+58 is the dialing code for Venezuela.
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 humanitarian crisis.
- Abbreviationfinder: 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 Environment).
|Cultivated land||24.5 %|
|Land area||912050 km 2|
Population and health
|Population development||1.39 m|
|Urban population (Urbanization)||89 %|
|Death rate||5.31 per 1000 residents|
|Life expectancy: Women||77.83 years|
|Life expectancy: Men||71.4 years|
|Birth rate||19.16 births per 1000 residents|
|Infant mortality||18.91 deaths / 1000 births|
Population Graph Source: Countryaah.com
|Electricity, production||123000 million kWh|
|Energy consumption per inhabitant||2558.3 kg. oil per resident|
|Natural gas, production||21880 million cubic meters|
|Crude oil, production||135 million tons|
|Internet users||47.2 per 100 residents|
|Mobile subscriptions||106 per 100 residents|
|Passenger cars||147 per 1000 residents|
Business and economics
|Unemployment||8.1% of the workforce|
|GDP||16700 per resident|
|Primary occupations||7.3 %|
|Secondary profession||21.8 %|
|Tertiary professions||70.9 %|
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 altitude.
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 state.
On the coast it is often extremely hot and the lowlands are generally warm, while the mountain areas are cooler.
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 residents
Caracas 3,400,000 (with suburbs, Sources: Allcitypopulation.com)
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 underlying causes.
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.