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South America :: Venezuela
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  • Introduction :: VENEZUELA

  • Venezuela was one of three countries that emerged from the collapse of Gran Colombia in 1830 (the others being Ecuador and New Granada, which became Colombia). For most of the first half of the 20th century, Venezuela was ruled by generally benevolent military strongmen, who promoted the oil industry and allowed for some social reforms. Democratically elected governments have held sway since 1959. Under Hugo CHAVEZ, president from 1999 to 2013, and his hand-picked successor, President Nicolas MADURO, the executive branch has excersised increasingly authoritarian control over other branches of government. At the same time, democratic institutions have deteriorated, threats to freedom of expression have increased, and political polarization has grown. The ruling party's economic policies have expanded the state's role in the economy through expropriations of major enterprises, strict currency exchange and price controls that discourage private sector investment and production, and overdependence on the petroleum industry for revenues, among others. Current concerns include: an increasingly politicized military, rampant violent crime, high inflation, and widespread shortages of basic consumer goods, medicine, and medical supplies. Venezuela assumed a nonpermanent seat on the UN Security Council for the 2015-16 term.
  • Geography :: VENEZUELA

  • Northern South America, bordering the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, between Colombia and Guyana
    8 00 N, 66 00 W
    South America
    total: 912,050 sq km
    land: 882,050 sq km
    water: 30,000 sq km
    almost six times the size of Georgia; slightly more than twice the size of California
    Area comparison map:
    total: 5,267 km
    border countries (3): Brazil 2,137 km, Colombia 2,341 km, Guyana 789 km
    2,800 km
    territorial sea: 12 nm
    contiguous zone: 15 nm
    exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
    continental shelf: 200 m depth or to the depth of exploitation
    tropical; hot, humid; more moderate in highlands
    Andes Mountains and Maracaibo Lowlands in northwest; central plains (llanos); Guiana Highlands in southeast
    lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m
    highest point: Pico Bolivar 5,007 m
    petroleum, natural gas, iron ore, gold, bauxite, other minerals, hydropower, diamonds
    agricultural land: 24.5%
    arable land 3.1%; permanent crops 0.8%; permanent pasture 20.6%
    forest: 52.1%
    other: 23.4% (2011 est.)
    10,550 sq km (2008)
    1,233 cu km (2011)
    total: 9.06 cu km/yr (23%/4%/74%)
    per capita: 358.6 cu m/yr (2008)
    subject to floods, rockslides, mudslides; periodic droughts
    sewage pollution of Lago de Valencia; oil and urban pollution of Lago de Maracaibo; deforestation; soil degradation; urban and industrial pollution, especially along the Caribbean coast; threat to the rainforest ecosystem from irresponsible mining operations
    party to: Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands
    signed but not ratified:: none of the selected agreements
    on major sea and air routes linking North and South America; Angel Falls in the Guiana Highlands is the world's highest waterfall
  • People and Society :: VENEZUELA

  • noun: Venezuelan(s)
    adjective: Venezuelan
    Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Arab, German, African, indigenous people
    Spanish (official), numerous indigenous dialects
    nominally Roman Catholic 96%, Protestant 2%, other 2%
    Social investment in Venezuela during the CHAVEZ administration reduced poverty from nearly 50 % in 1999 to about 27 % in 2011, increased school enrollment, substantially decreased infant and child mortality, and improved access to potable water and sanitation through social investment. "Missions" dedicated to education, nutrition, healthcare, and sanitation were funded through petroleum revenues. The sustainability of this progress remains questionable, however, as the continuation of these social programs depends on the prosperity of Venezuela's oil industry. In the long-term, education and health care spending may increase economic growth and reduce income inequality, but rising costs and the staffing of new health care jobs with foreigners are slowing development.
    Since CHAVEZ came to power in 1999, more than one million predominantly middle- and upper-class Venezuelans are estimated to have emigrated. The brain drain is attributed to a repressive political system, lack of economic opportunities, steep inflation, a high crime rate, and corruption. Thousands of oil engineers emigrated to Canada, Colombia, and the United States following Chavez's firing of over 20,000 employees of the state-owned petroleum company during a 2002-2003 oil strike. Additionally, thousands of Venezuelans of European descent have taken up residence in their ancestral homelands. Nevertheless, Venezuela continues to attract immigrants from South America and southern Europe because of its lenient migration policy and the availability of education and health care. Venezuela also has been a fairly accommodating host to more than 200,000 Colombian refugees.
    28,868,486 (July 2014 est.)
