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Venezuela ( ; ), officially the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela (República Bolivariana de Venezuela), is a country on the northern coast of , consisting of a landmass and many islands and islets in the . Venezuela comprises an area of , and its population was estimated at 29 million in 2022. The capital and largest urban agglomeration is the city of .

The continental territory is bordered on the north by the and the , on the west by , on the south, Trinidad and Tobago to the north-east and on the east by . Venezuela is a presidential republic consisting of 23 states, the Capital District and federal dependencies covering Venezuela's offshore islands. Venezuela is among the most urbanized countries in Latin America; the vast majority of Venezuelans live in the cities of the north and in the capital.

The territory of Venezuela was colonized by Spain in 1522 amid resistance from Indigenous peoples. In 1811, it became one of the first Spanish-American territories to declare independence from the Spanish and to form part of the first federal Republic of Colombia (). It separated as a full sovereign country in 1830. During the 19th century, Venezuela suffered political turmoil and autocracy, remaining dominated by regional until the mid-20th century. Since 1958, the country has had a series of democratic governments, as an exception where most of the region was ruled by military dictatorships, and the period was characterized by economic prosperity. Economic shocks in the 1980s and 1990s led to major political crises and widespread social unrest, including the deadly riots of 1989, two attempted coups in 1992, and the impeachment of a President for embezzlement of public funds charges in 1993. The collapse in confidence in the existing parties saw the 1998 Venezuelan presidential election, the catalyst for the Bolivarian Revolution, which began with a 1999 Constituent Assembly, where a new Constitution of Venezuela was imposed. The government's policies were bolstered by soaring oil prices, temporarily increasing social spending, and reducing economic inequality and poverty in the early years of the regime..
Voigt, Kevin (6 March 2013). Chavez leaves Venezuelan economy more equal, less stable . .com. Retrieved 5 April 2014.
Beeton, Dan; Joe Sammut (6 December 2013). Venezuela Leads Region in Poverty Reduction in 2012, ECLAC Says . Center for Economic and Policy Research. Retrieved 5 April 2014.
Venezuela Overview . The . Accessed 17 November 2014. "Economic growth and the redistribution of resources associated with these missions have led to an important decline in moderate poverty, from 50% in 1998 to about 30% in 2012. Likewise, inequality has decreased, reducing the Gini Index from 0.49 in 1998 to 0.39 in 2012, which is among the lowest in the region."
However, poverty began to rapidly increase in the 2010s. The 2013 Venezuelan presidential election was widely disputed leading to widespread protest, which triggered another nationwide crisis that continues to this day. Venezuela has experienced democratic backsliding, shifting into an . It ranks low in international measurements of freedom of the press and civil liberties and has high levels of perceived corruption.

Venezuela is a developing country having the world's largest known oil reserves and has been one of the world's leading . Previously, the country was an underdeveloped exporter of agricultural commodities such as and , but oil quickly came to dominate exports and government revenues. The excesses and poor policies of the incumbent government led to the collapse of Venezuela's entire economy. The country struggles with record , shortages of basic goods,

unemployment, poverty, disease, high child mortality, , severe crime and corruption. These factors have precipitated the Venezuelan refugee crisis where more than seven million people have fled the country. By 2017, Venezuela was declared to be in default regarding debt payments by credit rating agencies. The crisis in Venezuela has contributed to a rapidly deteriorating human rights situation. Venezuela is a charter member of the (UN), Organization of American States (OAS), Union of South American Nations (UNASUR), (ALBA), , Latin American Integration Association (LAIA) and Organization of Ibero-American States (OEI).

According to the most popular and accepted version, in 1499, an expedition led by Alonso de Ojeda visited the Venezuelan coast. The in the area of reminded the Italian navigator, , of the city of , Italy, so he named the region Veneziola, or "Little Venice". The Spanish version of Veneziola is Venezuela.

Martín Fernández de Enciso, a member of the Vespucci and Ojeda crew, gave a different account. In his work Summa de geografía, he states that the crew found Indigenous people who called themselves the Veneciuela. Thus, the name "Venezuela" may have evolved from the native word.

Previously, the official name was Estado de Venezuela (1830–1856), República de Venezuela (1856–1864), Estados Unidos de Venezuela (1864–1953), and again República de Venezuela (1953–1999).


Pre-Columbian history
Evidence exists of human habitation in the area now known as Venezuela from about 15,000 years ago. Tools from this period have been found on the high riverine terraces of the in western Venezuela. 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.

It is not known how many people lived in Venezuela before the Spanish conquest; it has been estimated at one million. In addition to Indigenous peoples known today, the population included historical groups such as the (Caribs), Auaké, , , and Timoto–Cuicas. The Timoto–Cuica culture was the most complex society in Pre-Columbian Venezuela, with pre-planned permanent villages, surrounded by irrigated, terraced fields. Their houses were made primarily of stone and wood with thatched roofs. They were peaceful, for the most part, and depended on growing crops. Regional crops included potatoes and . "Venezuela". Friends of the Pre-Columbian Art Museum. (retrieved 9 July 2011) They left behind works of art, particularly anthropomorphic ceramics, but no major monuments. They spun vegetable fibers to weave into textiles and mats for housing. They are credited with having invented the , a staple in Venezuelan cuisine.

After the conquest, the population dropped markedly, mainly through the spread of new infectious diseases from Europe. Two main north–south axes of pre-Columbian population were present, who cultivated maize in the west and in the east. Large parts of the were cultivated through a combination of slash and burn and permanent settled agriculture.

In 1498, during his third voyage to the Americas, Christopher Columbus sailed near the and landed in the Gulf of Paria. Amazed by the great offshore current of freshwater which deflected his course eastward, Columbus expressed in a letter to Isabella and Ferdinand that he must have reached Heaven on Earth (terrestrial paradise):

Spain's colonization of mainland Venezuela started in 1522, establishing its first permanent South American settlement in the city of Cumaná.

German colonization
In the 16th century, the king of Spain granted a concession in Venezuela to the German family. became the most extensive initiative in the German colonization of the Americas from 1528 to 1546. The family were bankers to the Habsburgs and financiers of Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, who was also King of Spain and had borrowed heavily from them to pay bribes for his Imperial election.

In 1528, Charles V granted the Welsers the right to explore, rule and colonize the territory, as well as to seek the mythical golden town of .Routledge Library Editions: World Empires (2021). United Kingdom: Taylor & Francis.South American Explorer. (1979). Perù: South American Explorers, p.27. University of Texas. The first expedition was led by Ambrosius Ehinger, who established in 1529. After the deaths of first Ehinger (1533), then Nikolaus Federmann, and Georg von Speyer (1540), Philipp von Hutten persisted in exploring of the interior. In absence of von Hutten from the capital of the province, the crown of Spain claimed the right to appoint a governor. On Hutten's return to the capital, Santa Ana de Coro, in 1546, the Spanish governor Juan de Carvajal had Hutten and Bartholomeus VI. Welser executed. Subsequently, Charles V revoked Welser's concession. The Welsers transported German miners to the colony, in addition to 4,000 African to plant plantations. Many of the German colonists died from tropical diseases, to which they had no immunity, or through frequent wars with the Indigenous inhabitants.

Late 15th century to early 17th century
Native (leaders) such as () and (died 1573) attempted to resist Spanish incursions, but the newcomers ultimately subdued them; Tamanaco was put to death by order of ' founder, Diego de Losada.

In the 16th century, during the Spanish colonization, indigenous peoples such as many of the , themselves descendants of the Kalina, were converted to Roman Catholicism. Some of the resisting tribes or leaders are commemorated in place names, including Caracas, Chacao and . The early colonial settlements focused on the northern coast, but in the mid-18th century, the Spanish pushed farther inland along the . Here, the Ye'kuana (then known as the Makiritare) organized serious resistance in 1775 and 1776.

Spain's eastern Venezuelan settlements were incorporated into New Andalusia Province. Administered by the Royal Audiencia of Santo Domingo from 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 1777. The town of Caracas, founded in the central coastal region in 1567, was well-placed to become a key location, being near the coastal port of whilst itself being located in a valley in a mountain range, providing defensive strength against and a more fertile and healthy climate.

Independence and 19th century
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 Revolution, declared independence as the First Republic of Venezuela on 5 July 1811. This began the Venezuelan War of Independence. A devastating earthquake that struck Caracas in 1812, together with the rebellion of the Venezuelan , helped bring down the republic. Simón Bolívar, new leader of the independentist forces, launched his Admirable Campaign in 1813 from New Granada, retaking most of the territory and being proclaimed as El Libertador ("The Liberator"). A second Venezuelan republic was proclaimed on 7 August 1813, but lasted only a few months before being crushed at the hands of royalist caudillo José Tomás Boves and his personal army of llaneros.

The end of the of homeland Spain in 1814 allowed the preparation of a large expeditionary force to the American provinces under general , with the goal to regain the lost territory in Venezuela and New Granada. As the war reached a stalemate on 1817, Bolívar reestablished the Third Republic of Venezuela on the territory still controlled by the patriots, mainly in the and regions. This republic was short-lived as only two years later, during the Congress of Angostura of 1819, the union of Venezuela with New Granada was decreed to form the Republic of Colombia (historiographically ). The war continued for some years, until full victory and was attained after the Battle of Carabobo on 24 June 1821. On 24 July 1823, José Prudencio Padilla and helped seal Venezuelan independence with their victory in the Battle of Lake Maracaibo. New Granada's congress gave Bolívar control of the Granadian army; leading it, he liberated several countries and founded the Republic of Colombia ().

