General information: Venezuela was one of three states formed after the collapse of Gran Colombia in 1830 (the others are Colombia and Ecuador). Most of the first half of the 20th century Venezuela was ruled by fairly prudent military leaders who promoted the development of the oil industry and carried out some social reforms. Democratically elected governments have been in power since 1959. Current problems: drug-sponsored skirmishes along the border with Colombia, growing domestic drug use, very heavy dependence of the economy on the oil industry, especially due to fluctuating oil prices on the world market, irresponsible mining, which poses a threat to the rainforest and the local population. Geography
Location: north of South America, Caribbean and Atlantic coast between Colombia and Guyana.
Geographic coordinates: 8° 00′ N. latitude, 66° 00′ W
Reference map: South America, Central America and the Caribbean.
Area: total: 912,050 km2; land surface area: 882,050 km2; water surface area: 30,000 km2
Comparative area: slightly less than twice the size of the state of California.
Land borders: total: 4,993 km; with neighboring states: with Brazil 2,200 km, with Colombia 2,050 km, with Guyana 743 km.
Coastline: 2,800 km.
Maritime claims: neutral waters: 15 nautical miles; continental shelf: 200 m or to the depth of field development; exclusive economic zone: 200 nautical miles; territorial waters: 12 nautical miles.
Climate: tropical; hot, humid; more moderate at higher elevations.
Terrain: Andes and lowlands of Maracaibo in the northwest; central plains (drunken); Guyanese plateau in the southeast.
Maximum and minimum heights: lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m; highest point: Peak Bolivar (Columna) 5,007 m.
Natural resources: oil, natural gas, iron ore, gold, bauxite, diamonds, other minerals, hydropower.
Land use: arable land: 4%; cultivated land: 1%; pastures: 20%; forests and plantations: 34%; others: 41% (1993 est.).
Irrigated land: 1,900 km2 (1993 est.).
Natural hazards: floods, landslides, mudflows; periodic droughts.
Actual environmental problems: pollution of Lake Valencia by sewage; pollution of Lake Maracaibo by oil and urban runoff; deforestation; soil degradation; urban and industrial pollution of the Caribbean coast; threat to the tropical rainforest ecosystem from irresponsible mining operations.
International agreements on environmental protection: party to: Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Marine Life Conservation, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 1983, Tropical Timber 1994, Wetlands; signed but not ratified: Marine Pollution.
Note to the section “Geography”: located on the main sea and air routes connecting North and South America.
Population: 23,916,810 (July 2001 est.).
Age structure: under 14: 32.11% (male 3,962,517; female 3,716,880); 15 to 64 years old: 63.17% (male 7,581,589; female 7,526,467); over 65: 4.72% (male 515,687; female 613,670 (2001 est.)
Population growth: 1.56% (2001 est.)
Birth rate: 20.65 newborns/1,000 people (2001 est..)
Mortality: 4.92 deaths/1000 people (2001 est.)
Migration: -0.15 people/1000 people (2001 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.08 male/female.; up to 15 years old: 1.07 male/female; from 15 to 64 years old: 1.01 male/female; over 65 years old: 0.84 male/female; for the general population: 1. 02 male/female (2001 est.)
Child mortality: 25.37 deaths/1000 live births (2001 est.).
Life expectancy: for the general population: 73.31 years; men: 70.29 years; women: 76.56 years (2001 est.).
General birth rate: 2.46 children/wives. (2001 est.).
Proportion of adults infected with HIV: 0.49% (1999 est.).
Number of people infected with HIV: 62,000 (1999 est.).
AIDS deaths: 2,000 (1999 est.).
Nationality: noun: Venezuelan; adjective: Venezuelan.
Ethnic groups: Spaniards, Italians, Portuguese, Arabs, Germans, Africans, indigenous peoples.
Believers: nominally Catholics 96%, Protestants 2%.
Languages): Spanish (official), numerous local dialects.
Literacy: definition: persons aged 15 and over who can read and write; for the general population: 91.1%; men: 91.8%; women: 90.3% (1995 est.). State Name:
conventional long form: Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela;
conventional short form: Venezuela; local long form: Republica Bolivariana de Venezuela; local short form: Venezuela
State structure: federal republic. See politicsezine.com to know more about Venezuela Political System.
