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Asunto:[CeHuNews] 286/03 - Geography of Venezuela
Fecha:Miercoles, 3 de Diciembre, 2003  14:01:01 (-0300)
Autor:humboldt <humboldt @...............ar>

CeHuNews 286/03
 
 Geography of Venezuela  
  
  Background:   
  Venezuela was one of three countries that emerged from the collapse of Gran 
  Colombia in 1830 (the others being Colombia and Ecuador). For most of the 
 first 
  half of the 20th century, Venezuela was ruled by generally benevolent military

  strongmen, who promoted the oil industry and allowed for some social reforms.

  Democratically elected governments have held sway since 1959. Current concerns

  include: an embattled president who is losing his once solid support among 
  Venezuelans, a divided military, drug-related conflicts along the Colombian 
  border, increasing internal drug consumption, overdependence on the petroleum

  industry with its price fluctuations, and irresponsible mining operations that

  are endangering the rain forest and indigenous peoples.  
     
  Location:   
  Northern South America, bordering the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic 
  Ocean, between Colombia and Guyana  
  Geographic coordinates:   
  8 00 N, 66 00 W  
  Map references:   
  South America  
  Area:    
  total: 912,050 sq km 
  land: 882,050 sq km 
  water: 30,000 sq km  
  Area - comparative:   
  slightly more than twice the size of California  
  Land boundaries:   
  total: 4,993 km 
  border countries: Brazil 2,200 km, Colombia 2,050 km, Guyana 743 km  
  Coastline:   
  2,800 km  
  Maritime claims:   
  contiguous zone: 15 NM 
  territorial sea: 12 NM 
  continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation 
  exclusive economic zone: 200 NM  
  Climate:   
  tropical; hot, humid; more moderate in highlands  
  Terrain:   
  Andes Mountains and Maracaibo Lowlands in northwest; central plains (llanos);

  Guiana Highlands in southeast  
  Elevation extremes:   
  lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m 
  highest point: Pico Bolivar (La Columna) 5,007 m  
  Natural resources:   
  petroleum, natural gas, iron ore, gold, bauxite, other minerals, hydropower, 
  diamonds  
  Land use:   
  arable land: 2.99% 
  permanent crops: 0.96% 
  other: 96.05% (1998 est.)  
  Irrigated land:   
  540 sq km (1998 est.)  
  Natural hazards:   
  subject to floods, rockslides, mudslides; periodic droughts  
  Environment - current issues:   
  sewage pollution of Lago de Valencia; oil and urban pollution of Lago de 
  Maracaibo; deforestation; soil degradation; urban and industrial pollution, 
  especially along the Caribbean coast; threat to the rainforest ecosystem from

  irresponsible mining operations  
  Environment - international agreements:   
  party to: Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, 
  Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Marine Life Conservation, Nuclear Test 
  Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical 
 Timber 
  94, Wetlands 
  signed, but not ratified: Marine Dumping  
  Geography - note:   
  on major sea and air routes linking North and South America; Angel Falls in 
 the 
  Guiana Highlands is the world's highest waterfall  
  
     People    
  Population:    
  24,654,694 (July 2003 est.)  
  Age structure:   
  0-14 years: 31% (male 3,944,749; female 3,700,799) 
  15-64 years: 64.1% (male 7,931,194; female 7,864,697) 
  65 years and over: 4.9% (male 552,291; female 660,964) (2003 est.)  
  Median age:   
  total: 24.8 years 
  male: 24.3 years 
  female: 25.4 years (2002)  
  Population growth rate:   
  1.48% (2003 est.)  
  Birth rate:    
  19.78 births/1,000 population (2003 est.)  
  Death rate:    
  4.9 deaths/1,000 population (2003 est.)  
  Net migration rate:   
  -0.07 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2003 est.)  
  Sex ratio:   
  at birth: 1.08 male(s)/female 
  under 15 years: 1.07 male(s)/female 
  15-64 years: 1.01 male(s)/female 
  65 years and over: 0.84 male(s)/female 
  total population: 1.02 male(s)/female (2003 est.)  
  Infant mortality rate:    
  total: 23.79 deaths/1,000 live births 
  female: 20.28 deaths/1,000 live births (2003 est.) 
  male: 27.05 deaths/1,000 live births  
  Life expectancy at birth:    
  total population: 73.81 years 
  male: 70.78 years 
  female: 77.07 years (2003 est.)  
  Total fertility rate:    
  2.36 children born/woman (2003 est.)  
  HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:    
  0.5% - note: no country specific models provided (2001 est.)  
  HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:    
  62,000 (1999 est.)  
  HIV/AIDS - deaths:    
  2,000 (2001 est.)  
  Nationality:   
  noun: Venezuelan(s) 
  adjective: Venezuelan  
  Ethnic groups:   
  Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Arab, German, African, indigenous people  
  Religions:   
  nominally Roman Catholic 96%, Protestant 2%, other 2%  
  Languages:   
  Spanish (official), numerous indigenous dialects  
  Literacy:   
  definition: age 15 and over can read and write 
  total population: 93.4% 
  male: 93.8% 
  female: 93.1% (2003 est.)  
  