Sucre went on to liberate and become the second president of . Venezuela remained part of Gran Colombia until 1830, when a rebellion led by José Antonio Páez allowed the proclamation of a newly independent Venezuela, on 22 September; Langer's Encyclopaedia of World History, page 854. Páez became the first president of the new State of Venezuela. Between one-quarter and one-third of Venezuela's population was lost during these two decades of warfare (including perhaps one-half of the Venezuelans of European descent),

(2024). 9781136757723, Routledge. .
which by 1830, was estimated at 800,000." Venezuela – The Century of Caudillismo ". Library of Congress Country Studies.

The colors of the Venezuelan flag are yellow, blue, and red: the yellow stands for land wealth, the blue for the sea that separates Venezuela from Spain, and the red for the blood shed by the heroes of independence.

in Venezuela was abolished in 1854. Much of Venezuela's 19th-century history was characterized by political turmoil and dictatorial rule, including the Independence leader José Antonio Páez, who gained the presidency three times and served a total of 11 years between 1830 and 1863. This culminated in the (1859–1863). In the latter half of the century, Antonio Guzmán Blanco, another caudillo, served a total of 13 years between 1870 and 1887, with three other presidents interspersed.

In 1895, a longstanding dispute with Great Britain about the Essequibo territory, which Britain claimed as part of and Venezuela saw as Venezuelan territory, erupted into the Venezuela Crisis of 1895. The dispute became a diplomatic crisis when Venezuela's lobbyist, William L. Scruggs, sought to argue that British behavior over the issue violated the ' of 1823, and used his influence in Washington, D.C., to pursue the matter. Then, U.S. president adopted a broad interpretation of the doctrine that declared an American interest in any matter within the hemisphere. Britain ultimately accepted arbitration, but in negotiations over its terms was able to persuade the U.S. on many of the details. A tribunal convened in Paris in 1898 to decide the issue and in 1899 awarded the bulk of the disputed territory to British Guiana.

In 1899, , assisted by his friend Juan Vicente Gómez, seized power in Caracas, marching an army from his base in the Andean state of Táchira. Castro defaulted on Venezuela's considerable foreign debts and declined to pay compensation to foreigners caught up in Venezuela's civil wars. This led to the Venezuela Crisis of 1902–1903, in which Britain, Germany and Italy imposed a naval blockade of several months before international arbitration at the new Permanent Court of Arbitration was agreed. In 1908, another dispute broke out with the Netherlands, which was resolved when Castro left for medical treatment in Germany and was promptly overthrown by Juan Vicente Gómez (1908–1935).

20th century
The discovery of massive in Lake Maracaibo during World War I proved to be pivotal for Venezuela and transformed the basis of its economy from a heavy dependence on agricultural exports. It prompted an economic boom that lasted into the 1980s; by 1935, Venezuela's per capita gross domestic product was Latin America's highest. Gómez benefited handsomely from this, as corruption thrived, but at the same time, the new source of income helped him centralize the Venezuelan state and develop its authority.

He remained the most powerful man in Venezuela until his death in 1935, although at times he ceded the presidency to others. The gomecista dictatorship (1935–1945) system largely continued under Eleazar López Contreras, but from 1941, under Isaías Medina Angarita, was relaxed. Angarita granted a range of reforms, including the legalization of all political parties. After World War II, immigration from Southern Europe (mainly from Spain, Italy, Portugal, and France) and poorer Latin American countries markedly diversified Venezuelan society.

In 1945, a civilian-military coup overthrew Medina Angarita and ushered in a three-year period of democratic rule (1945–1948) under the mass membership party Democratic Action, initially under Rómulo Betancourt, until Rómulo Gallegos won the 1947 Venezuelan presidential election (generally believed to be the first free and fair elections in Venezuela). Gallegos governed until overthrown by a military junta led by the triumvirate , Marcos Pérez Jiménez, and Gallegos' Defense Minister, Carlos Delgado Chalbaud, in the 1948 Venezuelan coup d'état.

The most powerful man in the military junta (1948–1958) was Pérez Jiménez (though Chalbaud was its titular president) and was suspected of being behind the death in office of Chalbaud, who died in a bungled kidnapping in 1950. When the junta unexpectedly lost the 1952 presidential election, it ignored the results and Pérez Jiménez was installed as president

The military dictator Pérez Jiménez was forced out on 23 January 1958. In an effort to consolidate a young democracy, the three major political parties (Acción Democrática (AD), and Unión Republicana Democrática (URD), with the notable exception of the Communist Party of Venezuela), signed the power-sharing agreement. The two first parties would dominate the political landscape for four decades.

During the presidencies of Rómulo Betancourt (1959–1964, his second term) and Raúl Leoni (1964–1969) in the 1960s, substantial guerilla movements occurred, including the Armed Forces of National Liberation and the Revolutionary Left Movement, which had split from AD in 1960. Most of these movements laid down their arms under 's first presidency (1969–1974); Caldera had won the 1968 election for COPEI, being the first time a party other than Democratic Action took the presidency through a democratic election. The new democratic order had its antagonists. Betancourt suffered an attack planned by the Dominican dictator in 1960, and the leftists excluded from the Pact initiated an armed insurgency by organizing themselves in the Armed Forces of National Liberation, sponsored by the Communist Party and Fidel Castro. In 1962 they tried to destabilize the military corps, with failed revolts in Carúpano and Puerto Cabello. At the same time, Betancourt promoted a foreign policy, the Betancourt Doctrine, in which he only recognized elected governments by popular vote. district, (1973)]]

The election in 1973 of Carlos Andrés Pérez coincided with an oil crisis, in which Venezuela's income exploded as soared; oil industries were nationalized in 1976. This led to massive increases in public spending, but also increases in external debts, until the collapse of oil prices during the 1980s crippled the Venezuelan economy. As the government started to devalue the currency in February 1983 to face its financial obligations, Venezuelans' real standards 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.

In the 1980s, the Presidential Commission for State Reform (COPRE) emerged as a mechanism of political innovation. Venezuela was preparing for the decentralization of its political system and the diversification of its economy, reducing the large size of the State. The COPRE operated as an innovation mechanism, also by incorporating issues into the political agenda that were generally excluded from public deliberation by the main actors of the Venezuelan democratic system. The most discussed topics were incorporated into the public agenda: decentralization, political participation, municipalization, judicial order reforms and the role of the State in a new economic strategy. The social reality of the country made the changes difficult to apply.

Economic crises in the 1980s and 1990s led to a political crisis. Hundreds of people were killed by Venezuelan security forces and the military in the riots of 1989 during the presidency of Carlos Andrés Pérez (1989–1993, his second term) and after the implementation of economic austerity measures.

(2024). 9789803542955, Editorial Alfa.
Hugo Chávez, who in 1982 had promised to depose the bipartisanship governments, used the growing anger at economic austerity measures to justify a coup d'état attempt in February 1992; a second coup d'état attempt occurred in November. President Carlos Andrés Pérez (re-elected in 1988) was impeached under embezzlement charges in 1993, leading to the interim presidency of Ramón José Velásquez (1993–1994). Coup leader Chávez was pardoned in March 1994 by president Rafael Caldera (1994–1999, his second term), with a clean slate and his political rights reinstated, allowing Chávez to win and maintain the presidency continuously from 1999 until his death in 2013. Chávez won the elections of 1998, 2000, 2006 and 2012 and the presidential referendum of 2004. The only gaps in his presidency occurred during the two-day de facto government of Pedro Carmona Estanga in 2002 and when Diosdado Cabello Rondón acted as interim president for a few hours.

Bolivarian government: 1999–present
A collapse in confidence in the existing parties led to Hugo Chávez being elected president in 1998 and the subsequent launch of a "Bolivarian Revolution", beginning with a 1999 constituent assembly to write a new Constitution of Venezuela. The Bolivarian Revolution refers to a left-wing populism and political process in Venezuela led by Chávez, who founded the Fifth Republic Movement in 1997 and the United Socialist Party of Venezuela in 2007. The "Bolivarian Revolution" is named after Simón Bolívar. According to Chávez and other supporters, the "Bolivarian Revolution" seeks to build a mass movement to implement —popular democracy, economic independence, equitable distribution of revenues, and an end to political corruption—in Venezuela. They interpret Bolívar's ideas from a perspective, using rhetoric. This led to formation of the Fifth Republic of Venezuela (Quinta República de Venezuela), commonly known as the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela (República Bolivariana de Venezuela), that continues to the present day. Venezuela has been considered the Bolivarian Republic following the adoption of the new Constitution of 1999. Since Chávez's election into office, Venezuela developed into a dominant-party system, dominated by the United Socialist Party of Venezuela. In April 2002, Chávez was briefly ousted from power in the 2002 Venezuelan coup d'état attempt following popular demonstrations by his opponents,The coup installed chamber of commerce leader . but Chavez returned to power after two days as a result of demonstrations by poor Chávez supporters in Caracas and actions by the military. Chávez also remained in power after an all-out national strike that lasted from December 2002 to February 2003, including a strike/lockout in the state oil company . before and during the strike led to the reimposition of currency controls (which had been abolished in 1989), managed by the agency. In the subsequent decade, the government was forced into several currency devaluations. "Venezuela devalues currency against US dollar" . (9 February 2013). Retrieved on 20 April 2013. "The bill for years of mismanagement is coming due" . (12 February 2013). Retrieved on 20 April 2013. "Venezuela The homecoming" . (23 February 2013). Retrieved on 20 April 2013.Farzad, Roben. (15 February 2013) "Venezuela's Double-Edged Devaluation". Retrieved on 20 April 2013. These devaluations have done little to improve the situation of the Venezuelan people who rely on imported products or locally produced products that depend on imported inputs while dollar-denominated oil sales account for the vast majority of Venezuela's exports.Mander, Benedict. (10 February 2013) "Venezuelan devaluation sparks panic" . Retrieved on 20 April 2013. According to Sebastian Boyd writing at , the profits of the oil industry have been lost to "social engineering" and corruption, instead of investments needed to maintain oil production.

