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Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela[1]
República Bolivariana de Venezuela  (Spanish)
Flag Coat of arms
MottoHistoric: Dios y Federación  (Spanish)
"God and Federation"
AnthemGloria al Bravo Pueblo  (Spanish)
Glory to the Brave People

Capital
(and largest city)
Caracas
10°30′N 66°58′W / 10.5°N 66.967°W / 10.5; -66.967
Official language(s) Spanish[2]
National language Spanish [2]
Ethnic groups  67% Mestizo,
21% White,
1% Amerindian,
9% others (Africans, Arabs, Asians)[citation needed]
Demonym Venezuelan
Government Federal presidential republic
 -  President Hugo Chávez Frías
 -  Vice President Elías Jaua
Independence
 -  from Spain 5 July 1811 
 -  from Gran Colombia 13 January 1830 
 -  Recognized 30 March 1845 
Area
 -  Total 916,445 km2 (33rd)
353,841 sq mi 
 -  Water (%) 0.32[3]
Population
 -  July 2009 estimate 26,814,843 (40th)
 -  2001 census 23,054,985 
 -  Density 30.2/km2 (173rd)
77/sq mi
GDP (PPP) 2008 estimate
 -  Total $359.210 billion[1] (31st)
 -  Per capita $12,806[1] (63rd)
GDP (nominal) 2008 estimate
 -  Total $319.443 billion[1] (31st)
 -  Per capita $11,388[1] (53rd)
Gini (2007) 42.2[2] (high
HDI (2007) 0.844[3] (high) (58th)
Currency Bolívar fuerte[4] (VEF)
Time zone UTC-4:30
Drives on the right
Internet TLD .ve
Calling code +58
^ The "Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela" has been the full official title since the adoption of the new Constitution of 1999, when the state was renamed in honor of Simón Bolívar.
^ The Constitution also recognizes all indigenous languages spoken in the country.
^ Area totals include only Venezuelan-administered territory.
^ On 1 January 2008 a new bolivar, the bolívar fuerte (ISO 4217 code VEF), worth 1,000 VEB, was introduced.
Venezuela (pronounced /ˌvɛnɨˈzweɪlə/ or /ˌvɛnɨˈzwɛlə/; in Spanish pronounced [beneˈswela]), officially titled Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela (Spanish: República Bolivariana de Venezuela), is a tropical country on the northern coast of South America. It is a continental mainland with numerous islands located off its coastline in the Caribbean Sea. The republic won its independence from Spain in 1821.
Venezuela borders Guyana to the east, Brazil to the south, and Colombia to the west. Trinidad and Tobago, Grenada, St. Lucia, Barbados, Curaçao, Bonaire, Aruba, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and the Leeward Antilles lie just north, off the Venezuelan coast. Its size is 912,050 km² with an estimated population of 26,414,816. Its capital is Caracas. The colors of the Venezuelan flag are yellow, blue and red, in that order: the yellow stands for land wealth, the blue for the sea and sky of the country, and the red for the blood shed by the heroes of independence.[4]
Venezuela has territorial disputes with Guyana, largely concerning the Essequibo area, and with Colombia concerning the Gulf of Venezuela. In 1895, after the dispute over the Essequibo River border flared up, it was submitted to a neutral commission (composed of United Kingdom, United States and Russian representatives and without a direct Venezuelan representative), which in 1899 decided mostly against Venezuela's claim.[5] Venezuela is known widely for its petroleum industry, the environmental diversity of its territory, and its natural features. Venezuela is considered to be among the world's 17 most biodiverse countries,[6] featuring diverse wildlife in a variety of protected habitats.
Venezuela is among the most urbanized countries in Latin America;[7][8] the vast majority of Venezuelans live in the cities of the north, especially in the capital Caracas which is also the largest city. Other major cities include Maracaibo, Valencia, Maracay, Barquisimeto, Merida, Barcelona-Puerto La Cruz and Ciudad Guayana.

Contents

Etymology

A palafito, a village or dwelling erected on bodies of water. [9]
In 1498, within the framework of his third voyage, Christopher Columbus sailed near the Orinoco Delta, then interned in the Gulf of Paria. Amazed, Columbus expressed in his moving letter to the Catholic Monarchs that he had reached the heaven on earth (the paradise), and confused by the unusual saltiness of the water, he wrote:
Great signs are these of the Terrestrial Paradise, for the site conforms to the opinion of the holy and wise theologians whom I have mentioned. And likewise, the [other] signs conform very well, for I have never read or heard of such a large quantity of fresh water being inside and in such close proximity to salt water; the very mild temperateness also corroborates this; and if the water of which I speak does not proceed from Paradise then it is an even greater marvel, because I do not believe such a large and deep river has ever been known to exist in this world. [10]
His certainty of having attained Paradise made him name this region Land of Grace, a phrase which has become the country's nickname.
Nevertheless, the following year (1499), an expedition led by Alonso de Ojeda visited the Venezuelan coast. The stilt houses in the area of Lake Maracaibo reminded the navigator Amerigo Vespucci of the city of Venice, (Italian: Venezia), so he named the region "Venezuela,"[11] meaning "little Venice" in Italian. The word has the same meaning in Spanish, where the suffix -zuela is used as a diminutive term (e.g., plaza / plazuela, cazo / cazuela); thus, the term's original sense would have been that of a "little Venice."[12]
Nonetheless, although the Vespucci story remains the most popular and accepted version of the origin of the country's name, a different reason for the name comes up in the account of Martín Fernández de Enciso, a member of the Vespucci and Ojeda crew. In his work Summa de Geografía, he states that they found an indigenous population who called themselves the "Veneciuela," which suggests that the name "Venezuela" may have evolved from the native word.[13]

History

Signing of Venezuela's independence by Martín Tovar y Tovar
Human habitation of Venezuela could have commenced at least 15,000 years ago from which period leaf-shaped tools, together with chopping and plano-convex scraping implements, have been found exposed on the high riverine terraces of the Rio Pedregal in western Venezuela.[14] Late Pleistocene hunting artifacts, including spear tips, have been found at a similar series of sites in northwestern Venezuela known as "El Jobo"; according to radiocarbon dating, these date from 13,000 to 7,000 BC.[15]
Venezuela was first colonized by Spain in 1522 in what is now Cumaná. These portions of eastern Venezuela were incorporated into New Andalusia. Administered by the Audiencia of Santo Domingo since the early 16th century, most of Venezuela became part of the Viceroyalty of New Granada in the early 18th century, and was then reorganized as an autonomous Captaincy General starting in 1776.
In the 16th century, during the Spanish colonization, indigenous peoples such as many of the Mariches, themselves descendants of the Caribs rejected paganism and embraced Roman Catholicism. Some Spaniards treated the natives harshly. Indian caciques (leaders) such as Guaicaipuro and Tamanaco attempted to resist Spanish incursions, but were ultimately defeated; Tamanaco was put to death by order of Caracas' founder Diego de Losada.[16]
After a series of unsuccessful uprisings, Venezuela—under the leadership of Francisco de Miranda, a Venezuelan marshal who had fought in the American Revolution and the French Revolutiondeclared independence on 5 July 1811. This began the Venezuelan War of Independence. However, a devastating earthquake that struck Caracas in 1812, together with the rebellion of the Venezuelan llaneros, helped bring down the first Venezuelan republic.[17] A second Venezuelan republic, proclaimed on 7 August 1813, lasted several months before being crushed as well.
Simón Bolívar, liberator of not only Venezuela, but also Colombia, Panama, Ecuador, Bolivia, and Peru
Sovereignty was only attained after Simón Bolívar, aided by José Antonio Páez and Antonio José de Sucre, won the Battle of Carabobo on 24 June 1821. José Prudencio Padilla and Rafael Urdaneta's victory in the Battle of Lake Maracaibo on 24 July 1823, helped seal Venezuelan independence. New Granada's congress gave Bolívar control of the Granadian army; leading it, he liberated several countries and founded Gran Colombia.
Sucre, who won many battles for Bolívar, went on to liberate Ecuador and later become the second president of Bolivia. Venezuela remained part of Gran Colombia until 1830, when a rebellion led by Páez allowed the proclamation of a newly independent Venezuela; Páez became the first president of the new republic. Two decades of warfare had cost the lives of between a quarter and a third of the Venezuelan population, which in 1830 numbered no more than 800,000.[18]
Much of Venezuela's nineteenth century history was characterized by political turmoil and dictatorial rule.[19] During the first half of the 20th century, caudillos (military strongmen) continued to dominate, though they generally allowed for mild social reforms and promoted economic growth. Following the death of Juan Vicente Gómez in 1935 and the demise of caudillismo (authoritarian rule), pro-democracy movements eventually forced the military to withdraw from direct involvement in national politics in 1958. Since that year, Venezuela has had a series of democratically elected governments.[2]
The discovery of massive oil deposits during World War I prompted an economic boom that lasted into the 1980s; by 1935, Venezuela's per capita gross domestic product was Latin America's highest.[20] After World War II the globalization and heavy immigration from Southern Europe (mainly from Spain, Italy, Portugal) and poorer Latin American countries markedly diversified Venezuelan society.
The huge public spending and accumulation of internal and external debts during the Petrodollar years of the 1970s and early 1980s, followed by the collapse of oil prices during the 1980s, crippled the Venezuelan economy. As the government started to devaluate the currency in February 1983 in order to face its financial obligations, Venezuelans' real standard of living fell dramatically. A number of failed economic policies and increasing corruption in government led to rising poverty and crime, worsening social indicators, and increased political instability.[21]
In February 1992 Hugo Chávez, an army paratrooper, staged a coup d'état attempt seeking to overthrow the government of President Carlos Andrés Pérez. Chávez failed and was placed in jail. In November 1992, another unsuccessful coup attempt occurred, organized by groups loyal to Chávez remaining in the armed forces.[22] Chávez was pardoned in March 1994 by president Rafael Caldera, with a clean slate and his political rights intact.
In 1998, Chávez was elected president after a vigorous campaign, in contrast with the feeble discourse of the weakened traditional parties' candidates.[22] His reform program, which he later called the "Bolivarian Revolution", was aimed at redistributing the benefits of Venezuela's oil wealth to the lower socio-economic groups by using it to fund programs such as health care and education, but has encountered great criticism by the previous establishment. In April 2002 he suffered a coup d'état.[23] He was returned to power after two days as a result of popular demonstrations in his favour and actions by the military.[24] Chávez has also survived an all-out national strike that lasted more than two months in December 2002 – February 2003, including a strike/lockout in the state oil company PDVSA, and a recall referendum in August 2004. He was elected for another term in December 2006.

Economy

* Sources: WDI/World Bank. GDP and GDP per capita is in year 2000 VEB, adjusted for inflation. Unemployment data for 2005 is the CIA World Factbook estimate. 1 trillion = 1,000,000,000,000. The vertical scales do not start at 0 to make more details visible. Oil production figures from IEA in millions of barrels per day.
The 20 Venezuelan bolívar fuerte banknote featuring a portrait of Luisa Cáceres de Arismendi.
The petroleum sector dominates Venezuela mixed economy, accounting for roughly a third of GDP, around 80% of exports and more than half of government revenues. Gold, diamonds and iron ore are mined as well. Venezuela contains some of the largest oil and natural gas reserves in the world. It consistently ranks among the top ten crude oil producers in the world.[25]
The country's main petroleum deposits are located around and beneath Lake Maracaibo, the Gulf of Venezuela (both in Zulia), and in the Orinoco River basin (eastern Venezuela), where the country's largest reserve is located. Venezuela has the least expensive petrol in the world because of its high government subsidies.
Inflation has been a problem. It was expected to slow to 26% annually in 2009, according to the president of the national bank, Nelson Merentes.[26]

Personal income

Per capita GDP for 2008 was US$13,500, ranking it 84th in the world.[27] About 30 % of the population of the country live on less than US$ 2 per day.[28]