     Government    
  Country name:   
  conventional long form: Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela 
  conventional short form: Venezuela 
  local short form: Venezuela 
  local long form: Republica Bolivariana de Venezuela  
  Government type:   
  federal republic  
  Capital:   
  Caracas  
  Administrative divisions:   
  23 states (estados, singular - estado), 1 federal district* (distrito 
 federal), 
  and 1 federal dependency** (dependencia federal); Amazonas, Anzoategui, Apure,

  Aragua, Barinas, Bolivar, Carabobo, Cojedes, Delta Amacuro, Dependencias 
  Federales**, Distrito Federal*, Falcon, Guarico, Lara, Merida, Miranda, 
 Monagas, 
  Nueva Esparta, Portuguesa, Sucre, Tachira, Trujillo, Vargas, Yaracuy, Zulia 
  note: the federal dependency consists of 11 federally controlled island groups

  with a total of 72 individual islands  
  Independence:   
  5 July 1811 (from Spain)  
  National holiday:   
  Independence Day, 5 July (1811)  
  Constitution:   
  30 December 1999  
  Legal system:   
  based on organic laws as of July 1999; open, adversarial court system; has not

  accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction  
  Suffrage:   
  18 years of age; universal  
  Executive branch:   
  chief of state: President Hugo CHAVEZ Frias (since 3 February 1999); Vice 
  President Jose Vicente RANGEL (since 28 April 2002); note - the president is 
  both the chief of state and head of government 
  head of government: President Hugo CHAVEZ Frias (since 3 February 1999); Vice

  President Jose Vicente RANGEL (since 28 April 2002); note - the president is 
  both the chief of state and head of government 
  cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president 
  election results: Hugo CHAVEZ Frias reelected president; percent of vote - 60%

  elections: president elected by popular vote for a six-year term; election 
 last 
  held 30 July 2000 (next to be held NA 2006)  
  Legislative branch:   
  unicameral National Assembly or Asamblea Nacional (165 seats; members elected

  by popular vote to serve five-year terms; three seats reserved for the 
  indigenous peoples of Venezuela) 
  election results: percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - 
  pro-government 108 (MVR 92, MAS 6, indigenous 3, other 7), opposition 57 (AD 
 33, 
  COPEI 6, Justice First 5, other 13) 
  elections: last held 30 July 2000 (next to be held NA 2005)  
  Judicial branch:   
  Supreme Tribunal of Justice or Tribuna Suprema de Justicia (magistrates are 
  elected by the National Assembly for a single 12-year term)  
  Political parties and leaders:   
  Democratic Action or AD [Claudio FERMIN]; Fifth Republic Movement or MVR 
  [Garcia PONCE]; Homeland for All or PPT [Jose ALBORNIZ]; Justice First [Julio

  BORGES]; Movement Toward Socialism or MAS [Hector MUJICA]; National 
 Convergence 
  or Convergencia [Juan Jose CALDERA]; Radical Cause or La Causa R [Antonio 
  HERRERA]; Social Christian Party or COPEI [Oswaldo ALVAREZ Paz]; Venezuela 
  Project or PV [Henrique SALAS Romer]  
  Political pressure groups and leaders:   
  FEDECAMARAS, a conservative business group; VECINOS groups; Venezuelan 
  Confederation of Workers or CTV (labor organization dominated by the 
 Democratic 
  Action)  
  International organization participation:   
  CAN, Caricom (observer), CDB, ECLAC, FAO, G-3, G-15, G-19, G-24, G-77, IADB, 
  IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICCt, ICFTU, ICRM, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, 
 IMO, 
  Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO, ITU, LAES, LAIA, NAM, OAS, OPANAL, OPCW, OPEC, PCA, 
 RG, 
  UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNIKOM, UNU, UPU, WCL, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO,

  WMO, WToO, WTrO  
  Diplomatic representation in the US:   
  chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d'Affaires Luis HERERRA Marcano

  chancery: 1099 30th Street NW, Washington, DC 20007 
  consulate(s) general: Boston, Chicago, Houston, Miami, New Orleans, New York,