Chávez survived several further political tests, including an August 2004 recall referendum. He was elected for another term in December 2006 and re-elected for a third term in October 2012. However, he was never sworn in for his third period, due to medical complications; he died on 5 March 2013.Neuman, William (5 March 2013) "Chávez Dies, Leaving Sharp Divisions in Venezuela" . New York Times. The presidential election that took place on Sunday, 14 April 2013, was the first since Chávez took office in 1999 in which his name did not appear on the ballot. Venezuelan Politics and Human Rights . Retrieved on 20 April 2013. Under the Bolivarian government, Venezuela went from being one of the richest countries in Latin America to one of the poorest. Hugo Chávez's socioeconomic policies of relying on oil sales and importing goods resulted in large amounts of debt, no change to corruption in Venezuela and culminated into the crisis in Venezuela. As a result of the crisis, the Venezuelan refugee crisis, the largest emigration of people in Latin America's history, occurred, with over 7 million Venezuelans – about 20% of the country's population – emigrating. Chávez also initiated Bolivarian missions, programs aimed at helping the poor.

Nicolás Maduro
Poverty and inflation began to increase into the 2010s.Charlie Devereux & Raymond Colitt. 7 March 2013. Nicolás Maduro was elected in 2013 after the death of Chavez. Chavez picked Maduro as his successor and appointed him vice president in 2013. Maduro was elected president in 2013 following Chavez's death.

Nicolás Maduro has been the president of Venezuela since 14 April 2013, when he won the second presidential election after Chávez's death, with 50.61% of the votes against the opposition's candidate Henrique Capriles Radonski, who had 49.12% of the votes. The Democratic Unity Roundtable contested his election as fraud and as a violation of the constitution. An audit of 56% of the vote showed no discrepancies, and the Supreme Court of Venezuela ruled that under Venezuela's Constitution, Nicolás Maduro was the legitimate president. Opposition leaders and some international media consider the government of Maduro to be a dictatorship. Since February 2014, hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans have protested over high levels of criminal violence, corruption, hyperinflation, and chronic scarcity of basic goods due to policies of the federal government. Demonstrations and riots have resulted in over 40 fatalities in the unrest between Chavistas and opposition protesters and opposition leaders, including Leopoldo López and were arrested. Human rights groups condemned the arrest of Leopoldo López. In the 2015 Venezuelan parliamentary election, the opposition gained a majority.

Venezuela devalued its currency in February 2013 due to rising shortages in the country, which included those of milk, flour, and other necessities. This led to an increase in malnutrition, especially among children. Venezuela's economy had become strongly dependent on the exportation of oil, with crude accounting for 86% of exports, and a high price per barrel to support social programs. Beginning in 2014 the price of oil plummeted from over $100/bbl to $40/bbl a year and a half later. This placed pressure on the Venezuelan economy, which was no longer able to afford vast social programs. To counter the decrease in oil prices, the Venezuelan Government began taking more money from PDVSA, the state oil company, to meet budgets, resulting in a lack of reinvestment in fields and employees. Venezuela's oil production decreased from its height of nearly per day. In 2014, Venezuela entered an economic recession. In 2015, Venezuela had the world's highest inflation rate with the rate surpassing 100%, which was the highest in the country's history. In 2017, 's administration imposed more economic sanctions against Venezuela's state-owned oil company and Venezuelan officials. Economic problems, as well as crime and corruption, were some of the main causes of the 2014–present Venezuelan protests. Since 2014, roughly 5.6 million people have fled Venezuela.

In January 2016, President Maduro decreed an "economic emergency", revealing the extent of the crisis and expanding his powers. In July 2016, Colombian border crossings were temporarily opened to allow Venezuelans to purchase food and basic household and health items in Colombia. In September 2016, a study published in the Spanish-language Diario Las Américas indicated that 15% of Venezuelans are eating " discarded by commercial establishments". Close to 200 riots had occurred in Venezuelan prisons by October 2016, according to Una Ventana a la Libertad, an advocacy group for better prison conditions.

In 2017, Venezuela experienced a constitutional crisis in the country. In March 2017, opposition leaders branded President Maduro a dictator after the Maduro-aligned Supreme Tribunal, which had been overturning most National Assembly decisions since the opposition took control of the body, took over the functions of the assembly, pushing a lengthy political standoff to new heights. The Supreme Court backed down and reversed its decision on 1 April 2017. A month later, President Maduro announced the 2017 Venezuelan Constituent Assembly election and on 30 August 2017, the 2017 Constituent National Assembly was elected into office and quickly stripped the National Assembly of its powers. The election raised concerns of an emerging dictatorship. In December 2017, President Maduro declared that leading opposition parties would be barred from taking part in the following year's presidential vote after they boycotted mayoral polls.

Maduro won the 2018 election with 67.8% of the vote. The result was challenged by countries including Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Brazil, Canada, Germany, France and the United States who deemed it fraudulent and moved to recognize Juan Guaidó as president. Other countries continued to recognize Maduro as president, although China, facing financial pressure over its position, reportedly began hedging its position by decreasing loans given, cancelling joint ventures, and signaling willingness to work with all parties.

In January 2019 the Permanent Council of the Organization of American States (OAS) approved a resolution "to not recognize the legitimacy of Nicolas Maduro's new term as of the 10th of January of 2019".

In August 2019, United States President signed an executive order to impose a total economic embargo against Venezuela. In March 2020, the Trump administration indicted Maduro and several Venezuelan officials, including the Chief Justice of the Supreme Tribunal, on charges of drug trafficking, , and corruption.

In June 2020, a report by the US organisation Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights documented enforced disappearances in Venezuela that occurred in the years 2018 and 2019. During the period, 724 enforced disappearances of political detainees were reported. The report stated that Venezuelan security forces subjected victims, who had been disappeared, to illegal interrogation processes accompanied by torture and cruel or inhuman treatment. The report stated that the Venezuelan government strategically used enforced disappearances to silence political opponents and other critical voices it deemed a threat.

Venezuela is located in the north of South America; geologically, its mainland rests on the South American Plate. It has a total area of and a land area of , making Venezuela the 33rd largest country in the world. The territory it controls lies between latitudes and 16°N and longitudes 59° and 74°W.

Shaped roughly like a triangle, the country has a coastline in the north, which includes numerous islands in the Caribbean and the northeast borders the northern Atlantic Ocean. Most observers describe Venezuela in terms of four fairly well defined regions: the in the northwest, the northern mountains extending in a broad east–west arc from the Colombian border along the northern Caribbean coast, the wide plains in central Venezuela, and the in the southeast.

The northern mountains are the extreme northeastern extensions of South America's Andes mountain range. Pico Bolívar, the nation's highest point at , lies in this region. To the south, the dissected contain the northern fringes of the Amazon Basin and , the world's highest waterfall, as well as , large table-like mountains. 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 in the east. The Orinoco, with its rich , binds the largest and most important river system of the country; it originates in one of the largest in Latin America. The Caroní and the are other major rivers. Venezuela borders Colombia to the west, to the east, and Brazil to the south. Caribbean islands such as Trinidad and Tobago, , Curaçao, , and the lie near the Venezuelan coast. Venezuela has territorial disputes with Guyana, formerly United Kingdom, largely concerning the Essequibo area and with Colombia concerning the Gulf of Venezuela. In 1895, after years of diplomatic attempts to solve the border dispute, the dispute over the Essequibo River border flared up. It was submitted to a "neutral" commission (composed of British, American, and Russian representatives and without a direct Venezuelan representative), which in 1899 decided mostly against Venezuela's claim.

Venezuela is entirely located in the tropics over the Equator to around 12° N. Its climate varies from humid low-elevation plains, where average annual temperatures range as high as , to glaciers and highlands (the páramos) with an average yearly temperature of . Annual rainfall varies from in the semiarid portions of the northwest to over in the Orinoco Delta of the far east and the Amazonian Jungle in the south. The precipitation level is lower in the period from August through April. These periods are referred to as hot-humid and cold-dry seasons. Another characteristic of the climate is this variation throughout the country by the existence of a mountain range called "Cordillera de la Costa" which crosses the country from east to west. The majority of the population lives in these mountains.

The country falls into four horizontal temperature zones based primarily on elevation, having tropical, dry, temperate with dry winters, and polar () climates, amongst others. In the tropical zone—below —temperatures are hot, with yearly averages ranging between . The temperate zone ranges between with averages from ; many of Venezuela's cities, including the capital, lie in this region. Colder conditions with temperatures from are found in the cool zone between , especially in the Venezuelan Andes, where pastureland and permanent snowfield with yearly averages below cover land above in the páramos.

