Did you know that Venezuela can claim to have the longest Caribbean coastline of any country plus the world’s tallest waterfall, Angel Falls, as well as the snow capped mountains of the Andes and the Amazon rainforest – a real variety of climates and eco systems. There are four temperature zones depending how high you are – tropical, temperate, cold and grasslands/snowfields.
Venezuela, or to give the country its proper title “the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela” is a South American country with around 29 million inhabitants. Many Venezuelans live in the North of the country, especially in Caracas which is the capital and also the largest city in the country. Conditions for some residents of Caracas are extremely poor with many people living in shanty towns.
Despite there being extreme poverty, Venezuela is rich in petroleum, gas, iron ore and gold – the country has been one of the largest exports of oil, but the oil glut of the 1980’s caused an economic crisis in the country which saw inflation reach 100% by the mid 1990’s.
The political system in Venezuela is a Federal Republic with the President as head of State and Government. The President is elected for a term of 6 years. Hugo Chavez was elected as President in 1998, 2000, 2006 and 2012 – his Presidency was notable for reform, unrest and division and Venezuelans took to the streets to demonstrate for him and against him. Some say he has done well for the country through his nationalisation programme and the introduction of social reforms and programmes such as free health care and subsidised food, whilst others say he has encouraged inflation and made the poor even poorer. In March 2013 President Chavez passed away in Caracas at the age of 58, he had been ill for some time with cancer. He was in power for 14 years. The new President was Nicolás Maduro who was former Vice President to President Chavez.
As of July 2020, the Venezuelan presidential crisis is unresolved and who holds the office is disputed since 10 January 2019, when the opposition-majority National Assembly declared that incumbent Nicolás Maduro’s 2018 reelection was invalid and the body declared its president, Juan Guaidó, to be acting president of the country
At a Glance Facts
- Population – 28,664,603 (2020)
- International Dialling Code – 58
- Time – Venezuela is 4.5 hours behind the UK
- Languages – Spanish