that other fuels now selling in several countries as Italy, China
The country’s reserve in natural gas
are extensive. Proven reserves totalled more than 5.000 trillion
cubic meters. The present reserves are equivalent to about 25.000
million barrels of oil. Venezuela currently ranked among the top 10
countries with natural gas reserves. Average natural gas daily
production is over 180.000 barrels. Exports are increasingly. In
1999 a total of 5.685 billion cubic feet of methane gas was
As said , other mineral resources
abound in the Venezuelan territory. It’s the case of iron ore, which
the country has huge reserves. Proven reserves of iron ore has been
estimated over 2 billion MT, mostly located in Guayana region
(Bolivar State). The company charge of tapping Venezuela’s rich iron
ore is "Ferrominera del Orinoco", a subsidiary of strong company
Corporación Venezolana de Guayana. Venezuela is the world’s eighth
largest producer of iron ore, with an output of more than 20 million
MT per annum of which 65% is sold to customers in USA, Europe and
Japan. Several foreign investors are associated to CVG in the iron
ore business sector.
Since 1987 the production of bauxite
has steadily grown. By 1995 production achieved a record of 5
million MT, from over 4 billion MT of bauxite reserves the country
has in the Guayana region. The Los Pijiguaos, the most important
mine has approximately 168 million MT of proven
Venezuela is South’s America
third-largest coal producer, following only Colombia and Brazil and
that is the reason why Venezuela’s Coal industry is growing quickly.
Almost 20 million MT of coal was produced in 1999. Venezuela has
massive potential as coal producer country, with more than 1200
billion MT of proven reserves in addition to the recognized quality
of Venezuelan coal in the world markets due to its low sulphur,
moisture and high heat yield. Venezuela’s coal fields are mainly
located in the states of Zulia, Tachira, falcon and Anzoategui being
in Zulia where are the principal fields.
Venezuela has abound proven reserves
of gold, located in the Guayana shield, south of the country. Gold
reserves of more than 10.000 metric tons are estimated to represent
more than 12% of the entire world known gold reserves.
Venezuela has been blessed with
abundant running water from its many big rivers. This reason explain
why the country has an appreciate hydroelectric power today, and a
huge potential for electrical energy as well as for irrigation
Venezuela: A Young
Venezuela is, in fact, an overwhelming
young country, with about 64% of its population under the age of 25,
more than 90% of the country’s 22 million population is literate and
nearly 40% Venezuela’s workforce has completed secondary school. The
country also boast a well trained pool of professionals and
technicians educated inside and overseas. Venezuela today’s
population is the result of a multi-ethnic mixture of European,
African and native American bloodlines. Above 65% is of mixed native
and European migrant people settled in the country particularly
after the end of the World War II. Roughly 85% of the population
lives in urban areas. Spanish is the Venezuelan official language
and English the second one taught at different levels of its