The highest temperature recorded was in , and the lowest temperature recorded was , reported from an uninhabited high altitude at Páramo de Piedras Blancas (Mérida state).

Biodiversity and conservation
Venezuela lies within the Neotropical realm; large portions of the country were originally covered by moist broadleaf forests. One of 17 megadiverse countries, Venezuela's range from the Andes Mountains in the west to the Amazon Basin rainforest in the south, via extensive llanos plains and Caribbean coast in the center and the Orinoco River Delta in the east. They include xeric scrublands in the extreme northwest and coastal forests in the northeast. Its and lowland are particularly rich.

Animals of Venezuela are diverse and include , , , Amazon river dolphins, and Orinoco Crocodiles, which have been reported to reach up to in length. Venezuela hosts a total of 1,417 bird species, 48 of which are endemic. Important birds include , , , and the yellow-orange Venezuelan troupial, the national bird. Notable include the , , and the , the world's largest . More than half of Venezuelan avian and mammalian species are found in the Amazonian forests south of the Orinoco.

For the fungi, an account was provided by R.W.G. DennisDennis, R.W.G. "Fungus Flora of Venezuela and Adjacent Countries". Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1970 which has been digitized and the records made available on-line as part of the Cybertruffle Robigalia database. That database includes nearly 3,900 species of fungi recorded from Venezuela, but is far from complete, and the true total number of fungal species already known from Venezuela is likely higher, given the generally accepted estimate that only about 7% of all fungi worldwide have so far been discovered. Among plants of Venezuela, over 25,000 species of are found in the country's cloud forest and lowland rainforest ecosystems. These include the flor de mayo orchid ( ), the national flower. Venezuela's national tree is the araguaney. The tops of the tepuis are also home to several carnivorous plants including the marsh pitcher plant, , and the insectivorous bromeliad, Brocchinia reducta.

Venezuela is among the top 20 countries in terms of . Among its animals, 23% of and 50% of species, including the Trinidad poison frog, are endemic.Jowers, M., & Downie, J. (2004). Distribution of the frog Mannophryne trinitatis (Anura: Dendrobatidae) in Trinidad, West Indies. Living World, 2004. Although the available information is still very small, a first effort has been made to estimate the number of fungal species endemic to Venezuela: 1334 species of fungi have been tentatively identified as possibly endemic. Some 38% of the over 21,000 plant species known from Venezuela are unique to the country.

Venezuela is one of the 10 most biodiverse countries on the planet, yet it is one of the leaders of deforestation due to economic and political factors. Each year, roughly 287,600 hectares of forest are permanently destroyed, and other areas are degraded by mining, oil extraction, and logging. Between 1990 and 2005, Venezuela officially lost 8.3% of its forest cover, which is about 4.3 million ha. In response, federal protections for critical habitat were implemented; for example, 20% to 33% of forested land is protected. Venezuela had a 2019 Forest Landscape Integrity Index mean score of 8.78/10, ranking it 19th globally out of 172 countries. The country's biosphere reserve is part of the World Network of Biosphere Reserves; five are registered under the Ramsar Convention. In 2003, 70% of the nation's land was under conservation management in over 200 protected areas, including 43 national parks. Venezuela's 43 national parks include Canaima National Park, Morrocoy National Park, and Mochima National Park. In the far south is a reserve for the country's Yanomami tribes. Covering , the area is off-limits to farmers, miners, and all non-Yanomami settlers.

, formerly praised by Alexander von Humboldt for its beauty, is massively polluted due to the countless sewage systems pouring residuals.Jafé, Espiño, Benítez, Gardinali (1995): Pollution chronology of Lake Valencia, Venezuela. Springer Verlag. New York Inc.]]Venezuela was one of the few countries that did not enter an INDC at COP21. Carbon Markets Are Making a Slow, But Steady, Comeback . (8 December 2015). Retrieved on 15 June 2016. INDC – Submissions . Retrieved on 15 June 2016. Many terrestrial ecosystems are considered endangered, specially the in the northern regions of the country and the in the coast.

There are 105 protected areas in Venezuela, which cover around 26% of the country's continental, marine and insular surface.

The country is made up of three river basins: the , the Atlantic Ocean and Lake Valencia, which forms an endorheic basin.

On the Atlantic side it drains most of Venezuela's river waters. The largest basin in this area is the extensive Orinoco basin

(1975). 9780019231893, Clarendon Press. .
whose surface area, close to one million km2, is greater than that of the whole of Venezuela, although it has a presence of 65% in the country.

The size of this basin - similar to that of the Danube - makes it the third largest in South America, and it gives rise to a flow of some 33,000 m³/s, making the Orinoco the third largest in the world, and also one of the most valuable from the point of view of renewable natural resources. The Rio or Brazo Casiquiare is unique in the world, as it is a natural derivation of the that, after some 500 km in length, connects it to the Negro River, which in turn is a tributary of the . The Orinoco receives directly or indirectly rivers such as the Ventuari, the Caura, the Caroní, the Meta, the , the Apure and many others. Other Venezuelan rivers that empty into the Atlantic are the waters of the San Juan and Cuyuní basins. Finally, there is the Amazon River, which receives the Guainía, the Negro and others. Other basins are the Gulf of Paria and the . The second most important watershed is the Caribbean Sea. The rivers of this region are usually short and of scarce and irregular flow, with some exceptions such as the , which originates in and drains into the Maracaibo Lake basin. Among the rivers that reach the Maracaibo lake basin are the Chama, the Escalante, the Catatumbo, and the contributions of the smaller basins of the Tocuyo, Yaracuy, Neverí and Manzanares rivers.

A minimum drains to the Lake Valencia basin. Of the total extension of the rivers, a total of 5400 km are navigable. Other rivers worth mentioning are the Apure, Arauca, Caura, Meta, Barima, , Ventuari and Zulia, among others. and Autana River, Amazonas state|250x250px]]The country's main lakes are Lake Maracaibo

(1989). 9789800003121, FACES-UCV, División de Publicaciones. .
-the largest in South America- open to the sea through the natural channel, but with fresh water, and Lake Valencia with its endorheic system. Other noteworthy bodies of water are the , the Altagracia lagoon, the Camatagua reservoir and the Mucubají lagoon in the Andes.

The Venezuelan natural is the product of the interaction of that since the have contributed to its current appearance. On the formed structures, seven physical-natural units have been modeled, differentiated in their relief and in their natural resources. The relief of Venezuela has the following characteristics: with several peninsulas
(1995). 9789803540050, Editorial Alfa. .
and , adenas of the Andes mountain range (north and northwest), Lake Maracaibo (between the chains, on the coast); delta, region of and plateaus (tepui, east of the Orinoco) that together form the Guyanas massif (plateaus, southeast of the country).

The oldest rock formations in South America are found in the complex basement of the Guyanas highlands and in the crystalline line of the Maritime and Cordillera massifs in Venezuela. The Venezuelan part of the Guyanas consists of a large granite block of and other crystalline rocks, with underlying layers of sandstone and shale clay.

(2024). 9789806476264, Editorial Arte. .

The core of and is, to a large extent, flanked by sedimentary layers from the , folded in an structure. Between these orographic systems there are plains covered with tertiary and quaternary layers of gravel, sands and clayey . The depression contains lagoons and lakes, among which is that of , and presents, on the surface, deposits from the .

(2024). 9789801213796, Ministerio de la Cultura. .
  • Coastal Mountain Range
Also known as the Cordillera de la Costa, stretches along Venezuela's northern coast. This region is known for its lush tropical rainforests, stunning coastal views, and a rich variety of flora and fauna. The intermountain depressions, or valleys, between the mountain ranges are often home to fertile agricultural land and vibrant communities. These valleys offer a stark contrast to the rugged mountains that rise dramatically from the coast. Situated in northwestern Venezuela, the Lara-Falcón Highlands exhibit a terrain defined by plateaus and rolling hills. These highlands provide a significant contrast to the surrounding lowlands and coastal areas. The relief is characterized by gently sloping plateaus that support agriculture, including coffee and cacao cultivation. This region's semi-arid climate and picturesque landscapes make it an important agricultural and tourism center. Encompass the basin of and the plains surrounding the Gulf of Venezuela. This region offers two distinct plains—the northern one is relatively dry, while the southern one is humid and dotted with swamps. The relief here is primarily characterized by flat terrain, with the exception of some elevated areas near the lake. Lake Maracaibo itself sits in a depression, surrounded by oil-rich lands and productive agricultural areas. The Venezuelan Andes, part of the broader mountain range, offer a striking relief with towering peaks, deep valleys, and fertile intermontane basins. Dominated by these corpulent mountain ranges, including Venezuela's highest peak, Bolívar Peak, the region's rugged and picturesque landscapes are defined by its high-altitude terrain. The unique relief of this area finds its origins in the Last Glacial Period, where the interplay of repeated glacier advances and retreats sculpted the landscape, shaped by the cold, high-altitude climate. This glacial heritage has left a lasting imprint, with glaciers carving deep valleys and polishing rugged peaks, while sheltered intramontane valleys offer fertile soils and temperate microclimates, creating ideal conditions for agriculture and human settlement.
  • Los Llanos
Los Llanos, or "the plains", are expansive sedimentary basins characterized by predominantly flat relief. However, the eastern Llanos feature low-plateaus and the Unare depression, created through mesa erosion, adding diversity to the terrain. This region is subject to seasonal flooding, transforming the flat plains into a vast wetland during the rainy season. The relief here influences the region's unique ecosystems, including extensive grasslands and abundant wildlife.
  • Shield
The Guiana Shield boasts a varied relief shaped by geological processes over millions of years. This region encompasses peneplains, rugged mountain ranges, foothills, and the iconic , or table-top mountains. The tepuis stand as isolated, flat-topped plateaus that rise dramatically from the surrounding terrain. This unique relief contributes to the region's remarkable biodiversity and scientific significance.
(2024). 9781845930929 .
The Orinoco Delta's relief is characterized by a complex system of lands and waters. It consists of numerous channels, islands, and shifting sedimentary deposits. While the relief may appear relatively uniform, it conceals a dynamic environment influenced by seasonal flooding and sediment deposition. This complex deltaic relief supports diverse aquatic life and the livelihoods of Indigenous communities adapted to its ever-changing landscapes.]]