  San Francisco, and San Juan (Puerto Rico) 
  FAX: [1] (202) 342-6820 
  telephone: [1] (202) 342-2214  
  Diplomatic representation from the US:   
  chief of mission: Ambassador Charles S. SHAPIRO 
  embassy: Calle F con Calle Suapure, Urbanizacion Colinas de Valle Arriba, 
  Caracas 1080 
  mailing address: P. O. Box 62291, Caracas 1060-A; APO AA 34037 
  telephone: [58] (212) 975-9234, 975-6411 
  FAX: [58] (212) 975-8991  
  Flag description:   
  three equal horizontal bands of yellow (top), blue, and red with the coat of 
  arms on the hoist side of the yellow band and an arc of seven white 
 five-pointed 
  stars centered in the blue band  
  
     Economy    
  Economy - overview:   
  Venezuela continues to be highly dependent on the petroleum sector, which 
  accounts for roughly one-third of GDP, around 80% of export earnings, and more

  than half of government operating revenues. Despite higher oil prices at the 
 end 
  of 2002 and into 2003, domestic political instability, culminating in a 
  two-month national oil strike from December 2002 to February 2003, temporarily

  halted economic activity. The economy is likely to remain in a recession in 
  2003, after sinking an estimated 8.9 percent in 2002.  
  GDP:    
  purchasing power parity - $132.8 billion (2002 est.)  
  GDP - real growth rate:    
  -8.9% (2002 est.)  
  GDP - per capita:    
  purchasing power parity - $5,500 (2002 est.)  
  GDP - composition by sector:   
  agriculture: 5% 
  industry: 50% 
  services: 45% (2001)  
  Population below poverty line:   
  47% (1998 est.)  
  Household income or consumption by percentage share:   
  lowest 10%: 0.8% 
  highest 10%: 36.5% (1998)  
  Distribution of family income - Gini index:   
  49.5 (1998)  
  Inflation rate (consumer prices):    
  31.2% (2002)  
  Labor force:    
  9.9 million (1999)  
  Labor force - by occupation:   
  services 64%, industry 23%, agriculture 13% (1997 est.)  
  Unemployment rate:    
  17% (2002 est.)  
  Budget:   
  revenues: $21.5 billion 
  expenditures: $27 billion, including capital expenditures of $NA (2000 est.) 

  Industries:   
  petroleum, iron ore mining, construction materials, food processing, textiles,

  steel, aluminum, motor vehicle assembly  
  Industrial production growth rate:    
  -5.4% (2002 est.)  
  Electricity - production:    
  87.6 billion kWh (2001)  
  Electricity - production by source:   
  fossil fuel: 31.7% 
  hydro: 68.3% 
  other: 0% (2001) 
  nuclear: 0%  
  Electricity - consumption:    
  81.47 billion kWh (2001)  
  Electricity - exports:   
  0 kWh (2001)  
  Electricity - imports:   
  0 kWh (2001)  
  Oil - production:    
  3.08 million bbl/day (2001 est.)  
  Oil - consumption:    
  505,000 bbl/day (2001 est.)  
  Oil - exports:    
  NA (2001)  
  Oil - imports:    
  NA (2001)  
  Oil - proved reserves:    
  63.95 billion bbl (January 2002 est.)  
  Natural gas - proved reserves:    
  4.202 trillion cu m (January 2002 est.)  
  Agriculture - products:   
  corn, sorghum, sugarcane, rice, bananas, vegetables, coffee; beef, pork, milk,

  eggs; fish  
  Exports:    
  $28.6 billion f.o.b. (2001)  
  Exports - commodities:   
  petroleum, bauxite and aluminum, steel, chemicals, agricultural products, 
 basic 
  manufactures  
  Exports - partners:   
  US 60%, Brazil 5.5%, Colombia 3.5%, Italy 3.5%, Spain 3.4% (2000)  
  Imports:    
  $18.8 billion f.o.b. (2001)  
  Imports - commodities:   
  raw materials, machinery and equipment, transport equipment, construction 
  materials  
  Imports - partners:   
  US 35.8%, Colombia 6.8%, Brazil 4.5%, Germany 3.9%, Italy 3.9% (2000)  
  Debt - external:    
  $38.2 billion (2000)  
  Economic aid - recipient:   
  $74 million (2000)  
  Currency:   
  bolivar (VEB)  
  Currency code:   
  VEB  
  Exchange rates:   
  bolivares per US dollar - 1,160.44 (2002), 723.666 (2001), 679.96 (2000), 
  605.717 (1999), 547.556 (1998)  
  Fiscal year:   
  calendar year  
  