    0-14 years: 28.2% (male 4,143,840/female 3,985,489)
    15-24 years: 18.8% (male 2,723,856/female 2,697,672)
    25-54 years: 39.6% (male 5,614,922/female 5,818,903)
    55-64 years: 7.5% (male 1,030,898/female 1,137,894)
    65 years and over: 5.9% (male 755,183/female 959,829) (2014 est.)
    population pyramid:
    total dependency ratio: 52.9%
    youth dependency ratio: 43.2%
    elderly dependency ratio: 9.8%
    potential support ratio: 10.2% (2014 est.)
    total: 26.9 years
    male: 26.1 years
    female: 27.6 years (2014 est.)
    1.42% (2014 est.)
    19.42 births/1,000 population (2014 est.)
    5.27 deaths/1,000 population (2014 est.)
    0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2014 est.)
    urban population: 88.9% of total population (2014)
    rate of urbanization: 1.54% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
    CARACAS (capital) 2.912 million; Maracaibo 2.164 million; Valencia 1.711 million; Barquisimeto 1.034 million; Maracay 1.146 million (2014)
    at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
    0-14 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
    15-24 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
    25-54 years: 0.97 male(s)/female
    55-64 years: 0.98 male(s)/female
    65 years and over: 0.79 male(s)/female
    total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2014 est.)
    110 deaths/100,000 live births (2013 est.)
    total: 19.33 deaths/1,000 live births
    male: 22.73 deaths/1,000 live births
    female: 15.75 deaths/1,000 live births (2014 est.)
    total population: 74.39 years
    male: 71.26 years
    female: 77.67 years (2014 est.)
    2.35 children born/woman (2014 est.)
    3.6% of GDP (2013)
    0.9 beds/1,000 population (2011)
    urban: 94.3% of population
    rural: 75.3% of population
    total: 92.9% of population
    urban: 5.7% of population
    rural: 24.7% of population
    total: 7.1% of population (2007 est.)
    urban: 93.6% of population
    rural: 56.9% of population
    total: 90.9% of population
    urban: 6.4% of population
    rural: 43.1% of population
    total: 9.1% of population (2007 est.)
    0.56% (2013 est.)
    101,900 (2013 est.)
    4,400 (2013 est.)
    degree of risk: high
    food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea and hepatitis A
    vectorborne diseases: dengue fever and malaria (2013)
    24.3% (2014)
    2.9% (2009)
    6.9% of GDP (2009)
    definition: age 15 and over can read and write
    total population: 96.3%
    male: 96.4%
    female: 96.2% (2015 est.)
    total: 14 years
    13 years
    15 years (2008)
    total number: 404,092
    percentage: 8% (2000 est.)
    total: 17.1%
    male: 14.3%
    female: 22.6% (2012 est.)
  • Government :: VENEZUELA

  • conventional long form: Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela
    conventional short form: Venezuela
    local long form: Republica Bolivariana de Venezuela
    local short form: Venezuela
    federal republic
    name: Caracas
    geographic coordinates: 10 29 N, 66 52 W
    time difference: UTC-4.5 (a half hour ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
    23 states (estados, singular - estado), 1 capital district* (distrito capital), and 1 federal dependency** (dependencia federal); Amazonas, Anzoategui, Apure, Aragua, Barinas, Bolivar, Carabobo, Cojedes, Delta Amacuro, Dependencias Federales (Federal Dependencies)**, Distrito Capital (Capital District)*, Falcon, Guarico, Lara, Merida, Miranda, Monagas, Nueva Esparta, Portuguesa, Sucre, Tachira, Trujillo, Vargas, Yaracuy, Zulia
    note: the federal dependency consists of 11 federally controlled island groups with a total of 72 individual islands
    5 July 1811 (from Spain)
    Independence Day, 5 July (1811)
    many previous; latest adopted 15 December 1999, effective 30 December 1999; amended 2009 (2013)
    civil law system based on the Spanish civil code
    has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCT jurisdiction
    18 years of age; universal
    chief of state: President Nicolas MADURO Moros (since 19 April 2013); Executive Vice President Jorge Alberto ARREAZA Montserrat (since 19 April 2013); note - the president is both chief of state and head of government
    head of government: President Nicolas MADURO Moros (since 19 April 2013); Executive Vice President Jorge Alberto ARREAZA Montserrat (since 19 April 2013)
    cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president
    elections: president elected by popular vote for a six-year term (eligible for unlimited terms); election last held on 14 April 2013; note - this was a special election held following the 5 March 2013 death of President Hugo CHAVEZ Frias; the next scheduled presidential election expected in late 2018 or early 2019 pending official convocation by the country's electoral body)
    note: in 1999, a National Constituent Assembly drafted a new constitution that increased the presidential term to six years; an election was subsequently held on 30 July 2000 under the terms of this constitution; in 2009, a national referendum approved the elimination of term limits on all elected officials, including the presidency
