Venezuela

Venezuela (/ˌvɛnəˈzwlə/; American Spanish: [beneˈswela] (listen)), officially the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela (Spanish: República Bolivariana de Venezuela),[8] is a country on the northern coast of South America, consisting of a continental landmass and many islands and islets in the Caribbean Sea. It has a territorial extension of 916,445 km2 (353,841 sq mi), and its population was estimated at 29 million in 2022.[9] The capital and largest urban agglomeration is the city of Caracas.

Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela
República Bolivariana de Venezuela (Spanish)
Motto: Dios y Federación
("God and Federation")
Anthem: Gloria al Bravo Pueblo
("Glory to the Brave People")
Land controlled by Venezuela shown in dark green; claimed but uncontrolled land shown in light green.
Capital
and largest city
Caracas
10°30′N 66°55′W
Official languagesSpanish[b]
Recognized regional languages
Other spoken languagesEnglish
German
Portuguese
Italian
Chinese
Arabic
Ethnic groups
(2011)[1]
Religion
(2020)[2]
Demonym(s)Venezuelan
GovernmentFederal presidential republic
 President
Nicolás Maduro (disputed)
Delcy Rodríguez
LegislatureNational Assembly
Independence from Spain
 Declared
5 July 1811
 from Gran Colombia
13 January 1830
 Recognized
29 March 1845
20 December 1999[3]
Area
 Total
916,445 km2 (353,841 sq mi) (32nd)
 Water (%)
3.2%[d]
Population
 2022 estimate
29,789,730[4] (50th)
 Density
33.74/km2 (87.4/sq mi) (144st)
GDP (PPP)2022 estimate
 Total
$191.329 billion[5] (81st)
 Per capita
$7,108[5] (159th)
GDP (nominal)2022 estimate
 Total
$82.145 billion[5] (94th)
 Per capita
$3,052[5] (145th)
Gini (2013) 44.8[6]
medium
HDI (2021) 0.691[7]
medium · 120th
CurrencyVenezuelan bolívar (VED)
Time zoneUTC−4 (VET)
Date formatdd/mm/yyyy (CE)
Driving sideright
Calling code+58
ISO 3166 codeVE
Internet TLD.ve
  1. ^ The "Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela" has been the full official title since the adoption of the Constitution of 1999, when the state was renamed in honor of Simón Bolívar.
  2. ^ The Constitution also recognizes all indigenous languages spoken in the country.
  3. ^ Some important subgroups include those of Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Amerindian, African, Arab and German descent.
  4. ^ Area totals include only Venezuelan-administered territory.
  5. ^ On 1 October 2021, a new bolivar was introduced, the Bolívar digital (ISO 4217 code VED) worth 1,000,000 VES.

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. The Venezuelan government maintains a claim against Guyana to Guayana Esequiba.[10] Venezuela is a federal presidential republic consisting of 23 states, the Capital District and federal dependencies covering Venezuela's offshore islands. Venezuela is among the most urbanized countries in Latin America;[11][12] the vast majority of Venezuelans live in the cities of the north and in the capital.

The territory of Venezuela was colonized by Spain in 1522 amid resistance from indigenous peoples. In 1811, it became one of the first Spanish-American territories to declare independence from the Spanish and to form part, as a department, of the first federal Republic of Colombia (historiographically known as Gran Colombia). It separated as a full sovereign country in 1830. During the 19th century, Venezuela suffered political turmoil and autocracy, remaining dominated by regional military dictators until the mid-20th century. 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. 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. 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. The government's populist social welfare policies were bolstered by soaring oil prices,[13] temporarily increasing social spending,[14] and reducing economic inequality and poverty in the early years of the regime.[15] However, poverty began to increase in the 2010s.[16] The 2013 Venezuelan presidential election was widely disputed leading to widespread protest, which triggered another nationwide crisis that continues to this day.[17] Venezuela has experienced democratic backsliding, shifting into an authoritarian state.[18] It ranks low in international measurements of freedom of the press and civil liberties and has high levels of perceived corruption.[19]

Venezuela is a developing country and ranks 113th on the Human Development Index. It has the world's largest known oil reserves and has been one of the world's leading exporters of oil. 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. The excesses and poor policies of the incumbent government led to the collapse of Venezuela's entire economy.[20][21] The country struggles with record hyperinflation,[22][23] shortages of basic goods,[24] unemployment,[25] poverty,[26] disease, high child mortality, malnutrition, severe crime and corruption. These factors have precipitated the Venezuelan migrant crisis where more than three million people have fled the country.[27] By 2017, Venezuela was declared to be in default regarding debt payments by credit rating agencies.[28][29] 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 is a charter member of the UN, Organization of American States (OAS), Union of South American Nations (UNASUR), ALBA, Mercosur, Latin American Integration Association (LAIA) and Organization of Ibero-American States (OEI).


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