Petroleum and other resources

When oil was discovered at the Maracaibo strike in 1922, Venezuela's dictator Juan Vicente Gómez allowed Americans to write Venezuela's petroleum law.[29] But oil history was made in 1943 when Standard Oil of New Jersey accepted a new agreement in Venezuela based on the 50–50 principle, "a landmark event."[30]
Terms even more favorable to Venezuela were negotiated in 1945, after a coup brought to power a left-leaning government that included Juan Pablo Pérez Alfonso. In 1958 a new government again included Pérez Alfonso, who devised a plan for the international oil cartel that would become OPEC.[31] In 1973 Venezuela voted to nationalize its oil industry outright, effective 1 January 1976, with Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) taking over and presiding over a number of holding companies; in subsequent years, Venezuela built a vast refining and marketing system in the U.S. and Europe.[32]
The Venezuelan oil producer PDVSA wholly owns its United States based subsidiary, Citgo and attributes a large percentage of its wealth to oil sales from the United States
Economic prospects remain highly dependent on oil prices and the export of petroleum. A founding member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), Venezuela reasserted its leadership within the organization during its year as OPEC's president, hosting the organization's Second Leadership Conference in 40 years, as well as having its former Minister of Energy, Alvaro Silva Calderon, appointed as Secretary General.
The collapse of oil prices in 1997–98 prompted the Rodriguez administration to expand OPEC-inspired production cuts in an effort to raise world oil prices. In 2002, this sector accounted for roughly a quarter of GDP, 73% of export earnings, and about half of central government's operating revenues. Venezuela is the fourth-leading supplier of imported crude and refined petroleum products to the United States.
The Government of Venezuela has opened up much of the hydrocarbon sector to foreign investment, promoting multi-billion dollar investment in heavy oil production, reactivation of old fields, and investment in several petrochemical joint ventures. Almost 60 foreign companies representing 14 different countries participate in one or more aspects of Venezuela's oil sector.
The Venezuelan national oil company Petroleos de Venezuela, S.A. (PDVSA) and foreign oil companies have signed 33 operating contracts for marginal fields in three bidding rounds. New legislation dealing with natural gas and petrochemicals is further opening the sector. A new domestic retail competition law, however, disappointed investors who had been promised market-determined prices.
On 13 November 2001, under the enabling law authorized by the National Assembly, President Chávez enacted the new Hydrocarbons Law, which came into effect in January 2002. This law replaced the Hydrocarbons Law of 1943 and the Nationalization Law of 1975. Among other things, the new law provided that all oil production and distribution activities were to be the domain of the Venezuelan state, with the exception of joint ventures targeting extra-heavy crude oil production. Under the new Hydrocarbons Law, private investors can own up to 49% of the capital stock in joint ventures involved in upstream activities. The new law also provides that private investors may own up to 100% of the capital stock in ventures concerning downstream activities, in addition to the 100% already allowed for private investors with respect to gas production ventures, as previously promulgated by the National Assembly.
During the December 2002-February 2003 all-out national strike where managers and skilled highly paid technicians of PDVSA shut down the plants and left their posts, petroleum production and refining by PDVSA almost ceased. At the same time, many business owners across Venezuela closed down their stores, both actions aimed at ousting Chavez from government. After more than 60 days of getting nowhere the strike died off, and activities eventually were slowly restarted by returning and substitute oil workers. Out of a total of 45,000 PDVSA management and workers, some 19,000 were subsequently dismissed with no compensation; many of whom were managers and highly paid professionals and technicians who thereafter were banned from working in the petroleum industry, even indirectly.

Manufacturing, agriculture, and trade

Venezuela has a newly developed electronics sector, which produces the Vergatario, the worlds cheapest full media mobile phone,[citation needed], with assistance from Chinese electronics company ZTE.
Manufacturing contributed 17% of GDP in 2006. Venezuela manufactures and exports steel, electronics, aluminum, automobiles, textiles, apparel, beverages, and foodstuffs. It produces cement, tires, paper, fertilizer, and assembles cars both for domestic and export markets.[citation needed]
Agriculture accounts for approximately 3% of GDP, 10% of the labor force, and at least one-fourth of Venezuela's land area. Venezuela exports rice, corn, fish, tropical fruit, coffee, beef, and pork. The country is not self-sufficient in most areas of agriculture; Venezuela imports about two-thirds of its food needs. In 2002, U.S. firms exported $347 million worth of agricultural products, including wheat, corn, soybeans, soybean meal, cotton, animal fats, vegetable oils, and other items to make Venezuela one of the top two U.S. markets in South America.
Due to petroleum exports, Venezuela usually posts a trade surplus. In recent years, nonpetroleum exports have been growing rapidly but still constitute only about one-fourth of total exports.[citation needed] The United States is Venezuela's leading trade partner although Brazil is expected to surpass the U.S. by 2011. During 2002, the United States exported $4.4 billion in goods to Venezuela, making it the 25th-largest market for the U.S. Including petroleum products, Venezuela exported $15.1 billion in goods to the U.S., making it its 14th-largest source of goods.[citation needed]

Geography

Venezuela is a country in the north of South America, bordering the Caribbean Sea. It is bounded on the south by Brazil, and on the west by Colombia. Venezuela has a total area of 916,445 square kilometres (353,841 sq mi) and a land area of 882,050 square kilometres (340,560 sq mi), about twice the size of California. Shaped roughly like an inverted triangle, the country has a 2,800 kilometres (1,700 mi) coastline.
With 2,800 kilometres (1,740 mi) of coastline, there is a variety of landscapes. The extreme northeastern extensions of the Andes reach into Venezuela's northwest and continue along the northern Caribbean coast. Pico Bolívar, the nation's highest point at 4,979 metres (16,335 ft), lies in this region. The country's center is characterized by the llanos, which are extensive plains that stretch from the Colombian border in the far west to the Orinoco River delta in the east.
To the south, the dissected Guiana Highlands contains the northern fringes of the Amazon Basin and Angel Falls, the world's highest waterfall as well as tepuis, large table-like mountains. The Orinoco, with its rich alluvial soils, binds the largest and most important river system of the country; it originates in one of the largest watersheds in Latin America. The Caroní and the Apure are other major rivers.
The Insular Region includes all of Venezuela's island possessions: Nueva Esparta and the various Federal Dependencies. The Deltaic System, which forms a triangle covering Delta Amacuro, projects northeast into the Atlantic Ocean.
The country can be further divided into ten geographical areas, some corresponding to climatic and biogeographical regions. In the north are the Venezuelan Andes and the Coro region, a mountainous tract in the northwest, holds several sierras and valleys. East of it are lowlands abutting Lake Maracaibo and the Gulf of Venezuela. The Central Range runs parallel to the coast and includes the hills surrounding Caracas; the Eastern Range, separated from the Central Range by the Gulf of Cariaco, covers all of Sucre and northern Monagas.

Geology

Venezuela's mainland rests on the South American Plate.

Flora and fauna

The araguaney (Tabebuia chrysantha), Venezuela's national tree.
Venezuela lies within the Neotropic ecozone; large portions of the country were originally covered by moist broadleaf forests. One of seventeen megadiverse countries and among the top twenty countries in terms of endemism, some 38% of the over 21,000 plant species are unique to the country; 23% of reptilian and 50% of amphibian species are also endemic.[33]
Venezuela hosts significant biodiversity across habitats ranging from xeric scrublands in the extreme northwest to coastal mangrove forests in the northeast.[19] Its cloud forests and lowland rainforests are particularly rich, for example hosting over 25,000 species of orchids.[34] These include the flor de mayo orchid (Cattleya mossiae), the national flower.
The golden silk orb-weaver is among the more common of Venezuela's arthropods.
Venezuela's national tree is the araguaney, whose characteristic lushness after the rainy season led novelist Rómulo Gallegos to name it «[l]a primavera de oro de los araguaneyes» ("the golden spring of the araguaneyes"). Notable mammals include the giant anteater, jaguar, and the capybara, the world's largest rodent. More than half of Venezuelan avian and mammalian species are found in the Amazonian forests south of the Orinoco.[35]
Manatees, Boto river dolphins, and Orinoco crocodiles, which have been reported to reach up to 6.6 metres (22 ft) in length, are notable aquatic species. Venezuela hosts a total of 1,417 bird species, 48 of which are endemic.[36] Important birds include ibises, ospreys, kingfishers, and the yellow-orange turpial, the national bird.
In recent decades, logging, mining, shifting cultivation, development, and other human activities have posed a major threat to Venezuela's wildlife; between 1990 and 2000, 0.40% of forest cover was cleared annually.[33] In response, federal protections for critical habitat were implemented; for example, 20% to 33% of forested land is protected.[35] The country has a biosphere reserve that is part of the World Network of Biosphere Reserves; five wetlands are registered under the Ramsar Convention.[37] In 2003, 70% of the nation's land was under conservation management in over 200 protected areas, including 43 national parks.[38]

Climate

Snow in Mérida
Though Venezuela is entirely situated in the tropics, its climate varies from humid low-elevation plains, where average annual temperatures range as high as 28 °C (82 °F), to glaciers and highlands (the páramos) with an average yearly temperature of 8 °C (46 °F). Annual rainfall varies between 430 millimetres (17 in) in the semiarid portions of the northwest to 1,000 millimetres (39 in) in the Orinoco Delta of the far east. Most precipitation falls between June and October (the rainy season or "winter"); the drier and hotter remainder of the year is known as "summer", though temperature variation throughout the year is not as pronounced as at temperate latitudes.[19]
The country falls into four horizontal temperature zones based primarily on elevation, having Tropical, Dry, Temperate with Dry Winters, and Polar (Alpine tundra) climates, amongst others.[39][40][41] In the tropical zone—below 800 meters—temperatures are hot, with yearly averages ranging between 26°C and 28°C. The temperate zone ranges between 800 and 2,000 meters with averages from 12°C to 25°C; many of Venezuela's cities, including the capital, lie in this region. Colder conditions with temperatures from 9°C to 11°C are found in the cool zone between 2,000 and 3,000 meters, especially in the venezuelan Andes, where Pastureland and permanent snowfield with yearly averages below 8°C cover land above 3,000 in the high mountain areas known as the páramos.

Subdivisions

Venezuela is divided into 23 states (estados), a capital district (distrito capital) corresponding to the city of Caracas, the Federal Dependencies (Dependencias Federales, a special territory), and Guayana Esequiba (claimed in a border dispute with Guyana). Venezuela is further subdivided into 335 municipalities (municipios); these are subdivided into over one thousand parishes (parroquias). The states are grouped into nine administrative regions (regiones administrativas), which were established in 1969 by presidential decree. Historically, Venezuela has also claimed all Guyanese territory west of the Essequibo River; this 159,500 square kilometres (61,583 sq mi) tract was dubbed Guayana Esequiba or the Zona en Reclamación (the "zone to be reclaimed").[42]
States
Venezuela Division Politica Territorial.svg
 Name Capital
1 Flag of Amazonas Amazonas Puerto Ayacucho
2 Flag of Anzoátegui Anzoátegui Barcelona
3 Flag of Apure Apure San Fernando de Apure
4 Flag of Aragua Aragua Maracay
5 Flag of Barinas Barinas Barinas
6 Flag of Bolívar Bolívar Ciudad Bolívar
7 Flag of Carabobo Carabobo Valencia
8 Flag of Cojedes Cojedes San Carlos
9 Flag of Delta Amacuro Delta Amacuro   Tucupita
10 Flag of Falcón Falcón Coro
11 Flag of Guárico Guárico San Juan De Los Morros      
12 Flag of Lara Lara Barquisimeto
 Name Capital
13 Flag of Mérida Mérida Mérida
14 Banderamiranda.jpg Miranda Los Teques
15 Flag of Monagas Monagas Maturín
16 Flag of Nueva Esparta Nueva Esparta   La Asunción
17 Flag of Portuguesa Portuguesa Guanare
18 Flag of Sucre Sucre Cumaná
19 Flag of Táchira Táchira San Cristóbal  
20 Flag of Trujillo Trujillo Trujillo
21 Flag of Vargas Vargas La Guaira
22 Flag of Yaracuy Yaracuy San Felipe
23 Flag of Zulia Zulia Maracaibo
Dependencies
         Name Capital
   Flag of Venezuelan Federal Dependencies Federal Dependencies (none)
Administrative regions
Venezuela Regiones Administrativas.svg
      Name Subregions
     Andean Barinas, Mérida, Táchira, Trujillo, Páez Municipality of Apure
     Capital Miranda, Vargas, Capital District
     Central Aragua, Carabobo, Cojedes
     Central-Western Falcón, Lara, Portuguesa, Yaracuy
     Guayana Bolívar, Amazonas, Delta Amacuro
     Insular Nueva Esparta, Federal Dependencies
     Llanos Apure (excluding Paez Municipality), Guárico
     North-Eastern Anzoátegui, Monagas, Sucre
     Zulian Zulia

Demographics

Venezuela's birth rate is among the highest in South America, after Bolivia, Paraguay and French Guyana.
Since 1930, Venezuelan census does not contain information about ethnicity so only rough estimates are available. Some 60% of the population are Mestizo defined as a mixture of Europeans and Amerindians, respectively; another 30% are whites, mostly of Spanish, Italian, Portuguese and German descent. Two of the main Amerindian tribes located in the country are the Wayuu, located in the west, in Zulia, and the Timotocuicas, also in the west, in Mérida, in the Andes. Other important groups include Afro-Venezuelans, though their numbers are unclear due to poor census data.[43]
People from the Asian continent, mainly Lebanese and Chinese, make up a small percentage of the population. About 1% of Venezuelans are indigenous.[44] These groups were joined by sponsored migrants from throughout Europe and neighboring parts of South America by the mid-20th century economic boom.
According to the World Refugee Survey 2008, published by the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, Venezuela hosted a population of refugee and asylum seekers from Colombia numbering 252,200 in 2007. 10,600 new asylum seekers entered Venezuela in 2007.[45] Between 500,000 and one million illegal immigrants are estimated to be living in the Venezuela.[46]
About 85% of the population live in urban areas in northern Venezuela; 73% live less than 100 kilometres (62 mi) from the coastline.[47] Though almost half of Venezuela's land area lies south of the Orinoco, only 5% of Venezuelans live there.
The national and official language is Spanish; 31 indigenous languages are also spoken, including Guajibo, Pemon, Warao, Wayuu, and the various Yanomaman languages.

