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Asunto:NoticiasdelCeHu 286/03 - Geography of Venezuela
Fecha:Miercoles, 3 de Diciembre, 2003  13:55:14 (-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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