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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). 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. Democratically elected governments have held sway since 1959. Hugo CHAVEZ, president since 1999, has promoted a controversial policy of "democratic socialism," which purports to alleviate social ills while at the same time attacking globalization and undermining regional stability. Current concerns include: a weakening of democratic institutions, political polarization, a politicized military, drug-related violence along the Colombian border, increasing internal drug consumption, overdependence on the petroleum industry with its price fluctuations, and irresponsible mining operations that are endangering the rain forest and indigenous peoples.

Languages & Population

Approximate Population: 26,023,528 (July 2007 est.)

Nationality (Noun): Venezuelan(s)

Nationality (Adjective): Venezuelan

Official Language(s): Spanish

Major Languages Spoken: Spanish, Yanomami

Map of Venezuela

Country Facts

Country Name (long form): Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela

Country Name (short form): Venezuela

Country Name (local long form): Republica Bolivariana de Venezuela

Country Name (local short form): Venezuela

Name of Capital: Caracas

UTC Time Difference (from capital): UTC-4 (1 hour ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)

Countries Near by, and Bordering Venezuela: Trinidad and Tobago, Aruba, Brazil, Colombia, Grenada, Guyana

Land Area: 882050 sq km

Water Area: 30000 sq km

Comparative Area: slightly more than twice the size of California

Total Land Boundry: 4,993 km

Coastline: 2,800 km

National Holiday: Independence Day, 5 July (1811)

International Phone Code: 58

Currency Code: bolivar (VEB)

Internet Country Code: .ve

US Embassy Location: Calle F con Calle Suapure, Urbanizacion Colinas de Valle Arriba, Caracas 1080

US Embassy Mailing Address: P. O. Box 62291, Caracas 1060-A; APO AA 34037


Venezuela flag

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