Religion

According to government estimates, 92% of the population is at least nominally Roman Catholic, and the remaining 8% are Protestant, or a member of another religion. The Venezuelan Evangelical Council estimates that Evangelical Protestants constitute 10% of the population.[48]

Government

Executive

The Venezuelan president is elected by a vote with direct and universal suffrage, and is both head of state and head of government. The term of office is six years, and (as of 15 February 2009) a president may be re-elected an unlimited number of times. The president appoints the vice-president and decides the size and composition of the Cabinet and makes appointments to it with the involvement of the legislature. The president can ask the legislature to reconsider portions of laws he finds objectionable, but a simple parliamentary majority can override these objections.

Legislative

The unicameral Venezuelan parliament is the Asamblea Nacional ("National Assembly"). Its 167 deputies, of which three are reserved for indigenous people, serve five-year terms and may be re-elected for a maximum of two additional terms. They are elected by popular vote through a combination of party lists and single member constituencies.
The voting age in Venezuela is 18 and older. Voting is not compulsory.[49]

Judicial

The highest judicial body is the Supreme Tribunal of Justice or Tribunal Supremo de Justicia, whose magistrates are elected by parliament for a single twelve-year term. The National Electoral Council (Consejo Nacional Electoral, or CNE) is in charge of electoral processes; it is formed by five main directors elected by the National Assembly. Supreme Court president Luisa Estela Morales said in December 2009 that Venezuela had moved away from "a rigid division of powers" toward a system characterized by "intense coordination" between the branches of government. Morales clarified that each power must be independent adding that "one thing is separation of powers and another one is division".[50]

Politics

There are currently two major blocs of political parties in Venezuela: the incumbent leftist bloc United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), its major allies Fatherland for All (PPT) and the Communist Party of Venezuela (PCV), and the opposition bloc led by A New Era (UNT) together with its allied parties Project Venezuela, Justice First, Movement for Socialism and others.
Following the fall of Marcos Pérez Jiménez in 1958, Venezuelan politics was dominated by the third-way Christian democratic COPEI and the center-left social democratic Democratic Action (AD) parties; this two-party system was formalized by the puntofijismo arrangement. However, this system has been sidelined following the 1998 election of current President Hugo Chávez, which started what he calls the Bolivarian Revolution.
Most of the political opposition boycotted the 2005 parliamentary election. Consequently, Hugo Chávez's MVR-led bloc secured all 167 seats in the National Assembly. Then, the MVR voted to dissolve itself and join the new United Socialist Party of Venezuela, while Chávez requested that MVR-allied parties merge themselves into it as well. The National Assembly has twice voted to grant Chávez the ability to rule by decree for several months in several broadly defined areas, once in 2000 and again in 2007. This power had only rarely been granted to previous administrations, and then only for extraordinary circumstances and for a short time.[51][52][53] Chavez has established alliance with several Latin American countries which have elected leftist governments, such as Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Honduras and Paraguay.
There is a controversy regarding the independence of justice, the opposition arguing that the justice system is used as a weapon against opponents. The government denies that.[54][55]

Health

University Hospital, Central University of Venezuela
Venezuela has a national universal health care system that is free of charge. The current government has created a program to expand access to health care known as Misión Barrio Adentro.[56][57]
Infant mortality in Venezuela stood at 16 deaths per 1,000 births in 2004, lower than the South American average (by comparison, the U.S. stands at 5 deaths per 1,000 births in 2006).[58][59][60] Child malnutrition (defined as stunting or wasting in children under age five) stands at 17%; Delta Amacuro and Amazonas have the nation's highest rates.[61] According to the United Nations, 32% of Venezuelans lack adequate sanitation, primarily those living in rural areas.[62] Diseases ranging from typhoid, yellow fever, cholera, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, and hepatitis D are present in the country.[63]
In 2009, Chavez requested that the people take three minute showers because of a water shortage. Other sources point to underinvestment as an added problem.[64]
Venezuela has a total of 150 plants for sewage treatment. However still 13% of the population lack access to drinking water but this number seems to be dropping.[65]
Travelers to Venezuela are advised to obtain vaccinations for a variety of diseases including typhoid, yellow fever, cholera, hepatitis A, hepatitis B and hepatitis D.[66] In a cholera epidemic of contemporary times in the Orinoco Delta, Venezuela's political leaders were accused of racial profiling of their own indigenous people to deflect blame from the country's institutions, thereby aggravating the epidemic.[67]
The nation had one of the worst murder rates in the world, 96[68] homicides every 100,000 inhabitants in 2007.[69][70] In 2008, the Interior Minister resigned, apparently because he had failed to change voter perceptions that crime was out of control.[71] In 2008, polls indicated that crime was the number one concern of voters.[72]

Foreign relations

President Hugo Chávez with Russian President Vladimir Putin
Throughout most of the 20th century, Venezuela maintained friendly relations with most Latin American and Western nations. Relations between Venezuela and the United States government worsened in 2002, after the 2002 Venezuelan coup d'état attempt during which the U.S. government recognized the short-lived interim presidency of Pedro Carmona. Correspondingly, ties to various Latin American and Middle Eastern countries not allied to the U.S. have strengthened.
Venezuela seeks alternative hemispheric integration via such proposals as the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas trade proposal and the newly launched pan-Latin American television network teleSUR. The Venezuelan government has also expressed its support for the Russian position on the International recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, which United States and its allies strongly oppose. Venezuela was a proponent of OAS's decision to adopt its Anti-Corruption Convention, and is actively working in the Mercosur trade bloc to push increased trade and energy integration. Globally, it seeks a "multi-polar" world based on strengthened ties among Third World countries.

Military

Venezuelan soldiers in a military parade, holding an AK-103, Venezuelan Army
Su-30MKV of the Venezuelan Air Force
The National Armed Forces of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela (Fuerza Armada Nacional, FAN) are the overall unified military forces of Venezuela. It includes over 129,150 men and women, under Article 328 of the Constitution, in 5 components of Ground, Sea and Air. The components of the National Armed Forces are: the Venezuelan Army, the Venezuelan Navy, the Venezuelan Air Force, the Venezuelan National Guard, and the Venezuelan National Militia
As of 2008, a further 600,000 soldiers were incorporated into a new branch, known as the Armed Reserve. The President of Venezuela is the commander-in-chief of the national armed forces. The main roles of the armed forces are to defend the sovereign national territory of Venezuela, airspace, and islands, fight against drug trafficking, to search and rescue and, in the case of a natural disaster, civil protection. All men that are citizens of Venezuela have a constitutional duty to register for the military at the age of 18, which is the age of majority in Venezuela.

Culture

The joropo, as depicted in a 1912 drawing by Eloy Palacios
Cover of Alma Llanera
Venezuela's heritage, art, and culture have been heavily influenced by the Caribbean context. These elements extend to its historic buildings, architecture,[73] art,[74] landscape, boundaries, and monuments. Venezuelan culture has been shaped by indigenous, Spanish and African influences. Before this period, indigenous culture was expressed in art (petroglyphs), crafts, architecture (shabonos), and social organization. Aboriginal culture was subsequently assimilated by Spaniards; over the years, the hybrid culture had diversified by region.
Venezuelan art was initially dominated by religious motifs but began emphasizing historical and heroic representations in the late 19th century, a move led by Martín Tovar y Tovar. Modernism took over in the 20th century. Notable Venezuelan artists include Arturo Michelena, Cristóbal Rojas, Armando Reverón, Manuel Cabré; the kinetic artists Jesús-Rafael Soto and Carlos Cruz-Diez; and contemporary artist Yucef Merhi.
Venezuelan literature originated soon after the Spanish conquest of the mostly pre-literate indigenous societies; it was dominated by Spanish influences. Following the rise of political literature during the War of Independence, Venezuelan Romanticism, notably expounded by Juan Vicente González, emerged as the first important genre in the region. Although mainly focused on narrative writing, Venezuelan literature was advanced by poets such as Andrés Eloy Blanco and Fermín Toro.
Major writers and novelists include Rómulo Gallegos, Teresa de la Parra, Arturo Uslar Pietri, Adriano González León, Miguel Otero Silva, and Mariano Picón Salas. The great poet and humanist Andrés Bello was also an educator and intellectual. Others, such as Laureano Vallenilla Lanz and José Gil Fortoul, contributed to Venezuelan Positivism.
Carlos Raúl Villanueva was the most important Venezuelan architect of the modern era; he designed the Central University of Venezuela, (a World Heritage Site) and its Aula Magna. Other notable architectural works include the Capitolio, the Baralt Theatre, the Teresa Carreño Cultural Complex, and the General Rafael Urdaneta Bridge.
Indigenous musical styles of Venezuela are exemplified by the groups Un Solo Pueblo and Serenata Guayanesa. The national musical instrument is the cuatro. Typical musical styles and pieces mainly emerged in and around the llanos region, including Alma Llanera (by Pedro Elías Gutiérrez and Rafael Bolivar Coronado), Florentino y el Diablo (by Alberto Arvelo Torrealba), Concierto en la Llanura by Juan Vicente Torrealba, and Caballo Viejo (by Simón Díaz).
The Zulian gaita is also a popular style, generally performed during Christmas. The national dance is the joropo. Teresa Carreño was a world-famous 19th century piano virtuosa. In the last years, Classical Music has had great performances. The Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra has realized excellent presentations in many European concert halls, notably at the 2007 Proms, and has received honors of the public.
Baseball is Venezuela's most popular sport, although football (soccer), spearheaded by the Venezuela national football team, is gaining influence.
Venezuela is well-known for its successions in beauty pageants. Miss Venezuela is a big event in the country, and Venezuela has received 5 Miss World, 6 Miss Universe and 5 Miss International titles.
The World Values Survey has consistently shown Venezuelans to be among the happiest people in the world, with 55% of those questioned saying they were "very happy".[75]

Education

In 2008, 95.2% of the adult population was literate.[citation needed] Net primary school enrollment rate was at 91 % in 2005.[76] Net secondary enrollment rate was at 63 % in 2005.[76] Venezuela has a number of universities.

See also

References

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  2. ^ a b "Venezuela". The World Factbook. CIA. 8 March 2007. https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/ve.html. Retrieved 13 March 2007. 
  3. ^ Human Development Report 2009. The United Nations. Retrieved 5 October 2009
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  10. ^ "Error: no |title= specified when using {{Cite web}}". http://www.escholarship.org/editions/view?docId=ft009nb0cv&doc.view=content&chunk.id=d0e2655&toc.depth=1&anchor.id=0&brand=eschol. 
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  27. ^ [1]
  28. ^ http://hdr.undp.org/en/media/HDI_2008_EN_Tables.pdf
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  30. ^ Yergin, p. 435
  31. ^ Yergin, pp. 510–513
  32. ^ Yergin. p. 767
  33. ^ a b "Venezuela: Overview". Global Forest Watch. http://www.globalforestwatch.org/english/venezuela/. Retrieved 10 March 2007. .
  34. ^ Dydynski & Beech 2004, p. 42
  35. ^ a b Bevilacqua; Cardenas; Flores, AL et al. (2002), "State of Venezuela's forests: A case study of the Guayana Region", World Resources Institute, http://pubs.wri.org/pubs_content_text.cfm?ContentID=1607, retrieved 10 March 2007 .
  36. ^ Lepage, Denis. "Checklist of birds of Venezuela". Bird Checklists of the World. Avibase. http://www.bsc-eoc.org/avibase/avibase.jsp?region=ve&pg=checklist&list=clements. Retrieved 4 May 2007. 
  37. ^ Peck, D (2000). "The Annotated Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance: Venezuela". The Ramsar Convention on Wetlands. Ramsar Convention Secretariat. http://www.ramsar.org/profile/profiles_venezuela.htm. Retrieved 10 March 2007. 
  38. ^ "Biodiversity and Protected Areas—Venezuela" (PDF). EarthTrends Country Profiles. World Resources Institute. 2003. http://earthtrends.wri.org/pdf_library/country_profiles/bio_cou_862.pdf. Retrieved 10 March 2007. 
  39. ^ Warhol, Tom (2006), Tundra, Marshall Cavendish, ISBN 0761421939, 9780761421931, http://books.google.com/books?id=oYUc7o43cuAC&dq=tom+warhol+tundra&hl=es&source=gbs_navlinks_s, retrieved 27 January 2010 . p. 65.
  40. ^ "Gobierno en Línea: Geografía, Clima". gobiernoenlinea.ve. 2009. http://www.gobiernoenlinea.ve/venezuela/perfil_geografia4.html. Retrieved 2009-01-27. 
  41. ^ "The Alpine Biome". http://www.marietta.edu/~biol/biomes/alpine.htm. Retrieved 2009-12-19. 
  42. ^ "El acuerdo de Ginebra del 17 Feb 1996". Ministerio del Poder Popular para Relaciones Exteriores. http://www.mre.gob.ve/metadot/index.pl?id=3870&isa=Category&op=show. Retrieved 1 December 2007. (Spanish)
  43. ^ "Afro-Venezuelans and the Struggle to End Racism". Venezuela Information Office. 2007. http://www.rethinkvenezuela.com/downloads/Afro-Venezuelans.htm. Retrieved 18 January 2008. 
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  49. ^ "Compulsory voting around the world". The Guardian. 4 July 2005. http://politics.guardian.co.uk/apathy/story/0,,1521096,00.html. Retrieved 10 March 2007. 
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  54. ^ Jailing of judge provokes debate in Venezuela
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  58. ^ CNN.com - U.S. death rate
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  76. ^ a b http://hdrstats.undp.org/en/countries/data_sheets/cty_ds_VEN.html