The valleys are undoubtedly the most important type of in the Venezuelan territory, not because of their spatial extension, but because they are the environment where most of the country's population and economic activities are concentrated. On the other hand, there are valleys throughout almost all the national space, except in the great sedimentary basins of the Llanos and the depression of the , except also in the Amazonian peneplains. By their modeling, the valleys of the Venezuelan territory belong mainly to two types: valleys of type and valleys of type. Much more frequent, the former largely dominate the latter, which are restricted to the highest parts of the Andes. Moreover, most glacial valleys are relics of a past geologic epoch, which culminated some 10,000 to 12,000 years ago. The deep and narrow Andean valleys are very different from the wide depressions of and Carabobo, in the Cordillera de la Costa, or from the valleys nestled in the Mesas de . These examples indicate that the configuration of the local relief is decisive in identifying regional types of valleys. Likewise, due to their warm climate, the Guayana valleys are distinguished from the temperate or cold by their humid environment. Both are, in turn, different from the semi-arid depressions of the states of Lara and Falcón.

The Andean valleys, essentially agricultural, precociously populated but nowadays in loss of speed, do not confront the same problems of space occupation as the strongly urbanized and industrialized valleys of the central section of the Cordillera de la Costa. On the other hand, the unpopulated and practically untouched valleys are another category this area is called the Lost World ( Mundo Perdido).

The Andean valleys are undoubtedly the most impressive of the Venezuelan territory because of the energy of the encasing reliefs, whose summits often dominate the valley bottoms by 3,000 to 3,500 of relative . They are also the most picturesque in terms of their style of habitat, forms of land use, production and all the traditions linked to these activities.

Venezuela has a great diversity of landscapes and climates,
(1986). 9780904439557, World of Information. .
including arid and dry areas. The main in the country is in the state of Falcon near the city of Coro. It is now a protected park, the Médanos de Coro National Park.
(1986). 9789806081093, Instituto de Cultura del Estado Falcón. .
The park is the largest of its kind in Venezuela, covering 91 square kilometres. The landscape is dotted with cacti and other xerophytic plants that can survive in humidity-free conditions near the desert.

Desert wildlife includes mostly lizards, and other reptiles. Although less frequent, the desert is home to some foxes, giant anteaters and rabbits. There are also some native bird populations, such as the sparrowhawk, tropical mockingbird, scaly dove and crested quail.

Other desert areas in the country include part of the Guajira Desert in the Guajira Municipality in the north of Zulia State and facing the Gulf of Venezuela, the Médanos de Capanaparo

(1993). 9789800301302, La Comisión. .
in the Santos Luzardo National Park in , the Medanos de la Isla de Zapara in Zulia State, the so-called Hundición de Yay
(2024). 9789800785485, Editorial Guaraira Repano. .
in the Andrés Eloy Blanco Municipality of Lara State, and the Urumaco Formation also in Falcón State.

Government and politics
Two major blocs of political parties are 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 grouped into the electoral coalition Mesa de la Unidad Democrática. This includes A New Era (UNT) together with allied parties Project Venezuela, , Movement for Socialism (MAS) and others.

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.

The president may ask the National Assembly to pass an enabling act granting the ability to rule by decree in specified policy areas; this requires a two-thirds majority in the Assembly. Since 1959, six Venezuelan presidents have been granted such powers.

The Venezuelan parliament is the Asamblea Nacional ("National Assembly"). The number of members is variable – each state and the Capital district elect three representatives plus the result of dividing the state population by 1.1% of the total population of the country. Three seats are reserved for representatives of Venezuela's Indigenous peoples. For the 2011–2016 period the number of seats is 165. All deputies serve five-year terms.

The voting age in Venezuela is 18. Voting is not compulsory.

The legal system of Venezuela belongs to the Continental Law tradition. The highest 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.

Suspension of constitutional rights
The 2015 parliamentary elections were held on 6 December 2015 to elect the 164 and three Indigenous representatives of the National Assembly. In 2014, a series of protest and demonstrations began in Venezuela, attributed to inflation, violence and shortages in Venezuela. The protests were largely peaceful. The government has accused the protest of being motivated by , opposition leaders, capitalism and foreign influence, President Maduro acknowledged defeat but attributed the opposition's victory to an intensification of an economic war. Despite this, Maduro said "I will stop by hook or by crook the opposition coming to power, whatever the costs, in any way". In the following months, Maduro fulfilled his promise of preventing the elected National Assembly from legislating. The first steps taken by PSUV and government were the substitution of the entire a day after the Parliamentary Elections contrary to the Constitution of Venezuela, acclaimed as a fraud by the majority of the Venezuelan and international press. The Financial Times described the function of the Supreme Court in Venezuela as "rubber stamping executive whims and vetoing legislation". The PSUV government used this violation to suspend several elected opponents. Maduro said that "the Amnesty law (approved by the Parliament) will not be executed" and asked the Supreme Court to declare it unconstitutional.

On 16 January 2016, Maduro approved an unconstitutional economic emergency decree, relegating to his own figure the legislative and executive powers, while also holding judiciary power through the fraudulent designation of judges the day after the election on 6 December 2015. From these events, Maduro effectively controls all three branches of government. On 14 May 2016, constitutional guarantees were in fact suspended when Maduro decreed the extension of the economic emergency decree for another 60 days and declared a State of Emergency, which is a clear violation of the Constitution of Venezuela in the Article 338th: "The approval of the extension of States of emergency corresponds to the National Assembly." Thus, constitutional rights in Venezuela are considered suspended in fact by many publications and public figures.

On 14 May 2016, the Organization of American States was considering the application of the Inter-American Democratic Charter sanctions for non-compliance to its own constitution.

In March 2017, the Venezuelan Supreme Court took over law making powers from the National Assembly but reversed its decision the following day.

Foreign relations
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 . In 2015, Venezuela was declared a national security threat by U.S. president . Correspondingly, ties to various Latin American and 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 Latin American television network . Venezuela is one of five nations in the world—along with Russia, Nicaragua, Nauru, and Syria—to have recognized the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Venezuela was a proponent of OAS's decision to adopt its Anti-Corruption Convention

(1999). 9781931077590, Frost & Sullivan. .
and is actively working in the trade bloc to push increased trade and energy integration. Globally, it seeks a "multi-polar" world based on strengthened ties among undeveloped countries.

On 26 April 2017, Venezuela announced its intention to withdraw from the OAS. Venezuelan Foreign Minister Delcy Rodríguez said that President Nicolás Maduro plans to publicly renounce Venezuela's membership on 27 April 2017. It will take two years for the country to formally leave. During this period, the country does not plan on participating in the OAS.

Venezuela is involved in a long-standing disagreement about the control of the area.

Venezuela may suffer a deterioration of its power in international affairs if the global transition to renewable energy is completed. It is ranked 151 out of 156 countries in the index of Geopolitical Gains and Losses after energy transition (GeGaLo).

The Bolivarian National Armed Forces of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela (Fuerza Armada Nacional Bolivariana, FANB) are the overall unified military forces of Venezuela. It includes over 320,150 men and women, under Article 328 of the Constitution, in 5 components of Ground, Sea and Air. The components of the Bolivarian National Armed Forces are: the , the , the Venezuelan Air Force, the Venezuelan National Guard, and the Venezuelan National Militia.

, 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 male citizens of Venezuela have a constitutional duty to register for the military service at 18, which is the age of majority.

Law and crime
In Venezuela, a person is murdered every 21 minutes. Violent crimes have been so prevalent in Venezuela that the government no longer produces the crime data. In 2013, the homicide rate was approximately 79 per 100,000, one of the world's highest, having quadrupled in the past 15 years with over 200,000 people murdered. By 2015, it had risen to 90 per 100,000. The capital Caracas has one of the greatest homicide rates of any large city in the world, with 122 homicides per 100,000 residents. In 2008, polls indicated that crime was the number one concern of voters. Attempts at fighting crime such as Operation Liberation of the People were implemented to crack down on gang-controlled areas but, of reported criminal acts, less than 2% are prosecuted. In 2017, the Financial Times noted that some of the arms procured by the government over the previous two decades had been diverted to paramilitary civilian groups and criminal syndicates.

