Venezuela is located in northern South America
with a coast towards the Caribbean Sea. The country's
oil reserves are among the largest in the world and the
oil dominates the economy. For a long time, Venezuela
appeared unusually stable and prosperous for the region.
But a "socialist revolution" in the early 2000s was
followed by neglect that triggered an acute economic and
Brief profiles of Venezuela, including geography, history, politics, economics as well as common acronyms about this country.
Geography and climate
Venezuela is located on the coast of South
America towards the Caribbean Sea in the north and is
about twice the size of Sweden. Geographically, it can
be divided into four regions: the fertile lowlands
around Lake Maracaibo, the Andean
mountain range with the Andean highlands, the grasslands
inland and the Guiana highlands. Most of them are in the
tropical zone, but the elevation differences cause the
climate to vary.
The shallow Maracaibo lake in the northwest is often
called the continent's largest lake, but is actually a
bay with brackish water. A large part of the country's
oil is produced here (see Natural Resources, Energy and
The part of the Andes that runs south and east of
Lake Maracaibo is called Cordillera de Mérida and has
mountain peaks that reach up to 5,000 meters above sea
level. The highest peak is called Pico Bolívar and is
named after the freedom hero of the same name (see Older
history). East of the lake, the mountain massif consists
of two parallel chains along the coast. The valleys
between them are the country's most densely populated
area; here is the capital Caracas at about 900 meters
Los Llanos (the "plains") is called the prairie-like
area east of the Andes and inside the coast. The plains,
which are sparsely populated and used as pasture, make
up one third of the land area. The Guyanese highlands in
the south and east consist of savanna and rainforest,
and cover half of the country.
Venezuela has over 1,000 rivers. The Orinoco River is
one of the longest in South America. It flows through
the inland plain and culminates in the Atlantic. At the
river's outlet in the northeast there is a large delta
landscape. Along with its tributaries, Orinoco supplies
four-fifths of Venezuela with water.
Venezuela has the world's highest waterfall, the
Angelfall (Salto de Ángel), which is 979 meters high.
Nearly 300 islands are also part of the country. The
largest is the tourist island of Isla de Margarita,
which together with two other islands form their own
On the coast it is often extremely hot and the
lowlands are generally warm, while the mountain areas
The rainy season begins in April-May and lasts until
November. The Venezuelans call the rainy season winter,
while the dry period from December is called summer.
Most rainfall gets the coast in the northeast and driest
it is in the lowlands on the coast in the north.
FACTS - GEOGRAPHY AND CLIMATE
912 050 km2 (2018)
Swedish –5.5 hours
Adjacent country (s)
Colombia, Guyana, Brazil
Capital with number of inhabitants
Caracas 3,400,000 (with suburbs, estimated 2013)
Other major cities
Maracaibo 2,200,000, Maracay 1,700,000, Valencia
1,400,000 (estimated 2013)
Pico Bolívar (5 007 m asl)
Lake Maracaibo, Lake Valencia
Average Precipitation / month
Caracas 8 mm (Jan-April), 145 mm (Aug-Oct)
Average / day
Caracas 22 °C (Jan), 25 °C (May)
Municipal elections are held
Both the government and the opposition call themselves winners when local
elections are held. The ruling party PSUV receives the most votes, but MUD wins
in more municipalities than in the previous elections and also takes home
several important state capitals and four out of five municipalities in Caracas.
Maduro will rule with decrees
The National Assembly gives President Nicolás Maduro the powers to make
decisions by decree for one year. The purpose is stated to be that Maduro will
be able to take power against the corruption and the economic crisis.
The state takes control of the electronics chain
President Nicolás Maduro orders the military to occupy the electronics chain
Daka's stores, which he believes sell his goods at far too high prices. He then
encourages residents to buy the goods at new retail prices. The purpose is to
reduce high inflation. The decisions lead to a public outcry to the stores,
which are in practice taken over by the state.
Venezuela leaves IACHR
Venezuela formally leaves the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR),
when a one-year waiting period has elapsed since the now-departed President Hugo
Chávez applied for resignation. Human rights groups in the country oppose the
decision to leave the court and the opposition alliance MUD calls it a serious
blow to the protection of human rights.
The president says the fire disaster was sabotage
In connection with the anniversary of an explosion in the country's largest
oil refinery, in Amuay on the Paraguaná Peninsula, President Nicolás Maduro
claims that the "desperate" opposition by sabotage caused the disaster that
claimed nearly 50 people's lives. He promises evidence, but no official
investigation has yet been presented. An expert group appointed by the
opposition writes in a report that it was likely a gas leak that triggered the
explosion, and that lack of maintenance and poor corporate governance were the
The Supreme Court rejects election appeals
The Supreme Court rejects the formal appeal made by opposition candidate
Henrique Capriles to the results of the April presidential election. The
opposition has not presented sufficient evidence that cheating has occurred, the
court noted. Earlier, the electoral authority CNE announced that a survey of 46
percent of the electronically cast votes did not indicate any errors. The review
was conducted at the request of recalculation of Capriles. He has claimed that
CNE is controlled by the government party.
Million loans for the purchase of hygiene items
The National Assembly decides on a loan of $ 79 million to the Ministry of
Commerce, for the purchase of 39 million rolls of paper and also soap and
toothpaste. The lack of toilet paper has become a symbol of the difficulties in
supplying the country's population with important basic commodities. The
Catholic Church reports shortly thereafter that the Lord's Supper is about to
end, in yet another example of the commodity shortage.
Maduro wins presidential election
Nicolás Maduro barely wins in the presidential election announced after Hugo
Chávez's death in March. Maduro gets 51 percent of the vote against 49 percent
of opposition candidate Henrique Capriles who is re-elected (see October
2012). This represents a difference of around 265,000 of nearly 15
million votes cast. The victory margin is significantly smaller than opinion
polls pointed out. The turnout is 78.7 percent. Maduro has described himself as
Chávez's heir and promised to push forward the socialist revolution. He has
accused the opposition of planning, in consultation with right-wing forces
abroad, to murder him. The government has also accused foreign forces of causing
Chávez's death through poisoning.
President Chávez dies
Vice President Nicolás Maduro announces that President Hugo Chávez has died
of cancer (see December 2012). Landcare is announced and new
elections are promised within one month.
The currency is written down against the dollar by 32 percent. The official
exchange rate goes from 4.3 to 6.3 bolivars for one dollar. In the black market,
you get up to 25 bolivars for one dollar.
Chávez cannot swear the oath
President Hugo Chávez remains in Cuba and suffers from reports of
complications of a lung infection. He has not appeared in public since the
surgery nearly a month ago. Uncertainty prevails over what will happen if Chávez
is unable to attend the swearing-in ceremony at the planned ceremony. According
to the constitution, new elections must be announced within 30 days if the head
of state is "absolutely absent". A few days before the planned ceremony, the
National Assembly will grant a request to postpone it until further notice.
Mr Cabello re-elected President
As expected, the National Assembly elects Diosdado Cabello as president.
Cabello and Vice President Maduro are believed to be those who in practice
govern the country of Chávez's absence (see December 2012).
They are also seen as potential rivals as Chávez's successor. Former Vice
President Jaua becomes new Foreign Minister.