External links


Quotes

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

.Venezuela is a country in on the north-east of the continent of South America.^ (SFC, 9/19/03, p.A2) 1498 Aug 4-1498 Aug 12, Christopher Columbus explored the Gulf of Paria (Venezuela) between Trinidad and South America.
  • Timeline Venezuela 15 September 2009 5:05 UTC timelines.ws [Source type: News]

^ Bolivar, called "the Liberator," was a leader in Venezuela for struggles of national independence in South America.
  • Timeline Venezuela 15 September 2009 5:05 UTC timelines.ws [Source type: News]

^ (WSJ, 11/10/04, p.A8) 1811 Jul 5, Venezuela became the first South American country to declare independence from Spain.
  • Timeline Venezuela 15 September 2009 5:05 UTC timelines.ws [Source type: News]

Venezuela

Sourced

External links


Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

South America : Venezuela
noframe
Location
noframe
Flag
Image:ve-flag.png
Quick Facts
Capital Caracas
Government Federal republic
Currency Bolivar Fuerte (VEF)
Area total: 912,050 km2
land: 882,050 km2
water: 30,000 km2
Population 27,980,218 (2008 est.)
Language Spanish (official), numerous indigenous dialects
Religion Nominally Roman Catholic 96%, Protestant 2%, other 2%
Electricity 120-240/60Hz (US plug)
Calling Code +58
Internet TLD .ve
Time Zone UTC -4.5
.Venezuela is a country in South America.^ The first permanent Spanish settlement in South America--Nuevo Toledo--was established in Venezuela in 1522.
  • Venezuela (07/09) 28 January 2010 1:01 UTC www.state.gov [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]
  • Comparative Criminology | South America - Venezuela 20 September 2009 22:18 UTC www-rohan.sdsu.edu [Source type: Original source]

^ Venezuela protects more than a third of its land area—the highest percentage of any country in North and South America.
  • Venezuela - Search View - MSN Encarta 15 September 2009 5:05 UTC encarta.msn.com [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ (SFC, 9/19/03, p.A2) 1498 Aug 4-1498 Aug 12, Christopher Columbus explored the Gulf of Paria (Venezuela) between Trinidad and South America.
  • Timeline Venezuela 15 September 2009 5:05 UTC timelines.ws [Source type: News]

.Having a shoreline along the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, Venezuela borders Colombia to the west, Guyana to the east and Brazil to the south, and is situated on the major sea and air routes linking North and South America.^ South America, Central America and the Caribbean 2008 .
  • VENEZUELA 15 September 2009 5:05 UTC www.au.af.mil [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ Northern South America, bordering the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, between Colombia and Guyana .
  • CIA - The World Factbook -- Venezuela 20 September 2009 22:18 UTC www.cia.gov [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ Venezuela, along with what are now Colombia, Panama, and Ecuador, was part of the Republic of Gran Colombia until 1830, when Venezuela separated and became a separate sovereign country.
  • Venezuela (07/09) 28 January 2010 1:01 UTC www.state.gov [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

.Off the Venezuelan coast are the Caribbean island states of Aruba, the Netherlands Antilles and Trinidad and Tobago.^ The city of Porlamar was founded on the southeastern coast of Margarita Island off the coast of Venezuela.
  • Timeline Venezuela 15 September 2009 5:05 UTC timelines.ws [Source type: News]

^ Principal trading partners for exports are the United States, The Netherlands (primarily petroleum to the Netherlands Antilles for refining), Brazil, and Colombia.
  • Venezuela - Search View - MSN Encarta 15 September 2009 5:05 UTC encarta.msn.com [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ Venezuela is divided into 23 states; federal dependencies, made up of 72 islands in the Caribbean; and the Federal District, site of Caracas, the national capital.
  • Venezuela - Search View - MSN Encarta 15 September 2009 5:05 UTC encarta.msn.com [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

.The Angel Falls (Churun Meru) in the Guiana Highlands is the world's highest waterfall and one of Venezuela's major tourist attractions.^ Venezuela has a number of tourist attractions, including its long Caribbean coastline, the Andes Mountains, and the world’s highest waterfall (Angel Falls).
  • Venezuela - Search View - MSN Encarta 15 September 2009 5:05 UTC encarta.msn.com [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ Adventure Tourism: Venezuela has many natural attractions, to include the world’s tallest waterfall, Angel Falls.
  • Venezuela 28 January 2010 1:01 UTC travel.state.gov [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ The highest waterfall in the world, Angel Falls, is located in the Gran Sabana.
  • Venezuela - Search View - MSN Encarta 15 September 2009 5:05 UTC encarta.msn.com [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

Understand

.Venezuela is home to the world's highest waterfall, Angel Falls and the second longest river in South America, the Orinoco.^ The highest waterfall in the world, Angel Falls, is located in the Gran Sabana.
  • Venezuela - Search View - MSN Encarta 15 September 2009 5:05 UTC encarta.msn.com [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ North and South America; Angel Falls in the Guiana Highlands is the world's highest waterfall .
  • CIA - The World Factbook -- Venezuela 20 September 2009 22:18 UTC www.cia.gov [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ Adventure Tourism: Venezuela has many natural attractions, to include the world’s tallest waterfall, Angel Falls.
  • Venezuela 28 January 2010 1:01 UTC travel.state.gov [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

It also has the longest coastline to the Caribbean sea. .Venezuela is the world's fifth-largest oil exporter and also has vast untapped reserves of natural gas.^ Natural gas - proved reserves : .
  • CIA - The World Factbook -- Venezuela 20 September 2009 22:18 UTC www.cia.gov [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ Venezuela is the fourth largest exporter of crude oil in the world.
  • Venezuela News 28 January 2010 1:01 UTC afrocubaweb.com [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ G/Gallegos.asp) 1929-1970 Venezuela was the world's largest exporter of oil.
  • Timeline Venezuela 15 September 2009 5:05 UTC timelines.ws [Source type: News]

Terrain

Andes Mountains and Maracaibo Lowlands in northwest; central plains (llanos); Guiana Highlands in southeast
highest point 
Pico Bolivar (La Columna) 5,007 m.

History

.Venezuela was one of the three countries that emerged from the collapse of Gran Colombia in 1830 (the others being Colombia and Ecuador).^ Venezuela was one of three countries that emerged from the collapse of Gran Colombia in 1830 (the others being Ecuador and New Granada, which became Colombia).
  • CIA - The World Factbook -- Venezuela 20 September 2009 22:18 UTC www.cia.gov [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ Colombia, Ecuador and Venezuela became independent countries.
  • Timeline Venezuela 15 September 2009 5:05 UTC timelines.ws [Source type: News]

^ Venezuela, along with what are now Colombia, Panama, and Ecuador, was part of the Republic of Gran Colombia until 1830, when Venezuela separated and became a separate sovereign country.
  • Venezuela (07/09) 28 January 2010 1:01 UTC www.state.gov [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

.For most of the first half of the 20th century, Venezuela was ruled by military strongmen, who promoted the oil industry and allowed for some social reforms.^ 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.
  • CIA - The World Factbook -- Venezuela 20 September 2009 22:18 UTC www.cia.gov [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ Carlos Raúl Villanueva, who explored the structural and expressive possibilities of reinforced concrete, is the best-known Venezuelan architect of the 20th century.
  • Venezuela - Search View - MSN Encarta 15 September 2009 5:05 UTC encarta.msn.com [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ COUNTRY DESCRIPTION: Venezuela is a medium income country whose economy is dominated by a substantial oil industry.
  • Venezuela 28 January 2010 1:01 UTC travel.state.gov [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

Democratically-elected governments have held sway since 1958.

Electricity

.Venezuela uses a 60 Hz and 120 V power system.^ Venezuela has tapped its vast reserves of bitumen to produce liquid coal, an emulsion of bitumen and water principally for use in power plants.
  • Venezuela - Search View - MSN Encarta 15 September 2009 5:05 UTC encarta.msn.com [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

The power plugs are identical to those used in North America (referred to as A and B type power plugs).
Andes
Mountainous and picturesque, this region is made up of the states of Mérida, Táchira and Trujillo
Caribbean Islands
With more than 600 islands or smaller formations, many of the best beaches can be found here
Central
The most populous part of Venezuela enjoys great beaches and big cities, from Caracas and the nearby commuter towns in Miranda and Vargas out to the states of Aragua and Carabobo
Guayana
The immense and largely uninhabited area south of the Orinoco River, which makes up around half of Venezuela's national territory, includes rainforest in Amazonas, table-top mountains in the Gran Sabana and Bolívar state, and the flat marshlands extending out in the Orinoco Delta
Los Llanos
Vast open plains, home to cattle-ranching and amazing wildlife, make up of the states of Apure, Barinas, Cojedes, Guárico and Portuguesa
Northeast
Stunning deserted beaches in Anzoátegui and Sucre, as well as hills and caves in Monagas state
.
.Northwest
Rich with oil from Zulia state, the northwest also boasts more beaches in Falcón and a lush agricultural countryside in Yaracuy and Lara.^ When Chavez announced a plan to distribute the state's oil revenue more equitably, all hell broke loose.
  • Venezuela News 28 January 2010 1:01 UTC afrocubaweb.com [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

  • Caracas - Being the capital and the largest city in Venezuela, Caracas is known for being one of the most cosmopolitan and modern cities in South America.^ The country’s capital and largest city is Caracas.
    • Venezuela - Search View - MSN Encarta 15 September 2009 5:05 UTC encarta.msn.com [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

    ^ For Galeano is one of the most well-known and celebrated writers in Latin America, up there with Gabriel Garca Mrquez, and his huge output of fact and fiction, as well as his journalism, has been published all over the continent.
    • Venezuela News 28 January 2010 1:01 UTC afrocubaweb.com [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

    ^ The first permanent Spanish settlement in South America--Nuevo Toledo--was established in Venezuela in 1522.
    • Venezuela (07/09) 28 January 2010 1:01 UTC www.state.gov [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]
    • Comparative Criminology | South America - Venezuela 20 September 2009 22:18 UTC www-rohan.sdsu.edu [Source type: Original source]

    .There are lots of places to visit, such as theaters, malls, museums, art galleries, parks, well-conserved colonial architectures and even gastronomic restaurants.
  • Coro - The first capital of Venezuela and a city of rich colonial architecture, a unique natural scenery and tourist attractiveness.^ The first decisive attempt by a Spanish American colony to gain independence from Spain was made by Venezuela.
    • Venezuela - Search View - MSN Encarta 15 September 2009 5:05 UTC encarta.msn.com [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

    ^ Venezuela, which was regarded as one of the less profitable colonies of Spain, lacks the splendors of Spanish architecture that are found in other South American countries.
    • Venezuela - Search View - MSN Encarta 15 September 2009 5:05 UTC encarta.msn.com [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

    ^ Ciudad Guayana, a city founded in an area rich in natural resources, became a major industrial center.
    • Venezuela - Search View - MSN Encarta 15 September 2009 5:05 UTC encarta.msn.com [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

    Its historical downtown is considered as a cultural World Heritage Site.
  • Ciudad Bolivar - Stop-off point for flights to Angel Falls, and a comfortable stopover to Brazil.
  • Ciudad Guayana - Dominated by heavy industry, it is Venezuela´s most organized city and the main gateway to the Orinoco Delta and the Gran Sabana.
  • Maracaibo - Venezuela's second city, swelteringly hot and built on oil.
  • Maracay - Once the capital of Venezuela, now home to the main military garrison.
  • Mérida - A charming university town in the Andes mountains, popular for outdoor activities.
  • Puerto La Cruz - The city to go to if you want to visit the beaches in Eastern Venezuela.
  • San Cristóbal - A leafy industrious city in the Andes mountains, bordering Colombia.
  • Valencia - An affluent industrial city.
Laguna Sinamaica

Get in

.Citizens of the following countries may not require a visa to visit Venezuela for tourist purposes only for up to 90 days (a tourist-card will be issued instead): Andorra, Antigua & Barbuda, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Barbados, Belgium, Belize, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Denmark, Dominica, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Grenada, Hong Kong, Iceland, Iran (max.^ ENTRY/EXIT REQUIREMENTS: A valid passport and a visa or tourist card are required.
  • Venezuela 28 January 2010 1:01 UTC travel.state.gov [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ The signers include leading academic specialists from universities in the United States, including Harvard, Johns Hopkins, and a number of state universities, and academic institutions in Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Mxico, the U.K., Venezuela and other countries.
  • Venezuela News 28 January 2010 1:01 UTC afrocubaweb.com [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ If documents are prepared in Venezuela, only notarization by a Venezuelan notary is required.
  • Venezuela 28 January 2010 1:01 UTC travel.state.gov [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

15 days), Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Lithuania, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Mexico, Monaco, Netherlands, Netherlands Antilles, Nevis, New Zealand, Norway, Paraguay, Portugal, Russia, San Marino, Spain, St. Kitts, St. Lucia, St. Vincent & The Grenadines, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Trinidad & Tobago, United States of America and Uruguay. .Business travellers almost invariably require a visa to be issued before entry.^ ENTRY/EXIT REQUIREMENTS: A valid passport and a visa or tourist card are required.
  • Venezuela 28 January 2010 1:01 UTC travel.state.gov [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