Venezuela is especially dangerous for foreign travelers and investors who are visiting. The United States Department of State and the Government of Canada have warned foreign visitors that they may be subjected to robbery, kidnapping and murder, and that their own diplomatic travelers are required to travel in . The United Kingdom's Foreign and Commonwealth Office has advised against all travel to Venezuela. Visitors have been murdered during robberies.

There are approximately 33 prisons holding about 50,000 inmates. Venezuela's prison system is heavily overcrowded; its facilities have capacity for only 14,000 prisoners.

Human rights
Human rights organizations such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have increasingly criticized Venezuela's human rights record, with the former organization noting in 2017 that the Chavez and subsequently the Maduro government have increasingly concentrated power in the executive branch, eroded constitutional human rights protections and allowed the government to persecute and repress its critics and opposition. Other persistent concerns as noted by the report included poor prison conditions, the continuous harassment of independent media and human rights defenders by the government. In 2006, the Economist Intelligence Unit rated Venezuela a "hybrid regime" and the third least democratic regime in Latin America on the . The Democracy index downgraded Venezuela to an authoritarian regime in 2017, citing continued increasingly dictatorial behaviors by the Maduro government.

Corruption in Venezuela is high by world standards and was so for much of the 20th century. The discovery of oil worsened political corruption,. "From 1917, greater awareness of the country's oil potential had the pernicious effect of increasing the corruption and intrigue amongst Gomez's family and entourage, the consequences of which would be felt up to 1935." and by the late 1970s, Juan Pablo Pérez Alfonso's description of oil as "the Devil's excrement" had become a common expression in Venezuela.. "The perception of petroleum as the cause of Venezuela's corruption had become widespread during this period." Venezuela has been ranked one of the most corrupt countries on the Corruption Perceptions Index since the survey started in 1995. The 2010 ranking placed Venezuela at number 164, out of 178 ranked countries in government transparency. The truth of Pdval , El Universal, 21 January 2011. By 2016, the rank had increased to 166 out of 178. Similarly, the World Justice Project ranked Venezuela 99th out of 99 countries surveyed in its 2014 Rule of Law Index.

This corruption is shown with Venezuela's significant involvement in drug trafficking, with Colombian cocaine and other drugs transiting Venezuela towards the United States and Europe. In the period 2003–2008 Venezuelan authorities seized the fifth-largest total quantity of cocaine in the world, behind Colombia, the United States, Spain and .United Nations, World Drug Report 2010 Statistical Annex: Drug seizures In 2006, the government's agency for combating illegal drug trade in Venezuela, ONA, was incorporated into the office of the vice-president. However, many major government and military officials have been known for their involvement with drug trafficking.

Administrative divisions
Venezuela is divided into 23 states ( estados), a capital district ( distrito capital) corresponding to the city of Caracas, and the Federal Dependencies ( Dependencias Federales, a special territory). 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.

The country can be further divided into ten geographical areas, some corresponding to climatic and biogeographical regions. In the north are the and the , a mountainous tract in the northwest, holds several and valleys. East of it are lowlands abutting and the Gulf of Venezuela.

The Central Range runs parallel to the coast and includes the hills surrounding ; the Eastern Range, separated from the Central Range by the Gulf of Cariaco, covers all of Sucre and northern . The Insular Region includes all of Venezuela's island possessions: and the various Federal Dependencies. The Orinoco Delta, which forms a triangle covering , projects northeast into the Atlantic Ocean.

The country maintains a claim on the territory it calls Guyana Esequiba, the territory administered by Guyana west of the Esequibo River. In 1966 the British and Venezuelan governments signed the Geneva Agreement to resolve the conflict peacefully. The Port of Spain Protocol of 1970 set a deadline to try to resolve the issue, without success to date.

Largest cities

Venezuela has a market-based dominated by the petroleum sector, which accounts for roughly a third of GDP, around 80% of exports, and more than half of government revenues. Per capita GDP for 2016 was estimated to be US$15,100, ranking 109th in the world. Venezuela has the least expensive petrol in the world because the consumer price of petrol is heavily subsidized. The private sector controls two-thirds of Venezuela's economy.

A part of the Venezuelan economy depends on .

The Central Bank of Venezuela is responsible for developing for the Venezuelan bolívar which is used as currency. The president of the Central Bank of Venezuela serves as the country's representative in the International Monetary Fund. The U.S.-based conservative think tank The Heritage Foundation claims Venezuela has the weakest property rights in the world, scoring only 5.0 on a scale of 100; expropriation without compensation is not uncommon.

As of 2011, more than 60% of Venezuela's international reserves was in gold, eight times more than the average for the region. Most of Venezuela's gold held abroad was located in London. On 25 November 2011, the first of US$11 billion of repatriated gold bullion arrived in Caracas; Chávez called the repatriation of gold a "sovereign" step that will help protect the country's foreign reserves from the turmoil in the U.S. and Europe. However government policies quickly spent down this returned gold and in 2013 the government was forced to add the dollar reserves of state owned companies to those of the national bank to reassure the international bond market.

Manufacturing contributed 17% of GDP in 2006. Venezuela manufactures and exports heavy industry products such as steel, aluminium and cement, with production concentrated around , near the , one of the largest in the world and the provider of about three-quarters of Venezuela's electricity. Other notable manufacturing includes and , as well as beverages, and . Agriculture in Venezuela accounts for approximately 3% of GDP, 10% of the labor force, and at least a quarter of Venezuela's land area. The country is not self-sufficient in most areas of agriculture.

Since the discovery of oil in the early 20th century, Venezuela has been one of the world's leading exporters of oil, and it is a founding member of . Previously an underdeveloped exporter of agricultural commodities, oil quickly came to dominate exports and government revenues. The 1980s oil glut led to an external debt crisis and a long-running economic crisis, which saw inflation peak at 100% in 1996. The 1990s also saw Venezuela experience a major banking crisis in 1994.

The recovery of oil prices after 2001 boosted the Venezuelan economy and facilitated social spending. With social programs such as the Bolivarian Missions, Venezuela initially made progress in social development in the 2000s, particularly in areas such as health, education, and poverty. Many of the social policies pursued by Chávez and his administration were jump-started by the Millennium Development Goals, eight goals that Venezuela and 188 other nations agreed to in September 2000. "The Millennium Development Goals Report 2011". United Nations. 2011. Web. 2 April 2012. The sustainability of the Bolivarian Missions has been questioned due to the Bolivarian state's overspending on public works and because the Chávez government did not save funds for future economic hardships, with economic issues and poverty rising as a result of their policies in the 2010s. In 2003 the government of Hugo Chávez implemented currency controls after capital flight led to a devaluation of the currency. This led to the development of a parallel market of dollars in the subsequent years. The fallout of the 2008 global financial crisis saw a renewed economic downturn. Despite controversial data shared by the Venezuelan government showing that the country had halved malnutrition following one of the UN's Millennium Development Goals, shortages of staple goods began to occur in Venezuela and malnutrition began to increase. is one of Venezuela's top tourist attractions and the world's highest waterfall, located in the Canaima National Park.]]

In early 2013, Venezuela devalued its currency due to growing shortages in the country. The shortages included, and still include, necessities such as toilet paper, milk, and flour. Fears rose so high due to the toilet paper shortage that the government occupied a toilet paper factory, and continued plans to nationalize other industrial aspects like food distribution. Venezuela's bond ratings have also decreased multiple times in 2013 due to decisions by the president Nicolás Maduro. In 2016, consumer prices in Venezuela increased 800% and the economy declined by 18.6%, entering an economic depression. Venezuela's outlook was deemed negative by most bond-rating services in 2017. For 2018 an inflation rate of 1,000,000 percent was projected, putting Venezuela in a similar situation to that in Germany in 1923 or Zimbabwe in the late 2000s.

Tourism has been developed considerably in recent decades, particularly because of its favorable geographical position, the variety of landscapes, the richness of plant and , the culture and the tropical climate.

is one of the top tourist destinations. It is an island with a modern infrastructure, bordered by beaches suitable for extreme sports, and features castles, fortresses and churches of great cultural value.

Los Roques Archipelago is made up of a set of islands and keys that constitute one of the main tourist attractions in the country. With exotic crystalline beaches, Morrocoy is a national park, formed by small keys very close to the mainland, which have grown rapidly as one of the greatest tourist attractions in the Venezuelan Caribbean.

(1997). 9781556508004, Hunter Publishing, Inc. .
Canaima National Park
(2024). 9781317854661, Routledge. .
extends over 30,000 km2 to the border with Guyana and Brazil; due to its size it is considered the sixth largest national park in the world. Its steep cliffs and waterfalls (including Angel Falls, which is the highest waterfall in the world, at 1,002 m) form spectacular landscapes.

The state of Mérida is one of the main tourist centers of Venezuela. It has an extensive network of hotels not only in its capital city, but also throughout the state. Starting from the same city of Mérida is the longest and highest cable car in the world, which reaches the Pico Espejo of 4,765 m.

in Venezuela have been prevalent following the enactment of price controls and other policies during the economic policy of the Hugo Chávez government. Under the economic policy of the Nicolás Maduro government, greater shortages occurred due to the Venezuelan government's policy of withholding United States dollars from importers with price controls. occur in regulated products, such as milk, various types of meat, coffee, rice, oil, flour, butter, and other goods including basic necessities like toilet paper, personal hygiene products, and even medicine. As a result of the shortages, Venezuelans must search for food, wait in lines for hours and sometimes do without certain products.