     Communications    
  Telephones - main lines in use:    
  2.6 million (however, 3,500,000 have been installed) (1998)  
  Telephones - mobile cellular:    
  2 million (1998)  
  Telephone system:   
  general assessment: modern and expanding 
  domestic: domestic satellite system with 3 earth stations; recent substantial

  improvement in telephone service in rural areas; substantial increase in 
  digitalization of exchanges and trunk lines; installation of a national 
  interurban fiber-optic network capable of digital multimedia services 
  international: 3 submarine coaxial cables; satellite earth stations - 1 
  Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean) and 1 PanAmSat; participating with Colombia, 
 Ecuador, 
  Peru, and Bolivia in the construction of an international fiber-optic network 

  Radio broadcast stations:   
  AM 201, FM NA (20 in Caracas), shortwave 11 (1998)  
  Television broadcast stations:   
  66 (plus 45 repeaters) (1997)  
  Internet country code:   
  .ve  
  Internet Service Providers (ISPs):   
  16 (2000)  
  Internet users:    
  1.3 million (2002)  
  
     Transportation   
  Railways:    
  total: 682 km 
  standard gauge: 682 km 1.435-m gauge (2002)  
  Highways:   
  total: 96,155 km 
  paved: 32,308 km 
  unpaved: 63,847 km (1997 est.)  
  Waterways:   
  7,100 km 
  note: Rio Orinoco and Lago de Maracaibo accept oceangoing vessels  
  Pipelines:   
  crude oil 6,370 km; petroleum products 480 km; natural gas 4,010 km  
  Ports and harbors:   
  Amuay, Bajo Grande, El Tablazo, La Guaira, La Salina, Maracaibo, Matanzas, 
  Palua, Puerto Cabello, Puerto la Cruz, Puerto Ordaz, Puerto Sucre, Punta 
 Cardon  
  Merchant marine:   
  total: 47 ships (1,000 GRT or over) 714,073 GRT/1,256,667 DWT 
  note: includes some foreign-owned ships registered here as a flag of 
  convenience: Denmark 1, Greece 1, Italy 1, UK 1, US 2 (2002 est.) 
  ships by type: bulk 6, cargo 8, chemical tanker 1, container 1, liquefied gas

  4, passenger/cargo 1, petroleum tanker 15, roll on/roll off 10, short-sea 
  passenger 1  
  Airports:   
  373 (2002)  
  Airports - with paved runways:   
  total: 127 
  over 3,047 m: 5 
  2,438 to 3,047 m: 11 
  914 to 1,523 m: 61 
  under 914 m: 18 (2002) 
  1,524 to 2,437 m: 32  
  Airports - with unpaved runways:   
  total: 246 
  1,524 to 2,437 m: 10 
  914 to 1,523 m: 97 
  under 914 m: 139 (2002)  
  Heliports:   
  1 (2002)  
  
     Military    
  Military branches:   
  National Armed Forces (Fuerzas Armadas Nacionales or FAN) includes Ground 
  Forces or Army (Fuerzas Terrestres or Ejercito), Naval Forces (Fuerzas Navales

  or Armada - including marines and Coast Guard), Air Force (Fuerzas Aereas or 
  Aviacion), Armed Forces of Cooperation or National Guard (Fuerzas Armadas de 
  Cooperacion or Guardia Nacional)  
  Military manpower - military age:   
  18 years of age (2003 est.)  
  Military manpower - availability:   
  males age 15-49: 6,767,862 (2003 est.)  
  Military manpower - fit for military service:   
  males age 15-49: 4,870,751 (2003 est.)  
  Military manpower - reaching military age annually:   
  males: 249,319 (2003 est.)  
  Military expenditures - dollar figure:    
  $934 million (FY99)  
  Military expenditures - percent of GDP:    
  0.9% (FY99)  
  
     Transnational Issues    
  Disputes - international:   
  claims all of Guyana west of the Essequibo River; maritime boundary dispute 
  with Colombia in the Gulf of Venezuela and the Caribbean Sea; US, France and 
 the 
  Netherlands recognize Venezuela's claim to give full effect to Aves Island, 
  which creates a Venezuelan EEZ/continental shelf extending over a large 
 portion 
  of the Caribbean Sea; Dominica, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, and Saint

  Vincent and the Grenadines protest the claim and other states' recognition of

 it 
   
  Illicit drugs:   
  small-scale illicit producer of opium and coca for the processing of opiates 
  and coca derivatives; however, large quantities of cocaine, heroin, and 
  marijuana transit the country from Colombia bound for US and Europe; 
 significant 
  narcotics-related money-laundering activity, especially along the border with

  Colombia and on Margarita Island; active eradication program primarily 
 targeting 
  opium; increasing signs of drug-related activities by Colombian insurgents on

  border.
   
  
  www.cia.gov 
 




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