In Caracas, passengers pass through immigration in the recently refurbished arrivals hall before going to baggage claim. Officers will check your passport and may ask questions. If a customs officer or anyone asks about your purpose of visit, tell them you are only there to visit, tourism. At baggage claim you will be required to match the baggage sticker on your flight ticket to the bar code on your bag before you hand over your tax form to customs officials.
There will be many individuals who approach you after your arrival offering assistance with locating a taxi or trading currency. It is best to not interact with anyone who approaches you. Even airport officials with proper identification may attempt to lead you to other areas of the airport to trade currency on the black market. .When taking a taxi from the airport, always settle on a price before getting into the cab, and only use taxis that have the official yellow oval seal.^ Travelers should take care to use radio-dispatched taxis or those from reputable hotels.
  • Venezuela 28 January 2010 1:01 UTC travel.state.gov [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

Vaccinations
.Some airlines ask passengers to show a valid Yellow fever vaccination certificate before flying to Venezuela.^ Colombian rebels freed 8 passengers Aug 9 and allowed the pilot and co-pilot to fly the plane back to Venezuela.
  • Timeline Venezuela 15 September 2009 5:05 UTC timelines.ws [Source type: News]

^ Venezuela has a number of passenger airlines based in the country.
  • Venezuela - Search View - MSN Encarta 15 September 2009 5:05 UTC encarta.msn.com [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ (AP, 2/9/06) 2006 Feb 23, Venezuela said it will prohibit Continental and Delta Airlines from flying into this South American nation.
  • Timeline Venezuela 15 September 2009 5:05 UTC timelines.ws [Source type: News]

.This is not an official entry requirement, however the CDC Yellow fever vaccination recommendation is "for all travellers over 9 months of age travelling to Venezuela, except the northern coastal area.^ Travelers entering Venezuela from certain countries are required to have a current yellow fever vaccination certificate.
  • Venezuela 28 January 2010 1:01 UTC travel.state.gov [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ The Venezuelan Ministry of Health recommends the Yellow Fever vaccine for those travelers departing Venezuela, whose final destination is a country that requires that vaccine.
  • Venezuela 28 January 2010 1:01 UTC travel.state.gov [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ The U.S. Embassy must approve in advance the official travel to Venezuela of all U.S. Government personnel.
  • Venezuela 28 January 2010 1:01 UTC travel.state.gov [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

The cities of Caracas and Valencia are not in the endemic zone." .A valid measles vaccination certificate may be required to board flights out of the country following a nationwide immunisation program in 2006, but foreign tourists are usually exempted.^ It may be the case that countries you pass through en route to your destination may require a separate transit visa.
  • Venezuela Visa : Application, Requirements. Apply for Venezuelan Visas Online. 28 January 2010 1:01 UTC venezuela.visahq.com [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ FOREIGN RELATIONS President Chávez has promoted his "Bolivarian Revolution" as a model for other countries to follow.
  • Venezuela (07/09) 28 January 2010 1:01 UTC www.state.gov [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ Foreign Affairs 85:45-59 May-June 2006.
  • VENEZUELA 15 September 2009 5:05 UTC www.au.af.mil [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

.The main international airport is Simon Bolivar International Airport (locally known as Maiquetia airport) located in the Vargas state.^ The main international airport is located in Caracas with others located in major cities such as Maracaibo and Barcelona.
  • Venezuela - Search View - MSN Encarta 15 September 2009 5:05 UTC encarta.msn.com [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

It is approximately a 30-minute ride from Caracas. Buses are available during the day, departing from Parque Central next to Calle del Sur. Buses run from 7AM until 6PM, and cost 18BsF per passenger. A taxi ride from the airport will cost Bs. .150000 (BsF. 150)/ US$70 (official exchange rate) and US$28 (unofficial exchange rate) during the day, or Bs.^ This exchange control regime fixed the U.S. dollar exchange rate at Bs.
  • Comparative Criminology | South America - Venezuela 20 September 2009 22:18 UTC www-rohan.sdsu.edu [Source type: Original source]

^ The national budget for 2005 assumes that the new official exchange rate will be 2,150/USD, representing a devaluation of 12%.
  • Comparative Criminology | South America - Venezuela 20 September 2009 22:18 UTC www-rohan.sdsu.edu [Source type: Original source]

^ There is a legal alternative exchange market (called the parallel or “permuta” market), accessed through a bond swap mechanism; this unofficial exchange rate is far higher.
  • Venezuela (07/09) 28 January 2010 1:01 UTC www.state.gov [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

.200000 (BsF 200) / US$93 (official exchange rate) and US$37 (unofficial rate) at night.^ There is a legal alternative exchange market (called the parallel or “permuta” market), accessed through a bond swap mechanism; this unofficial exchange rate is far higher.
  • Venezuela (07/09) 28 January 2010 1:01 UTC www.state.gov [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ As official foreign exchange liquidations have increased over the course of 2004, the exchange rate in the quasi-legal parallel market has decreased.
  • Comparative Criminology | South America - Venezuela 20 September 2009 22:18 UTC www-rohan.sdsu.edu [Source type: Original source]

^ Foreign exchange transactions must take place through exchange houses or commercial banks at the official rate.
  • Venezuela 28 January 2010 1:01 UTC travel.state.gov [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

.There are international flights to Maracaibo and Valencia, but the choices are very limited.^ Although Venezuela's role in the international drug trade was limited in 1990 to the transshipment of drugs and precursor chemicals, there were signs that this role was expanding.
  • Comparative Criminology | South America - Venezuela 20 September 2009 22:18 UTC www-rohan.sdsu.edu [Source type: Original source]

You can travel non stop from the US and most major European cities.
Continental Airlines links Caracas to Houston daily Newark weekly. .American Airlines offers daily flights from Miami, San Juan, Dallas and New York.^ Travelers may also contact the Venezuelan consulates in Boston,Chicago, Houston, Miami, New Orleans, New York, San Francisco, or San Juan .
  • Venezuela 28 January 2010 1:01 UTC travel.state.gov [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ Miami Herald Miami Herald Cuba News Newstrove: Venezuela News Search South America Daily .
  • Venezuela News 28 January 2010 1:01 UTC afrocubaweb.com [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ In addition to Washington, DC, Venezuela maintains consulates in Boston, Chicago, Houston, Miami, New Orleans, New York, San Francisco, and Puerto Rico.
  • Venezuela (07/09) 28 January 2010 1:01 UTC www.state.gov [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

Delta Airlines offers a daily flight from Atlanta. Air Canada offers a direct flight from Toronto four times a week.
From Europe, there are non stop flights from Paris (Air France), Rome and Milan (Alitalia), Madrid (Iberia, Air Europa, CONVIASA, Santa Barbara), Tenerife (Santa Barbara), Santiago de Compostela (Air Europa -Seasonal Service-), Frankfurt (Lufthansa) and Lisbon and Oporto (TAP).
.Aeropostal, CONVIASA, Avianca, Copa Airlines, TACA, Lloyd, LAN Chile and Aerolineas Argentinas provide flights to the rest of Central America and South America.^ South America, Central America and the Caribbean 2008 .
  • VENEZUELA 15 September 2009 5:05 UTC www.au.af.mil [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ The South American summit was attended by the presidents of Chile, Bolivia, Peru, Paraguay, Ecuador, Venezuela, Brazil and Argentina.
  • Timeline Venezuela 15 September 2009 5:05 UTC timelines.ws [Source type: News]

Copa Airlines has a daily service from Caracas and Maracaibo to Panama and connections to all South America, Central America and USA.
American airlines has a daily service from Maracaibo to USA.
For international departures (at Maiquetia Airport), the airport tax is Bs. .137.00 / US$53.49 (official exchange rate) and US$23 (unofficial exchange rate) and a departure tax Bs.^ This exchange control regime fixed the U.S. dollar exchange rate at Bs.
  • Comparative Criminology | South America - Venezuela 20 September 2009 22:18 UTC www-rohan.sdsu.edu [Source type: Original source]

^ The national budget for 2005 assumes that the new official exchange rate will be 2,150/USD, representing a devaluation of 12%.
  • Comparative Criminology | South America - Venezuela 20 September 2009 22:18 UTC www-rohan.sdsu.edu [Source type: Original source]

^ There is a legal alternative exchange market (called the parallel or “permuta” market), accessed through a bond swap mechanism; this unofficial exchange rate is far higher.
  • Venezuela (07/09) 28 January 2010 1:01 UTC www.state.gov [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

.46 / US$21.4 (official exchange rate) and US$9.2 (unofficial exchange rate).^ There is a legal alternative exchange market (called the parallel or “permuta” market), accessed through a bond swap mechanism; this unofficial exchange rate is far higher.
  • Venezuela (07/09) 28 January 2010 1:01 UTC www.state.gov [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ As official foreign exchange liquidations have increased over the course of 2004, the exchange rate in the quasi-legal parallel market has decreased.
  • Comparative Criminology | South America - Venezuela 20 September 2009 22:18 UTC www-rohan.sdsu.edu [Source type: Original source]

^ (WSJ, 4/27/98, p.A16) 1994 Financial controls were imposed on Venezuela’s currency and the exchange rate was set to 170 to the US dollar.
  • Timeline Venezuela 15 September 2009 5:05 UTC timelines.ws [Source type: News]

These taxes are paid at the airport, although many airline tickets might include these taxes. Currently, only American Airlines is allowed to charge the airport tax with the ticket purchase. All other international carriers do not have the capacity to include this tax in their ticket price. It is a good idea to keep at least $50.00 US on hand when departing from Venezuela. .If the fees increase, or you are required to pay both the airport and departure tax, you can head into the main lobby area where many businessmen will eagerly buy fifty dollars for 250 bolivares fuertes, plenty to pay the bill.^ Military_career_of_Hugo_Ch%C3%A1vez)(WSJ, 6/12/03, p.A10) 1983 It took Venezuelan 4.3 bolivars to buy one US dollar.
  • Timeline Venezuela 15 September 2009 5:05 UTC timelines.ws [Source type: News]

^ (SFC, 2/3/99, p.A9)(SFC, 6/14/99, p.A12) 1999 Feb 26, It took 578 bolivars to buy on US dollar.
  • Timeline Venezuela 15 September 2009 5:05 UTC timelines.ws [Source type: News]

If you are stuck without cash, you can ask the Canada Air employees to charge your credit card and provide you with cash to pay the airport tax. Ask for 'efectivo' when employing this strategy.
For domestic flights (at Maiquetia Airport), the airport tax is Bs. .23 (BsF. 23) Aeropostal Alas de Venezuela, Santa Bárbara Airlines, Avior Airlines, Conviasa and Aserca Airlines are the major domestic airlines in Venezuela.^ Major domestic human rights NGOs that operated independently from the government included SUMATE, COFAVIC, PROVEA, Red de Apoyo, and the Venezuelan Prison Observatory.
  • Venezuela 28 January 2010 1:01 UTC www.state.gov [Source type: Original source]

^ (AP, 2/9/06) 2006 Feb 23, Venezuela said it will prohibit Continental and Delta Airlines from flying into this South American nation.
  • Timeline Venezuela 15 September 2009 5:05 UTC timelines.ws [Source type: News]

By car

.Venezuela has road links with Colombia and Brazil.^ Chavez said Venezuela will search for other countries like Ecuador, Brazil and Argentina to replace products imported from Colombia.
  • Timeline Venezuela 15 September 2009 5:05 UTC timelines.ws [Source type: News]

^ Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru, Suriname, and Venezuela signed the Amazon Pact, a Brazilian initiative designed to coordinate the joint development of the Amazon Basin.
  • Timeline Venezuela 15 September 2009 5:05 UTC timelines.ws [Source type: News]

.The road crossing to Brazil, not far from the frontier town of Santa Elena de Uairén, is a long way from most tourist destinations in Venezuela and so not a common point of entry.^ Most destinations, including Venezuela, require that you have adequate un-used pages in your passport, allowing for any necessary stamps upon arrival and departure.
  • Venezuela Visa : Application, Requirements. Apply for Venezuelan Visas Online. 28 January 2010 1:01 UTC venezuela.visahq.com [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ In addition, boats carrying drug shipments from Colombia pass through Venezuela's territorial waters on their way to Caribbean transshipment points.
  • Comparative Criminology | South America - Venezuela 20 September 2009 22:18 UTC www-rohan.sdsu.edu [Source type: Original source]

Border controls are tight and all travelers arriving from Boa Vista are expected to have visas. The Venezuelan consulate in Boa Vista is on Av Benjamin Constant.
.Venezuela's main connection with Colombia is from Cúcuta to Venezuela's frontier town of San Antonio del Táchira, which itself is about 50 km from the busy Andean city of San Cristóbal.^ Venezuela is a major transit country for cocaine processed in Colombia and other Andean source countries.
  • Comparative Criminology | South America - Venezuela 20 September 2009 22:18 UTC www-rohan.sdsu.edu [Source type: Original source]

.For a day visit to Cúcuta no visa documents are required but border controls are otherwise very tight with frequent searches.^ Tourist visa not required Business visa required Official visa required Venezuela tourist visa is not required for citizens of United States for a stay up to 90 days.
  • Venezuela Visa : Application, Requirements. Apply for Venezuelan Visas Online. 28 January 2010 1:01 UTC venezuela.visahq.com [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

The border area can be dangerous and visitors are advised to pass through quickly.