A drought, combined with a lack of planning and maintenance, has caused a hydroelectricity shortage. To deal with lack of power supply, in April 2016 the Maduro government announced rolling blackouts Venezuela Announces Daily 4-Hour Power Cuts Amid Drought : The Two-Way . NPR (22 April 2016). Retrieved on 15 June 2016. and reduced the government to only Monday and Tuesday. Venezuela Cuts Public Employees' Workweek To 2 Days To Save Energy : The Two-Way . NPR (27 April 2016). Retrieved on 15 June 2016. A multi-university study found that, in 2016 alone, about 75% of Venezuelans lost weight due to hunger, with the average losing about 8.6 kg (19 lbs) due to the lack of food. In March 2017, Venezuela began having shortages of gasoline in some regions.

Petroleum and other resources
Venezuela has the largest oil reserves, and the eighth largest natural gas reserves in the world., Energy Information Administration. Last Update: 30 June 2010. Compared to the preceding year another 40.4% in crude oil reserves were proven in 2010, allowing Venezuela to surpass Saudi Arabia as the country with the largest reserves of this type. Venezuela oil reserves topped Saudis in 2010:OPEC . Market Watch. 18 July 2011 The country's main petroleum deposits are located around and beneath Lake Maracaibo, the Gulf of Venezuela (both in ), and in the Orinoco River basin (eastern Venezuela), where the country's largest reserve is located. Besides the largest conventional oil reserves and the second-largest natural gas reserves in the Western Hemisphere, Venezuela has non-conventional oil deposits (extra-heavy crude oil, and ) approximately equal to the world's reserves of conventional oil. The electricity sector in Venezuela is one of the few to rely primarily on , and includes the Guri Dam, one of the largest in the world.

In the first half of the 20th century, U.S. oil companies were heavily involved in Venezuela, initially interested only in purchasing concessions. In 1943 a new government introduced a 50/50 split in profits between the government and the oil industry. In 1960, with a newly installed democratic government, Hydrocarbons Minister Juan Pablo Pérez Alfonso led the creation of OPEC, the consortium of oil-producing countries aiming to support the price of oil.

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. In the 1990s PDVSA became more independent from the government and presided over an apertura (opening) in which it invited in foreign investment. Under Hugo Chávez a 2001 law placed limits on foreign investment. PDVSA played a key role in the December 2002 – February 2003 national strike. As a result of the strike, around 40% of the company's workforce (around 18,000 workers) were dismissed.

Venezuela is connected to the world primarily via air (Venezuela's airports include the Simón Bolívar International Airport in Maiquetía, near Caracas and La Chinita International Airport near ) and sea (with major seaports at La Guaira, Maracaibo and ). In the south and east the Amazon rainforest region has limited cross-border transport; in the west, there is a mountainous border of over shared with Colombia. The River is navigable by oceangoing vessels up to inland and connects the major industrial city of Ciudad Guayana to the Atlantic Ocean.

Venezuela has a limited national railway system, which has no active rail connections to other countries. The government of Hugo Chávez tried to invest in expanding it, but Venezuela's rail project is on hold due to Venezuela not being able to pay the $7.5 billion and owing nearly $500 million. Several major cities have metro systems; the Caracas Metro has been operating since 1983. The and Valencia Metro were opened more recently. Venezuela has a road network of nearly , placing the country around 45th in the world; Country Comparison :: Roadways . The World Factbook. around a third of roads are paved.

Venezuela is among the most urbanized countries in Latin America; the vast majority of Venezuelans live in the cities of the north, especially in the capital Caracas, which is also the largest city. About 93% of the population lives in urban areas in northern Venezuela; 73% live less than from the coastline. Though almost half of Venezuela's land area lies south of the Orinoco, only 5% of Venezuelans live there. The largest and most important city south of the Orinoco is , which is the sixth most populous . Other major cities include , Valencia, , , Barcelona-Puerto La Cruz, Mérida and San Cristóbal.

According to the total population was in . A 2014 study by sociologists of the Central University of Venezuela found over 1.5 million Venezuelans, or about 4% to 6% of the country's population, have left Venezuela since 1999.

The people of Venezuela come from a variety of ancestries. It is estimated that the majority of the population is of , or mixed, ethnic ancestry. In the 2011 census, which Venezuelans were asked to identify themselves according to their customs and ancestry, the term pardo was excluded from the answers. The majority claimed to be moreno or —51.6% and 43.6%, respectively. Practically half of the population claimed to be , a term used throughout Ibero-America that in this case means "dark-skinned" or "brown-skinned", as opposed to having a .

Ethnic minorities in Venezuela consist of groups that descend mainly from African or Indigenous peoples; 2.8% identified themselves as "black" and 0.7% as afrodescendiente (Afro-descendant), 2.6% claimed to belong to Indigenous peoples, and 1.2% answered "other races".

Among Indigenous people, 58% were Wayúu, 7% , 5% Kariña, 4% , 3% , 3% , 3% Añu, 3% Cumanágoto, 2% , 2% and 1% ; the remaining 9% consisted of other Indigenous nations.

According to an autosomal DNA study conducted in 2008 by the University of Brasília, the composition of Venezuela's population is 60.60% European, 23% Indigenous, and 16.30% African.

During the colonial period and until after the Second World War, many of the European immigrants to Venezuela came from the and Spain with a relevant amount of and . These immigrants from had a significant cultural impact on the cuisine and customs of Venezuela. These influences on Venezuela have led to the nation being called the 8th island of the Canaries. With the start of oil exploitation in the early 20th century, companies from the United States began establishing operations in Venezuela, bringing with them U.S. citizens. Later, during and after the war, new waves of immigrants from other parts of Europe, the Middle East, and China began; many were encouraged by government-established immigration programs and lenient immigration policies. During the 20th century, Venezuela, along with the rest of Latin America, received millions of immigrants from Europe. This was especially true post-World War II, as a consequence of war-ridden Europe. During the 1970s, while experiencing an oil-export boom, Venezuela received millions of immigrants from Ecuador, Colombia, and the Dominican Republic. Due to the belief that this immigration influx depressed wages, some Venezuelans opposed European immigration. The Venezuelan government, however, were actively recruiting immigrants from Eastern Europe to fill a need for engineers. Millions of Colombians, as well as Middle Eastern and Haitian populations would continue immigrating to Venezuela into the early 21st century.

According to the World Refugee Survey 2008, published by the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, Venezuela hosted a population of and asylum seekers from Colombia numbering 252,200 in 2007, and 10,600 new asylum seekers entered Venezuela in 2007. Between 500,000 and one million illegal immigrants are estimated to be living in the country. Venezuela – Population. U.S. Library of Congress.

The total Indigenous population of the country is estimated at 500 thousand people (2.8% of the total), distributed among 40 Indigenous peoples. > Censos de población y vivienda . INE (23 February 2012). Retrieved on 16 April 2012. There are three uncontacted tribes living in Venezuela. The Constitution recognizes the multi-ethnic, pluri-cultural, and multilingual character of the country and includes a chapter devoted to Indigenous peoples' rights, which opened up spaces for their political inclusion at national and local level in 1999. Most Indigenous peoples are concentrated in eight states along Venezuela's borders with Brazil, Guyana, and Colombia, and the majority groups are the in the west, the in the east, the installed in the south, and the which are mostly in the southeast of Venezuela.

Although most residents are monolingual Spanish speakers, many languages are spoken in Venezuela. In addition to Spanish, the Constitution recognizes more than thirty Indigenous languages, including , , , and many others for the official use of the Indigenous peoples, mostly with few speakers – less than 1% of the total population. Wayuu is the most spoken Indigenous language, with 170,000 speakers. Immigrants, in addition to Spanish, speak their own languages. Chinese (400,000), Portuguese (254,000), and Italian (200,000) are the most-spoken languages in Venezuela after the official language of Spanish. Arabic is spoken by Lebanese and Syrian colonies on , Maracaibo, , Puerto la Cruz, El Tigre, , and Caracas. Portuguese is spoken not only by the Portuguese community in Santa Elena de Uairén but also by much of the population due to its proximity to Brazil. The German community speaks their native language, while the people of speak mostly an dialect of German called alemán coloniero.

English is the most widely used foreign language in demand and is spoken by many professionals, academics, and members of the upper and middle classes as a result of the oil exploration by foreign companies, in addition to its acceptance as a . Culturally, English is common in southern towns like El Callao, and the native English-speaking influence is evident in folk and calypso songs from the region. English was brought to Venezuela by and other British West Indies immigrants.

(2012). 9781857336610, Kuperard. .
A variety of is spoken by a small community in El Callao and . Italian language teaching is delivered by private Venezuelan schools and institutions. Other languages spoken by large communities in the country are and Galician, among others.

According to a 2011 poll, 88% of the population is Christian, primarily (71%), and the remaining 17% , primarily (in Latin America Protestants are usually called "evangélicos"). 8% of Venezuelans are irreligious. Almost 3% of the population follow another religion (1% of these people practice Santería).

There are small but influential , ,. , and Jewish communities. The Muslim community of more than 100,000 is concentrated among persons of and descent living in state, and the area. Venezuela is home of the largest Druze communities outside the Middle East, the community are estimated around 60,000, and concentrated among persons of and descent.: Referring governor Tareck El Aissami. Buddhism is practiced by over 52,000 people. The Buddhist community is made up mainly of Chinese, Japanese, and Korean people.