Administrative divisions: 23 states, 1 federal district*, 1 federal possession**: Ama-sonas, Anzoategui, Apure, Aragua, Barinas, Bolivar, Vargas, Guarico, Delta Amacuro, Carabo-bo, Cohedes, Para, Mérida, Miranda, Monagas, Nueva Esparta, Portuguesa, Sucre, Zulia, Tachi-ra, Trujillo, Falcon, Federal Domain**, Federal District*, Yapacuy; note: The federal possession consists of 11 federated island groups (72 islands in total).
Independence: from July 5, 1811 (until 1811 – a colony of Spain).
National holiday: Independence Day, July 5 (1811)
Constitution: adopted December 30, 1999
Legal system: based on constitutional laws adopted in July 1999; an open adversarial judiciary; does not accept the compulsory jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice.
Suffrage: from 18 years old; universal.
chief of state: President Hugo CHAVEZ Frias (since 3 February 1999); Vice President Adina BASTIDAS Castillo; note – the president is both head of state and head of government;
head of the government: President Hugo CHAVES Frias (since February 3, 1999); Vice President Adina BASTIDAS Castillo; note – the president is both head of state and head of government;
Government: council of ministers appointed by the president; elections; the president is elected by popular vote for a six-year term; elections last held 30 July 2000 (next to be held in 2006); election results: Hugo CHAVES Frias elected president; percentage of votes received – 60%; note: MVR, MAS, PPT participate in the government coalition <Patriotic pool>.
Legislature: unicameral National Assembly; 165 seats; members are elected by popular vote for 5 years; three places are reserved for the indigenous population of Venezuela; elections: last held 30 July 2000 (next to be held in 2005); election results: pro-government coalition: distribution of votes by party – NA; distribution of seats among parties – MVR 92, MAS 6, indigenous parties 3, others 7; opposition: distribution of votes by parties – no data; distribution of seats among parties – AD 33, COPEI 6, Justice First 5, others 13.
Judiciary: Supreme Court (Tribuna Sup-rema de Justicia), judges are elected by the National Assembly for twelve years without the possibility of re-election.
Political parties and leaders: Alliance of the Bold (AVR) (leader – no data); Democratic Action (AD) (Henry RAMOS Allup); Movement of the Fifth Republic (MVR) (Luis MIQUILENA [Luis MIQUILENA]); Homeland for All (PPT) (Pablo MEDINA [Pablo MEDINA]); Justice first (leader – no data); Movement for Socialism (MAS) (Felipe MUJICA); National Association (Convergencia) (Dr. Rafael CALDERA Rodriguez); The Radical Case (La Causa R) (Andres VELASQUEZ); Social Christian Party (COPEI) (Jose CURIEL [Jose CURIEL]); Project <Venezuela> (PV) (Henrique SALAS Ronier).
Political influence groups and their leaders: FEDECAMARAS, a conservative association of entrepreneurs; VECINOS groups; Venezuelan Confederation of Workers (CTV) (the workers’ organization is dominated by members of Democratic Action).
Participation in international organizations: CAN, Caricom (observer), CCC, CDB, ECLAC, FAO, G-3, G-11, G-15, G-19, G-24, G-77, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICFTU, ICRM, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO, ITU, LAES, LAIA, NAM, OAS, OPANAL, OPCW, OPEC, PCA, RG, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNIKOM, UNU, UPU, WCL, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO.
Diplomatic representation in the USA: Head of Mission: Ambassador Alfredo TORO Hardy; office: 1099 30th Street NW, Washington, DC 20007; phone:  (202) 342-2214; fax:  (202) 342-6820; consulates general: Boston, Chicago, Houston, Miami, New Orleans, New York, San Francisco, San Juan (Puerto Rico).
US Mission: Chief of Mission: Ambassador Donna J. HRINAK; embassy: Calle F con Calle Suapure, Colinas de Valle Arriba, Caracas 1060; mailing address: R. O. Box 62291, Caracas 1060-A; APO AA 34037; phone:  (2) 975-6411; fax:  (2) 975-6710.
Description of the flag: three equal horizontal stripes of yellow (top), blue and red, with the coat of arms on the left side of the yellow stripe and with an arc of seven five-pointed stars in the center of the blue stripe.