Get around

Travelers in Venezuela are obliged to carry identification. There are military checkpoints on many roads, so while travelling by car or bus keep your passport handy, ideally you should keep a colour photocopy of your passport. Should your passport be stolen, this will facilitate procedures with your local consulate. The military presence is constant, yet is not usually cause for concern. That having been said, there are corrupt officials. It is wise to keep a close eye on your belongings when, for instance, bags are being checked for drugs. A soldier of the Guardia Nacional sometimes plants drugs to solicit a bribe or steal valuables. .Penalties for drug use are severe, and the burden of proof falls on the accused, the police may also demand bribes using the same modus operandi.^ In May the Supreme Tribunal of Justice's Judicial Committee removed approximately 50 judges (some tenured and some provisional) in several states and Caracas, accusing them of complicity with drug traffickers and other irregularities.
  • Venezuela 28 January 2010 1:01 UTC www.state.gov [Source type: Original source]

.There is no national railway system in Venezuela, which leaves three options for travel inside the country: car rental, using buses, and using cars-for-hire.^ There was no evidence that Venezuela was a major drugproducing country in 1990, but some marijuana was grown along the Sierra de Perija, in the northwestern part of Venezuela along the border with Colombia.
  • Comparative Criminology | South America - Venezuela 20 September 2009 22:18 UTC www-rohan.sdsu.edu [Source type: Original source]

^ Almost the entire private banking system had to be nationalized at a cost of $8.5 billion, equivalent to three-quarters of the national budget.
  • Timeline Venezuela 15 September 2009 5:05 UTC timelines.ws [Source type: News]

^ There were no indigenous members in the cabinet and none of the national assembly vice presidents was an indigenous person.
  • Venezuela 28 January 2010 1:01 UTC www.state.gov [Source type: Original source]

.Drivers in Venezuela are generally aggressive and unconcerned by traffic regulations.^ In addition to national traffic control, the Traffic Police were responsible for issuing and regulating drivers' licenses and for determining public transportation routes and services.
  • Comparative Criminology | South America - Venezuela 20 September 2009 22:18 UTC www-rohan.sdsu.edu [Source type: Original source]

The traffic in Venezuela is very bad, the drivers are crazy and all drivers want to be the first. Thus, car rental is not recommended in general. The very cheap price of gas, however, makes this option fairly economical. The expensive part of renting a car will be the insurance. The fuel price for 95 oct fuel unleaded is 0.097 BsF/liter, at official exchange, about US$0.045/liter. About US$0.18/gallon.
Do not underestimate the sheer chaos of Venezuela's traffic. .The often ignored road rules state that you must drive on the right unless overtaking and give way to traffic coming on to a roundabout.^ Moore, Robert B. Latin America's Left Turn: Is Chavez Driving and What Can the United States Do to "Right" the Ship .
  • VENEZUELA 15 September 2009 5:05 UTC www.au.af.mil [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

Drivers frequently top 160 km/h (100 mph) on intercity highways. Laws requiring car occupants to wear seat belts is are not always complied with.
Traffic lights are often ignored, especially in the night, the reason here for is not just impatience, but drivers don't like to stop the car as they can be robbed while standing still.
Be aware also that motorcycles are sometimes seen transporting up to five people, sans helmets.
.When approaching a crosswalk in Venezuela, it is important to remember that pedestrians do not have the right of the way as they do in the U.S. and many European countries.^ Like many other Latin American countries, Venezuela's codes have been strongly influenced by foreign legislation.
  • Comparative Criminology | South America - Venezuela 20 September 2009 22:18 UTC www-rohan.sdsu.edu [Source type: Original source]

If you slow down or stop at a crosswalk to allow a pedestrian to cross, you could cause an accident with unsuspecting motorists or with cars.
.The bus system is extensive and extremely affordable (in part due to the low price of gas).^ Indigenous people traditionally were not integrated fully into the political system due to low voter turnout, geographic isolation, and limited economic and educational opportunities.
  • Venezuela 28 January 2010 1:01 UTC www.state.gov [Source type: Original source]

Bus terminals are hectic, but it is usually easy to find a bus to any major city leaving within a short amount of time. .Short bus rides (2 hours) may cost 15 BsF (15.000 Bs old) (about US$7 at official exchange and US$3 at unofficial exchange rate)), and even extremely long bus rides (9 hours) will only cost 50 BsF to 60 BsF per person (equal to about $23 or US$28 at official exchange or US$9 and 11 at unofficial exchange rate).^ "Reports on the plan of Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez to ask the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries to set long-term global oil prices at US$50 per barrel in Venezuela in 2006."
  • VENEZUELA 15 September 2009 5:05 UTC www.au.af.mil [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ Overtime may not exceed 2 hours daily, 10 hours weekly, or 100 hours annually, and may not be paid at a rate less than time-and-one-half.
  • Venezuela 28 January 2010 1:01 UTC www.state.gov [Source type: Original source]

^ This exchange control regime fixed the U.S. dollar exchange rate at Bs.
  • Comparative Criminology | South America - Venezuela 20 September 2009 22:18 UTC www-rohan.sdsu.edu [Source type: Original source]

The larger buses are typically air-conditioned. In fact, they are usually overly air-conditioned, so it is worth bringing a blanket with you. Buses are an easy and convenient way to get around the country. However, proper security awareness should be exercised as robberies occasionally take place on buses in both cities and on highways. It is best to choose bus lines that use a metal detector and bag check to insure no passengers are carrying weapons of any kind.
If you decide to travel by bus a good option is 'Aeroexpresos Ejecutivos' they have their own terminal in a residential zone of Caracas (Chacao, Bello Campo) ( [1] ), baggage is checked on the buses (as in an airport). .The units are clean, safe and well maintained, plus the drivers are trained to respect the speed limit (there are many accidents on regular buses on Venezuelan highways, most of them caused by speeding on poorly maintained roads).^ The Metropolitan Police Force, which maintained a Police Academy in El Junquito near Caracas, were comparatively well trained.
  • Comparative Criminology | South America - Venezuela 20 September 2009 22:18 UTC www-rohan.sdsu.edu [Source type: Original source]

^ (AP, 8/20/03) 2003 Sep 9, In western Venezuelan 2 passengers buses crashed in separate highway accidents, killing 45 people and injuring dozens of others.
  • Timeline Venezuela 15 September 2009 5:05 UTC timelines.ws [Source type: News]

.They are more expensive than a regular bus, but still cheap by American/European standards.^ The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia is thought to still hold more than 700 others.
  • Timeline Venezuela 15 September 2009 5:05 UTC timelines.ws [Source type: News]

You may pay with credit card and buy tickets in advance by phone. Aeroexpresos offers slightly more expensive options for many long routes that include semi-cama seating, chairs that recline extra, and allow for more comfortable sleeping on overnight trips.
For smaller towns, there may not be regular buses. In such cases, one can use cars-for-hire, called "por puestos." These are typically old and run-down vehicles, but they are affordable. .They are more expensive than buses, typically costing 15,000 Bs per person for a one or two hour ride (about $8 US).^ Overtime may not exceed 2 hours daily, 10 hours weekly, or 100 hours annually, and may not be paid at a rate less than time-and-one-half.
  • Venezuela 28 January 2010 1:01 UTC www.state.gov [Source type: Original source]

^ Those under 16 years of age may by law work no more than 6 hours per day or 30 hours per week.
  • Venezuela 28 January 2010 1:01 UTC www.state.gov [Source type: Original source]

^ In the mid-1980s, the annual average prison population was about 15,000, exceeding the intended capacity of the system.
  • Comparative Criminology | South America - Venezuela 20 September 2009 22:18 UTC www-rohan.sdsu.edu [Source type: Original source]

The main problem is that they typically wait to have a full car (4 or 5 passengers) before undertaking a route. The driver will usually try to convince you to pay for the extra passengers if you want to leave right away. The cars are popular, however, and one does not usually wait long for a car to fill up. Por puestos are identifiable by signage bearing the name of the streets or destinations they typically drive along or stop at. Avoid traveling alone in a por puesto and avoid 'piratas,' inauthentic, unofficial taxis that may intend to rob foreigners.
Travel within cities is usually via taxi. .Taxis are more expensive than any other form of transport, but still affordable when compared to North American or European equivalents.^ The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia is thought to still hold more than 700 others.
  • Timeline Venezuela 15 September 2009 5:05 UTC timelines.ws [Source type: News]

A ride across town will usually cost 8,000 Bs to 15,000 Bs (depending on the city). The taxis do not have meters and will charge more at night. This is normal in Venezuela, however all prices are flexible in the Venezuelan economy, so it is a good idea to negotiate the fare for the ride up front. Tipping is not expected and not necessary. The driver considers the tip as part of the fare he is charging and will factor that into his negotiations.
Local buses exist, and usually connect the terminal to the center of each city. They typically cost BsF 0.8 - 1, depending on the city. Bus routes usually remain a mystery to the uninitiated.
Caracas has a clean, modern and cheap metro system, currently being expanded. While armed robberies are almost unheard of in the metro, pickpocketing is rampant. Typically, delinquents will aim to distract the passenger and then another member of the group will remove the wallet, or bag in the opportune moment. Its best to keep bags in front of you and avoid unsolicited contact with strangers.
The web page for the metro is: [2]

By car

A large road network (which comprises approx. .82,000 km) and historically low fuel costs make Venezuela an attractive country for exploring with your own car.^ Increases in fuel costs and government reforms in Venezuela sparked extensive rioting and looting with hundreds of people killed.
  • Timeline Venezuela 15 September 2009 5:05 UTC timelines.ws [Source type: News]

^ "Analyses the traditional relationship between Caricom and the USA and the new relationship with Venezuela; Argues that the Caricom countries, small though they are, will act in their own interests."--Abstract from publication.
  • VENEZUELA 15 September 2009 5:05 UTC www.au.af.mil [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ By 2007 the company had expanded to 16 states delivering low-cost oil to as many as 400,000 households.
  • Timeline Venezuela 15 September 2009 5:05 UTC timelines.ws [Source type: News]

.Many roads are in good condition but there are also gravel and dirt roads for which an off-road vehicle is recommended – especially during the rainy season from May to October.^ However, most inmate deaths resulted from prisoner-on-prisoner violence (especially during fights between rival gangs), riots, fires, and from generally unsafe conditions.
  • Comparative Criminology | South America - Venezuela 20 September 2009 22:18 UTC www-rohan.sdsu.edu [Source type: Original source]

This is why it is important to travel with a good road map (e.g. Venezuela Laminated Map by Berndtson & Berndtson) and to be well informed about distances, road conditions and the estimated travel time. On the web, the site of cochera andina publishes information on nearly 120 routes in the country.
You can rent a car, usually for 20 - 50 dollars a day, plus insurance and legal liability. This may make you think twice about renting a car, especially when considering the fact that renting a car with a driver usually costs the same.
.The fuel cost (unleaded) is: 0.097 Bs/liter, about 0.032 US$/liter/0.12 US$/gallon/0.025 €/liter).^ Rafael Caldera was expected to announce increases in fuel prices by as much as 850% from the 13-cent per gallon current cost.
  • Timeline Venezuela 15 September 2009 5:05 UTC timelines.ws [Source type: News]

There are many gas stations in the main areas. For outlying areas, you should fill the tank before you leave or take a reserve canister with you. In the mountains the gas consumption often increases to over 15 litres / 100 km.
An international driver's license is needed to drive in Venezuela. Police will often ask for the license as well as for the frame or motor number during routine checks. Traffic rules generally comply with the international standard. But do not underestimate the sheer chaos of Venezuela's traffic. Be attentive when driving in Venezuela.
.The often ignored traffic rules state that you must drive on the right unless overtaking and give way to traffic in a roundabout.^ Moore, Robert B. Latin America's Left Turn: Is Chavez Driving and What Can the United States Do to "Right" the Ship .
  • VENEZUELA 15 September 2009 5:05 UTC www.au.af.mil [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

Although the maximum speed limit is 80 km/h outside the city and 60 km/h within the city (at night 50 km/h) local drivers frequently top 160 km/h (100 mph) on intercity highways. The law obligates car occupants to drive with fastened seat belts – which is regularly ignored.If you are in a traffic jam, always other drivers will try to pass. Be aware also that motorcycles are sometimes transporting up to five people, sans helmets. .Pay attention at night: streets and cars as well as bicycles often have poor lights or none at all.^ Inmates often have to pay guards as well as each other to obtain necessities such as space in a cell, a bed, and food.
  • Comparative Criminology | South America - Venezuela 20 September 2009 22:18 UTC www-rohan.sdsu.edu [Source type: Original source]

Also note, that even "good" roads may have unexpected and deep potholes. .For this reason, as well as for security issues in general, long-distance interurban car traveling is not recommended during dark hours.^ In August the attorney general's office released statistics implicating security forces in approximately six thousand killings during the last five years.
  • Venezuela 28 January 2010 1:01 UTC www.state.gov [Source type: Original source]