The Jewish community has shrunk in recent years due to rising economic pressures and antisemitism in Venezuela, Annual Report 2004: Venezuela. Stephen Roth Institute. Accessed 11 August 2006.Berrios, Jerry. S. Fla. Venezuelans: Chavez incites anti-Semitism. Miami Herald, 10 August 2006. The Chavez Regime: Fostering Anti-Semitism and Supporting Radical Islam. Anti-Defamation League, 6 November 2006. Accessed 3 April 2008. with the population declining from 22,000 in 1999 to less than 7,000 in 2015.

Venezuela has a national universal health care system. The current government has created a program to expand access to health care known as Misión Barrio Adentro, although its efficiency and work conditions have been criticized. As of December 2014 an estimated 80% of Barrio Adentro establishments in Venezuela are abandoned.Matheus, Ricardo. Abandonados 70% de módulos de BA Diario 2001 (29 July 2007).

in Venezuela was 19 deaths per 1,000 births for 2014 which was lower than the South American average (To compare: The U.S. figure was 6 deaths per 1,000 births in 2013). Child was 17%. and Amazonas had the nation's highest rates.. According to the United Nations, 32% of Venezuelans lacked adequate sanitation, primarily those living in rural areas. Venezuela . Diseases ranging from , plague, , fever, , , , , and were present in the country. Venezuela Guardian. 25 October 2006. Retrieved 20 September 2006. was prevalent in approximately 30% of the adult population.

Venezuela had a total of 150 sewage treatment plants; 13% of the population lacked access to drinking water, but this number had been dropping.

During the economic crisis observed under President Maduro's presidency, medical professionals were forced to perform outdated treatments on patients.

In 2008, 95.2% of the adult population was literate. The net primary school enrollment rate was at 91% and the net secondary school enrollment rate was at 63% in 2005. Venezuela has a number of universities, of which the most prestigious are the Central University of Venezuela founded in 1721, the University of Zulia, the University of the Andes, Simón Bolívar University, and the University of the East.

Currently, many Venezuelan graduates seek a future abroad because of the country's troubled economy and heavy crime rate. Over 1.35 million Venezuelan college graduates have left the country since the beginning of the Bolivarian Revolution. It is believed that nearly 12% of Venezuelans live abroad, with Ireland becoming a popular destination for students. According to Claudio Bifano, president of the Venezuelan Academy of Physical, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences, more than half of all medical graduates had left Venezuela in 2013.

By 2018, over half of all Venezuelan children had of school, with 58% of students quitting nationwide while areas near bordering countries saw more than 80% of their students leave. Nationwide, about 93% of schools do not meet the minimum requirements to operate and 77% do not have utilities such as food, water or electricity.

The culture of Venezuela is a melting pot made up of three main groups: The Indigenous Venezuelans, the Africans, and the Spanish.

The Africans brought in many musical influences, especially introduction of the drum. The Spanish influence predominantes due to the colonization process and the socioeconomic structure it created. Spanish influences can be seen in the country's architecture, music, religion, and language.

Venezuela was also enriched by immigration streams of Indian and European origin in the 19th century, especially from France. Most recently, immigration from the United States, Spain, Italy, and Portugal has enriched the already complex cultural mosaic.

Carlos Raúl Villanueva
(2024). 9789800023365, CDCH UCV. .
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 , the Teresa Carreño Cultural Complex, and the General Rafael Urdaneta Bridge. In Venezuela, man began to build useful architecture from approximately 1000 BC to the 15th century AD, in the period known as the "Neo-Indian". Neo-Indian architecture consisted of incipient constructions, such as agricultural terraces and vaults lined by stones, called mintoyes, which were used as tombs and silos for the storage of agricultural products. The Indo-Hispanic architecture is the one that begins to develop from the year 1498 AD.
(2016). 9788416687138, Editorial Alfa. .
Venezuelan colonial architecture is built from the 16th century, when Venezuela began to be a dependent colony of the , until 1810, when the process of Venezuelan independence began. The architecture of this period is characterized by its discreet modesty, with the exception of some cities. The explanation lies in the socioeconomic conditions of the . Venezuela did not offer then to the colonizers the immense riches kept by nature for later times. The simplification of technical problems, the renunciation of most of the decorative elements and variegated ostentations of fanciful baroque, the impossibility of using materials and the consequent lack of craftsmen, contributed to establish a modest but well-defined physiognomy of the colonial architecture of Venezuela. During the period, there were eventually confrontations between the Spanish conquerors and the barbarians and pirates that sailed along the Venezuelan coasts, in order to take over the provinces located on the coasts of the country.

temples from the colonial era were constituted by an almost invariable, arrangement consisting of a rectangular plan, three naves separated by arches of alfarje roofing composed of religious architecture in colonial times. The Venezuelan society dedicated a great amount of resources to erect religious monuments comparable to those of other countries of the continent. The XVII century was of reconstruction of the that had been destroyed by the earthquake of 1641. In the 18th century, specifically between 1728 and 1785, the prosperity that Venezuela enjoyed due to the opening of the Compañía Guipuzcoana de Caracas

(1990). 9788471731562, Sociedad Guipuzcoana de Ediciones y Publicaciones. .
was also reflected in the construction of new architecture, especially of a religious nature.

was initially dominated by religious motifs. However, in the late 19th century, artists began emphasizing historical and heroic representations of the country's struggle for independence. This move was led by Martín Tovar y Tovar. took over in the 20th century. Notable Venezuelan artists include , Cristóbal Rojas, Armando Reverón, Manuel Cabré; the Jesús Soto, and ; and contemporary artists such as and .

Venezuelan literature originated soon after the Spanish conquest of the mostly pre-literate Indigenous societies. It was originally dominated by Spanish influences. Following the rise of political literature during the Venezuelan War of Independence, Venezuelan , 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 (He was also a childhood tutor and mentor of Simón Bolívar). Others, such as Laureano Vallenilla Lanz and José Gil Fortoul, contributed to Venezuelan .

The Indigenous musical styles of Venezuela are exemplified by groups like Un Solo Pueblo and Serenata Guayanesa. The national musical instrument is the cuatro. Traditional musical styles and songs mainly emerged in and around the llanos region, including "Alma llanera" (by Pedro Elías Gutiérrez and Rafael Bolívar Coronado), "Florentino y el diablo" (by Alberto Arvelo Torrealba), "Concierto en la llanura" by Juan Vicente Torrealba, and (by Simón Díaz).

The is also a very popular genre, generally performed during Christmas. The national dance is the . Venezuela has always been a melting pot of cultures and this can be seen in the richness and variety of its musical styles and dances: , , fulía, cantos de pilado de maíz, cantos de lavanderas, sebucán, and maremare. Teresa Carreño was a world-famous 19th century piano virtuoso. Recently, great classical music performances have come out of Venezuela. The Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra has hosted a number of excellent concerts in many European concert halls, most notably at the 2007 London , and has received several honors. The orchestra is the pinnacle of , a publicly financed, voluntary music education program now being emulated in other countries.

In the early 21st century, a movement known as "Movida Acústica Urbana" featured musicians trying to save some national traditions, creating their own original songs but using traditional instruments. Some groups following this movement are Tambor Urbano,

(2024). 9781135900083, Routledge.
Los Sinverguenzas, C4Trío, and Orozco Jam.
(2024). 9781472412669, Ashgate Publishing.

Afro-Venezuelan musical traditions are most intimately related to the festivals of the "black folk saints" San Juan and St. Benedict the Moor. Specific songs are related to the different stages of their festivals and processions, when the saints start their yearly " paseo" – stroll – through the community.

The origins of baseball in Venezuela are unclear, although it is known that the sport was being played in the country by the late 19th century. In the early 20th century, North American immigrants who came to Venezuela to work in the nation's oil industry helped to popularize the sport in Venezuela. During the 1930s, baseball's popularity continued to rise in the country, leading to the foundation of the Venezuelan Professional Baseball League (LVBP) in 1945, and the sport would soon become the nation's most popular.

The popularity of baseball in the country makes Venezuela a rarity among its South American neighbors—association football is the dominant sport in the continent. However, football, as well as , are among the more popular sports played in Venezuela. Venezuela hosted the 2012 Basketball World Olympic Qualifying Tournament and the 2013 FIBA Basketball Americas Championship, which took place in the Poliedro de Caracas.

Although not as popular in Venezuela as the rest of South America, football, spearheaded by the Venezuela national football team is gaining popularity as well. The sport is also noted for having an increased focus during the World Cup. Venezuela is scheduled to host the Copa América every 40 years.

Venezuela is also home to former Formula 1 driver, . Maldonado has increased the reception of Formula 1 in Venezuela, helping to popularize the sport in the country.

, popularly known as the "Vinotinto"|257x257px]]In the 2012 Summer Olympics, Rubén Limardo won a gold medal in fencing.

In the Winter Sports, had represented the country since 2008 in Nordic Skiing, the first South American skier to compete in a FIS Cross Country Ski World Cup on Düsseldorf 2009.


See also
  • Index of Venezuela-related articles
  • Outline of Venezuela
  • Crime in Venezuela
  • Operation Gideon (2020)



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