Good sign-posting is only found on the main roads. Common and especially important road signs are:
  • Curva peligrosa: "Dangerous curve"
  • Sucesión de curvas: "Winding road"
  • Reduzca velocidad: "Reduce speed"
  • Conserve su derecha: "Keep right"

Talk

.Spanish is the official language of Venezuela, accompanied by numerous indigenous dialects (usually never heard except in the Amazon region).^ The government included indigenous people in its literacy campaigns, in some cases teaching them to read and write in their own languages as well as in Spanish.
  • Venezuela 28 January 2010 1:01 UTC www.state.gov [Source type: Original source]

English is not commonly spoken or even understood, even in the major cities (including Caracas). Therefore it is almost essential to have at least a basic knowledge of Spanish.
Examples of Bolivar bills used in Venezuela
Examples of Bolivar bills used in Venezuela
Venezuela's currency is the Bolivar fuerte (BsF), which replaced the old bolivar on January 1, 2008 at the rate of 1 BsF to 1000 old Bs.
Due to strict currency controls in place since 2003 bolivars are not easily convertible either in or outside the country. .Currently, the official rate (offered by banks and the few bureaux de change) give 2.15 BsF per US dollar, but there is a thriving Parallel Market that trades for higher rates.^ The parallel market exchange rate closed at around 2,500/USD at the end of November 2004.
  • Comparative Criminology | South America - Venezuela 20 September 2009 22:18 UTC www-rohan.sdsu.edu [Source type: Original source]

^ As official foreign exchange liquidations have increased over the course of 2004, the exchange rate in the quasi-legal parallel market has decreased.
  • Comparative Criminology | South America - Venezuela 20 September 2009 22:18 UTC www-rohan.sdsu.edu [Source type: Original source]

^ (WSJ, 4/27/98, p.A16) 1994 Financial controls were imposed on Venezuela’s currency and the exchange rate was set to 170 to the US dollar.
  • Timeline Venezuela 15 September 2009 5:05 UTC timelines.ws [Source type: News]

.These unofficial rates fluctuate depending on general demand for foreign exchange, inflation and political instability.^ As official foreign exchange liquidations have increased over the course of 2004, the exchange rate in the quasi-legal parallel market has decreased.
  • Comparative Criminology | South America - Venezuela 20 September 2009 22:18 UTC www-rohan.sdsu.edu [Source type: Original source]

.Within the "Parallel Market" there are various exchange rates: the tourist, the black market (a bit higher but dangerous and uncomfortable), and the bonds brokerage one (high amounts in government bonds, when on sale).^ Venezuela’s Emerging Markets Bond Index investment risk rating, at 398 basis points, has dropped somewhat over 2004, but remains higher than all countries in the region except Argentina.
  • Comparative Criminology | South America - Venezuela 20 September 2009 22:18 UTC www-rohan.sdsu.edu [Source type: Original source]

^ The parallel market exchange rate closed at around 2,500/USD at the end of November 2004.
  • Comparative Criminology | South America - Venezuela 20 September 2009 22:18 UTC www-rohan.sdsu.edu [Source type: Original source]

^ As official foreign exchange liquidations have increased over the course of 2004, the exchange rate in the quasi-legal parallel market has decreased.
  • Comparative Criminology | South America - Venezuela 20 September 2009 22:18 UTC www-rohan.sdsu.edu [Source type: Original source]

.That highest one, which appears as reference on certain internet pages, is the government dollar bonds rate, inaccessible unless you buy thousands of dollars in government bonds through a Venezuelan brokerage firm.^ Military_career_of_Hugo_Ch%C3%A1vez)(WSJ, 6/12/03, p.A10) 1983 It took Venezuelan 4.3 bolivars to buy one US dollar.
  • Timeline Venezuela 15 September 2009 5:05 UTC timelines.ws [Source type: News]

^ (AP, 3/3/04) 2004 Mar 6, Hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans marched through Caracas to protest the rejection of a petition aimed at recalling President Hugo Chavez.
  • Timeline Venezuela 15 September 2009 5:05 UTC timelines.ws [Source type: News]

^ (WSJ, 6/7/96, p.A15) 1996 Apr 15, Tens of thousands of striking Venezuelan teachers defied a government order to go back to their classrooms.
  • Timeline Venezuela 15 September 2009 5:05 UTC timelines.ws [Source type: News]

This last one determines the rate of the black market one and the tourist one. The black market should be avoided unless you are sure of the honesty of the people changing currency for you. They may be scammers, theives or even police disguised as traders. .The safest parallel exchange is the Tourist Rate which is normally provided by higher-level people in the tourism industry (Hotel managers, posada owners, etc).^ The parallel market exchange rate closed at around 2,500/USD at the end of November 2004.
  • Comparative Criminology | South America - Venezuela 20 September 2009 22:18 UTC www-rohan.sdsu.edu [Source type: Original source]

^ As official foreign exchange liquidations have increased over the course of 2004, the exchange rate in the quasi-legal parallel market has decreased.
  • Comparative Criminology | South America - Venezuela 20 September 2009 22:18 UTC www-rohan.sdsu.edu [Source type: Original source]

The rates vary around Venezuela and from week to week. The tourist rate rarely varies in time. Once you change you cannot change back to euros or dollars unless the tourist operator tat exchanged for you is nice engouh to take it back. The tourist rate is 4.5 to the dollar (as of July 2009) and it is 5.5 euros/BsF. Note that these rates are more than double the official rate.
Visa and MasterCard are widely accepted, American Express and Diners Club are usually accepted at upscale restaurants, hotels and shopping centers. Merchants always ask for ID before making a credit card transaction (a passport will suffice). ATMs exist all over the country. .They hand out only Bolivars and at the official exchange rate of 2,15. Maestro Debit Cards are the most accepted but Visa Debit Cards are often not accepted, and some ATMs also ask for the last two digits of Venezuelans' ID numbers as an added security precaution, causing problems for foreigners with no ID number tied to their bank account.^ Unlike in previous years, there were no reports that security forces killed prisoners; however, deaths in prison resulted from other causes (see section 1.c.
  • Venezuela 28 January 2010 1:01 UTC www.state.gov [Source type: Original source]

.It is best to carry small change rather than large bills as many traders, in particular taxi drivers, rarely have change.^ UNHCR assumed that many Colombians chose to be naturalized rather than apply for refugee status.
  • Venezuela 28 January 2010 1:01 UTC www.state.gov [Source type: Original source]

Tipping taxi drivers is not customary and can appear strange. Be a little wary of cab drivers. .There have been reports of cab drivers exploiting tourists, particularly from the airport to Caracas.^ While there was no government information on the extent of prostitution, local antitrafficking NGO Association of Women for Welfare and Mutual Help noted that prostitution was a serious problem, particularly in Caracas and domestic tourist destinations.
  • Venezuela 28 January 2010 1:01 UTC www.state.gov [Source type: Original source]

^ During the year the Center for Women's Studies reported that in 2004 there were 3,900 cases of domestic violence reported, and that 1 woman in Caracas died every 10 days from domestic violence.
  • Venezuela 28 January 2010 1:01 UTC www.state.gov [Source type: Original source]

.Use only the official airport taxis (black Ford Explorers) going up to Caracas or get airport pick-up (mostly luxury hotels).^ The main campus in Caracas was set up in a 10-story building formerly used by the state oil company.
  • Timeline Venezuela 15 September 2009 5:05 UTC timelines.ws [Source type: News]

At restaurants, tipping is usually minimal. If a 10% service charge is included then some extra small change can be left on top of the total, or if not included then a tip of only about 5% is customary.

Handicrafts

Hammocks and some dark wooden handicrafts can be found throughout Venezuela, as well as gaudy painted statuettes of big-busted women. Some areas such as Falcón state have a tradition of excellent glazed pottery.

Food and drink

Fine Venezuelan rum, chocolate and cigars are on sale at the airport.

Eat

Arepas, thick corn tortillas which are split and stuffed with myriad fillings, are the quintessential Venezuelan dish. The most famous variations are the "reina pepiada" (shredded chicken salad with avocado) and “domino” (stuffed with black beans and shredded white cheese). Hallacas (Venezuela's homegrown version of the tamale, with meat, olives, raisins covered in cornmeal and wrapped in plantain leaves to be steamed) are a popular Christmas dish. Cachapas (corn pancakes often topped with a salty cheese called "telita"), empanadas (savory pastries) and the ubiquitous "perros calientes" (hot dogs) are popular street food. For slow food, try delicious fish meals, or a shrimp soup known as “cazuela de mariscos”.
The traditional Venezuelan lunch is pabellón, and consists of rice, black beans, and meat, with a side of fried plantain slices. The above dishes are known as "comida criolla", or Creole food.
Venezuela is a leading producer of fine cacao beans and Venezuelan chocolate can be excellent. The El Rey brand has consistent quality.

Drink

To some tastes, especially those who prefer stronger and complicated beers, Venezuelan beers may seem thin and watery. The most popular beer brand is Polar, which is available in a low-calorie/no-flavour version (Polar Light), light version (Polar Ice), or premium version (Solera), which actually bears some semblance to real beer. .Brahma and Regional are other beers available throughout the country.^ Available online at: http://www.state.gov/p/wha/ Offers information on regional topics, the U.S. and the Organization of American States, and individual country information.
  • VENEZUELA 15 September 2009 5:05 UTC www.au.af.mil [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ Close A-B C-E F-K L-O P-S T-Z Regions Please choose a country or other area, or a Region.
  • Venezuela 28 January 2010 1:01 UTC www.state.gov [Source type: Original source]

Whisky is very popular among Venezeulans, particularly for special events. Venezuelan-made rum is generally dark and of very good quality. Among the best is the "1796" brand from Santa Teresa. It is a Solera rum. .Venezuelans are heavy drinkers and will often go through a case of beer (admittedly of the aforementioned watery kind) during vacation days, starting before breakfast, only to carry on with a bottle of rum or whisky come nightfall.^ During the year the Center for Women's Studies reported that in 2004 there were 3,900 cases of domestic violence reported, and that 1 woman in Caracas died every 10 days from domestic violence.
  • Venezuela 28 January 2010 1:01 UTC www.state.gov [Source type: Original source]

A popular non-alcoholic drink is called "chicha Andina," which is made from rice or corn flour.
Malta or Maltin is a carbonated non-alcoholic malt drink sold alongside regular soft drinks, although it is also manufactured by the Polar company. Venezuelan coffee is excellent, but make sure you are asking for proper coffee (machine-made, 'de la maquina'), otherwise you might be served a 'negrito' or 'guayoyo', which can be anything from weak filter coffee to coffee-smelling brown water.

Sleep

In Caracas, there is a good selection of 5-star hotels, although these are predictably expensive. .At tourist spots elsewhere in Venezuela, guest houses or B&Bs, known as posadas are usually the best option, each with an individual style and usually offering breakfast or dinner if requested.^ Offers both overview regional essays and essays addressing individual situations in Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela.
  • VENEZUELA 15 September 2009 5:05 UTC www.au.af.mil [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

Posadas can vary enormously in price and quality. Youth hostels are very scarce.
.Keep in mind that the beds in many hotels (mostly up to the mid-range levels) are nothing more than mattresses on concrete slabs that resemble box springs.^ Penalties range from 3 to 18 months in prison and up to 4 years in prison if the minor is younger than 12 years old.
  • Venezuela 28 January 2010 1:01 UTC www.state.gov [Source type: Original source]

Depending on what your sleep preference is, they may not be the most comfortable for you. Something for you to consider when looking for a hotel to stay at.

Learn

There are great universites throughout the country, both private and public ones. Caracas is the city with most universities, including the Venezuelan Central University (Universidad Central de Venezuela, UCV) which has 60,000 students and is a architectural attraction in its own right since being awarded World Heritage Site status by the UN in 2002.
Venezuela is becoming increasing popular as a destination for learning Spanish. Merida is normally the destination. Jakera Spanish school [3]was voted by the Language industry as one of the top three Spanish schools world wide (LTM awards). Cela Spanish School on Margarita Island offers intensive Spanish courses in different levels. Excursions and activities on Margarita Island are included in the Spanish course.

Work

.Working hours are usually from 8:00AM to 12:00PM and from 1:00PM to 5:00PM, or from 9:00AM to 12:00PM and 2:00PM to 6:00PM. (8 hours per day, and from 1 to 2 hour(s) of lunch time).^ (SFC, 10/23/01, p.C1) 2001 Dec 10, In Venezuela a nation-wide 12-hour work stoppage was planned to protest policies of Pres.
  • Timeline Venezuela 15 September 2009 5:05 UTC timelines.ws [Source type: News]

Most banks close at 3:30PM, except the ones located at shopping malls (as Sambil, C.C.C.T, etc) work after 3:00PM but probably will make a little charge by the transaction. Also in December when they stay open an extra hour to deal with the holiday rush.

Stay safe

Venezuela has its fair share of poverty and crime. Venezuela has one of the largest homicide rates worldwide ( [4]). It is necessary to be vigilant when in crowded cities, as pickpockets and muggers may be around. Most sections of large cities are not safe to walk at night. Stay in populated areas. Always travel by vehicle at night. The outskirts of many cities are very poor and crime-ridden, and are not appropriate for tourists. When in doubt, ask local inhabitants or taxi drivers whether an area is safe or not. In general, if one looks like a (presumably wealthy) tourist, these sections of town should be avoided. It is advisable not to wear expensive jewelry or watches. Take care with taking pictures and unfolding maps in crowds. Pretend you know where you are going even if you aren't sure.
Always ride on a legal taxi (Yellow plates). The white plates taxis are not legal and may be dangerous.
Additionally, one must be wary of corrupt officials (police and National Guard). Some officials may demand bribes or otherwise extort travelers. Keep watch of your belongings at all times. Despite all these recommendations, one is usually quite safe in Venezuela if they apply a little common sense, and avoid looking overly wealthy when traveling. Women with big purses are recommended not to walk around alone. Tourists should avoid walking long distances in the towns and cities unless you know where you are going. Where possible arrange vehicle transport. It is not advisable for female tourists to walk through poor areas or shanty towns without a local guide. It is greater risk of rape or sexual assualt if they walk through these areas.
.Above all, when you are in Venezuela it is very important to use common sense.^ Most destinations, including Venezuela, require that you have adequate un-used pages in your passport, allowing for any necessary stamps upon arrival and departure.
  • Venezuela Visa : Application, Requirements. Apply for Venezuelan Visas Online. 28 January 2010 1:01 UTC venezuela.visahq.com [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

If you follow the right precautions, you'll probably have no problem. Don't look at anybody the wrong way, and don't look too wealthy.
.In the sad event you do get mugged, by all means don't even try to put up resistance and avoid eye contact, most muggers in Venezuela carry firearms and don't hesitate to shoot at the slightest provocation, keep calm and give the mugger whatever he wants, failure to do so is quite often deadly, also, reporting a mugging to the police is seldom worth the trouble, it's best to forget it as muggers are only rarely caught.^ Most destinations, including Venezuela, require that you have adequate un-used pages in your passport, allowing for any necessary stamps upon arrival and departure.
  • Venezuela Visa : Application, Requirements. Apply for Venezuelan Visas Online. 28 January 2010 1:01 UTC venezuela.visahq.com [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ (AP, 1/29/08)(AP, 1/30/08) 2008 Jan 30, Wilber Varela, one of Colombia's most-wanted drug lords, was found slain in Merida, Venezuela.
  • Timeline Venezuela 15 September 2009 5:05 UTC timelines.ws [Source type: News]

^ (AP, 3/23/04) 2004 May 27, Vito Bigione (52), one of Italy's most-wanted Mafia suspects, was captured in Venezuela.
  • Timeline Venezuela 15 September 2009 5:05 UTC timelines.ws [Source type: News]

.Despite all the issues with insecurity, you may avoid most problems by either staying in the touristic areas or visiting the less touristic areas with someone that lives in the country.^ It may be the case that countries you pass through en route to your destination may require a separate transit visa.
  • Venezuela Visa : Application, Requirements. Apply for Venezuelan Visas Online. 28 January 2010 1:01 UTC venezuela.visahq.com [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

.Also, Venezuela has an interesting policy towards cannabis.^ Mock, James C. Respecting the Threat: Why U.S. Policy Towards Venezuela Must Change .
  • VENEZUELA 15 September 2009 5:05 UTC www.au.af.mil [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ Venezuela's Changing Foreign Policy Towards the United States .
  • VENEZUELA 15 September 2009 5:05 UTC www.au.af.mil [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ Living with Hugo: U.S. Policy Toward Hugo Chavez's Venezuela .
  • VENEZUELA 15 September 2009 5:05 UTC www.au.af.mil [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

You may possess up to 20gr, but be forewarned that anything more can get you thrown in prison for a long time. Even though this policy is quite liberal by American or British standards, you should keep all cannabis use private, if just to not have unwanted attention drawn towards you.
Avoid long distance car traveling at night, since many highways are insecure then. Venezuelans are usually ready to help you if you have a problem. However, they probably won't dare to stop for you in the dark, as they would risk to be assaulted with good cause.

Stay healthy

You may have some diarrhea issues adjusting to the foods and liquids in Venezuela. .You should preferably buy bottled water and not drink from the tap, but iced drinks and salads are generally fine (depending on the water supply quality of your native country).^ It may be the case that countries you pass through en route to your destination may require a separate transit visa.
  • Venezuela Visa : Application, Requirements. Apply for Venezuelan Visas Online. 28 January 2010 1:01 UTC venezuela.visahq.com [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

Be careful with expired foods and cheeses that are many days old. You usually find street vendors by highways, who sell food and who don't always have much knowledge of hygienic food handling practices. Use common sense when selecting what to eat in the street. Mind, that fresh food and mayonnaise may go bad fast due to the local climate.

Respect

Most Venezuelans are laid-back regarding racial issues, since white or creole persons blend naturally with natives and Afro-Venezuelans in everyday life (education, living, politics, marriage). So the word "negro" can be used regardless of who's saying it, or who is being referred to in this way. Expressions like "negrito" or "mi negro" are often used as a term of endearment. You could hear someone calling "negra" to a woman, regardless of the race of the person. And in general, Afro-Venezuelans don't find it offensive, as they are simply variations on the Spanish word for "black". Similarly, don't be offended if someone calls you "flaco" (thin) or "gordo" (fat) as these may also be used fairly indiscriminately, and often as a term of friendliness.
Differences between Brits, Americans or Europeans are not perceived by most Venezuelans. Hence, you can expect to be called "gringo" if you are even if you are, say, Russian. Don't let this offend you as a non Spanish-speaking visitor.
Venezuelans, like Colombians, have a very amusing way of pointing to objects by pouting their lips and lifting their chin, so don't assume that people are blowing kisses to you when you ask for directions.
.Another important point to be kept in mind is that the Venezuelan society is severely split between "Chavists" (those who support the President Chavez) and "Antichavists" (those who oppose to him), so it's strongly advisable not to talk about him and/or his politics unless you're sure on which side your Venezuelan friends are.^ (SFC, 8/21/00, p.A10)(SFC, 8/26/00, p.A10) 2000 Aug 19, Hugo Chavez took the oath of office as president of Venezuela after a landslide re-election.
  • Timeline Venezuela 15 September 2009 5:05 UTC timelines.ws [Source type: News]

^ "U.S. officials and human rights organizations have expressed concerns about the deterioration of democratic institutions and threats to freedom of expression under President Chavez, who has survived several attempts to oust him from power."--Abstract from publication.
  • VENEZUELA 15 September 2009 5:05 UTC www.au.af.mil [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ "Several United States congressmen appealed to President Alvaro Uribe to be allowed to take part in the meeting between Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez and FARC representatives in Caracas on October 8, 2007."--Abstract from publication.
  • VENEZUELA 15 September 2009 5:05 UTC www.au.af.mil [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

Contact

By phone

Venezuela has international country telephone code 58 and three-digit area codes (plus an initial '0'), and phone numbers are seven digits long.
Area codes beginning with '04' - e.g. 0412, 0414, 0416 - are mobile phones, while area codes beginning '02' - e.g. 0212 (Caracas), 0261 (Maracaibo) are land lines.
A single emergency number 171 is used in most of the country for police, ambulance and firefighters.
The international phone number format for Venezuela is +58-(area code without '0')-(phone number)
  • To dial to another area code: (area code starting with '0')-(phone number)
  • To dial to another country: 00-(country code)-(area code)-(phone number)
  • Directory enquiries/information (in spanish): 113
  • Emergency service for mobile phones: (in spanish): 911 (Movistar), 112 (Digitel)
Public payphones use prepaid cards which cannot be recharged but are easily available in shopping centers, gas stations, kiosks, etc. Phone boxes are common in the cities and do not accept coins. .The vast majority are operated by the former state monopoly, CANTV, although some boxes operated by Digitel or Movistar do exist, particularly in remote areas.^ The new effort is targeted at finding companies to purchase majority interests in state utilities and to operate the companies rather than to find outright buyers for the utilities.

^ Currently, the Venezuelan electricity sector is a mixture of state-owned utilities, comprising the majority of the sector, and some private companies.

CANTV prepaid cards can be used only in their booths.
More popular today are the ubiquitous 'communication centers' or clusters of phone booths located inside metro stations, malls, or like a normal store in the street. Most of these comunication centers are operated either by CANTV or Movistar, and offer generally cheap phone calls from a normal phone in comfortable booths equipped with a seat. A log is made of all your calls and you pay when exiting the store.
Many street vendors or buhoneros also offer phone calls from portable (antenna-based) land lines set up at improvised stalls. Callers are charged by the minute.

Mobile phones

Mobiles operated by Movilnet, a division of CANTV, start with the 0416/0426 code and use the CDMA system, and also planning and testing GSM 850 MHz). Rival Telefonica Movistar, formerly Telcel, start with 0414/0424 and use both CDMA & GSM (GSM 850 MHz). Digitel is another operator with a GSM (GSM 900 Mhz) network and its numbers start with 0412. It is possible to buy a pay-as-you-go SIM card for Digitel's GSM phones, but make sure your phone is unlocked. A pay-as-you-go Digitel card is working straightaway when bought from any official retailer. The cost of the card is around 20 VEF (new bolivares). Top up vouchers from 10 VEF. The cost of a text message abroad is 0.3 VEF. Please note that from Movilnet and Movistar phone you are not able to send a text message almost to any European network. A Digitel phone allows to send a text message to almost any European network (tested)/
.You may use your phone with a foreign SIM card in roaming.^ Most destinations, including Venezuela, require that you have adequate un-used pages in your passport, allowing for any necessary stamps upon arrival and departure.
  • Venezuela Visa : Application, Requirements. Apply for Venezuelan Visas Online. 28 January 2010 1:01 UTC venezuela.visahq.com [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ It may be the case that countries you pass through en route to your destination may require a separate transit visa.
  • Venezuela Visa : Application, Requirements. Apply for Venezuelan Visas Online. 28 January 2010 1:01 UTC venezuela.visahq.com [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

.Check: www.gsmworld.com or call to your operator for roaming information to Venezuela.^ Also available online at: http://www.janesonline.com Book call no.: R 980 J33 iss 22 2008 .
  • VENEZUELA 15 September 2009 5:05 UTC www.au.af.mil [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ (Reuters, 4/9/08) Go to http://www.timelinesdb.com Subject = Venezuela End of file .
  • Timeline Venezuela 15 September 2009 5:05 UTC timelines.ws [Source type: News]

Movilnet and Movistar will require quad-band phones for European users, Digitel will work with any European phone. Tourists from other than European countries should check their phones if the phone will work with the above bands.
Digitel has problems to call short German phone numbers, like +49/5251/579, in this case try to switch to Movistar.

By net

Internet cafes, often incorporated in the above-mentioned 'communication centers' are increasingly common, and even small towns usually have at least one spot with more or less decent connections.

By mail

Venezuela's state-owned postal is slow, unpredictable and not widely used. Postal offices are few and far between, although they are still probably your best bet for sending postcards back home. For mailing within Venezuela, courier services such as MRW, Domesa and Zoom are the most popular. These usually guarantee next day delivery!
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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
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From LoveToKnow 1911

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Wiktionary

Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

Contents

English

Proper noun

Wikipedia-logo.png
Wikipedia has an article on:
Singular
Venezuela
Plural
-
Venezuela
.
  1. Country in South America.^ Environmental Issues Venezuela protects 36.3 percent (1997) of its land area—the highest percentage of any country in North and South America.
    • Travel to Venezuela - Technical travel information 20 September 2009 22:18 UTC www.amerikaventure.com [Source type: News]

    ^ Venezuela protects more than a third of its land area—the highest percentage of any country in North and South America.
    • Venezuela - Search View - MSN Encarta 15 September 2009 5:05 UTC encarta.msn.com [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

    ^ The country of Venezuela is situated at the far northeastern corner of the continent of South America.
    • Venezuela travel information by Angel-Eco Tours 15 September 2009 5:05 UTC www.angel-ecotours.com [Source type: News]

    Official name: Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.

Translations

See also


Czech

Proper noun

Venezuela f.
  1. Venezuela

Dutch

Pronunciation

Proper noun

Venezuela n.
  1. Venezuela

Finnish

Wikipedia-logo.png
Finnish Wikipedia has an article on:
Venezuela
Wikipedia fi

Proper noun

Venezuela
  1. Venezuela

Declension


French

Proper noun

Venezuela m.
  1. Venezuela

Related terms


German

Wikipedia-logo.png
German Wikipedia has an article on:
Venezuela
Wikipedia de

Proper noun

Venezuela n.
  1. Venezuela

Italian

Wikipedia-logo.png
Italian Wikipedia has an article on:
Venezuela
Wikipedia it

Pronunciation

Proper noun

Venezuela m.
  1. Venezuela

Related terms


Norwegian

Proper noun

Venezuela
  1. Venezuela

Related terms


Spanish

Etymology

Old Spanish Veneçuela (from Venecia (Venice) + -uela (diminutive suffix))

Pronunciation

Proper noun

Venezuela f.
  1. Venezuela

Related terms


Tatar

Proper noun

Venezuela [1]
  1. Venezuela

Declension


Citable sentences

Up to date as of December 10, 2010

Here are sentences from other pages on Venezuela, which are similar to those in the above article.








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