    election results: Nicolas MADURO Moros elected president; percent of vote - Nicolas MADURO Moros 50.61%, Henrique CAPRILES Radonski 49.12%, other 0.24%
    description: unicameral National Assembly or Asamblea Nacional (as of 23 April 2015, 165 seats; 110 members directly elected in single- and multi-seat constituencies by simple majority vote, 52 directly elected in multi-seat constituencies by proportional representation vote, and 3 seats reserved for indigenous peoples of Venezuela; members serve 5-year terms)
    elections: last held on 26 September 2010 (next expected to be held in late 2015)
    election results: percent of vote by party - pro-government 48.9%, opposition coalition 47.9%, other 3.2%; seats by party - pro-government 99, opposition 65, other 1
    highest court(s): Supreme Tribunal of Justice (consists of 32 judges organized into six divisions - constitutional, political administrative, electoral, civil appeals, criminal appeals, and social (mainly agrarian and labor issues)
    judge selection and term of office: judges proposed by the Committee of Judicial Postulation (an independent body of organizations dealing with legal issues and of the organs of citizen power) and appointed by the National Assembly; judges serve non-renewable 12-year terms
    subordinate courts: Superior or Appeals Courts (Tribunales Superiores); District Tribunals (Tribunales de Distrito); Courts of First Instance (Tribunales de Primera Instancia); Parish Courts (Tribunales de Parroquia); Justices of the Peace (Justicia de Paz) Network
    A New Time or UNT [Enrique MARQUEZ]
    Brave People's Alliance or ABP [Richard BLANCO]
    Christian Democrats or COPEI [Roberto ENRIQUEZ]
    Coalition of opposition parties -- The Democratic Unity Table or MUD [Jesus "Chuo" TORREALBA]
    Communist Party of Venezuela or PCV [Oscar FIGUERA]
    Democratic Action or AD [Henry RAMOS ALLUP]
    Fatherland for All or PPT [Rafael UZCATEGUI]
    For Social Democracy or PODEMOS [Didalco Antonio BOLIVAR GRATEROL]
    Justice First or PJ [Julio BORGES]
    Movement Toward Socialism or MAS [Segundo MELENDEZ]
    Popular Will or VP [Leopoldo LOPEZ]
    Progressive Wave or AP [Henri FALCON]
    The Radical Cause or La Causa R [Americo DE GRAZIA]
    United Socialist Party of Venezuela or PSUV [Nicolas MADURO]
    Venezuelan Progressive Movement or MPV [Simon CALZADILLA]
    Venezuela Project or PV [Henrique Fernando SALAS FEO]
    Bolivarian and Socialist Workers' Union (a ruling-party-oriented organized labor union)
    Confederacion Venezolana de Industriales or Coindustria (a conservative business group)
    Consejos Comunales (pro-government local communal councils)
    FEDECAMARAS (a conservative business group)
    Union of Oil Workers of Venezuela or FUTPV
    Venezuelan Confederation of Workers or CTV (opposition-oriented labor organization)
    other: various civil society groups and human rights organizations
    Caricom (observer), CD, CDB, CELAC, FAO, G-15, G-24, G-77, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (national committees), ICCt (signatory), ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), LAES, LAIA, LAS (observer), Mercosur, MIGA, NAM, OAS, OPANAL, OPCW, OPEC, PCA, Petrocaribe, UN, UN Security Council (temporary), UNASUR, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, Union Latina, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
    chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d'Affaires Maximilien SANCHEZ Arvelaiz (since July 2014)
    chancery: 1099 30th Street NW, Washington, DC 20007
    telephone: [1] (202) 342-2214
    FAX: [1] (202) 342-6820
    consulate(s) general: Boston, Chicago, Houston, New Orleans, New York, San Francisco, San Juan (Puerto Rico)
    chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d'Affaires Lee MCCLENNY (July 2014)
    embassy: Calle F con Calle Suapure, Urbanizacion Colinas de Valle Arriba, Caracas 1080
    mailing address: P. O. Box 62291, Caracas 1060-A; APO AA 34037
    telephone: [58] (212) 975-6411, 907-8400 (after hours)
    FAX: [58] (212) 907-8199
    three equal horizontal bands of yellow (top), blue, and red with the coat of arms on the hoist side of the yellow band and an arc of eight white five-pointed stars centered in the blue band; the flag retains the three equal horizontal bands and three main colors of the banner of Gran Colombia, the South American republic that broke up in 1830; yellow is interpreted as standing for the riches of the land, blue for the courage of its people, and red for the blood shed in attaining independence; the seven stars on the original flag represented the seven provinces in Venezuela that united in the war of independence; in 2006, then President Hugo CHAVEZ ordered an eighth star added to the star arc - a decision that sparked much controversy - to conform with the flag proclaimed by Simon Bolivar in 1827 and to represent the historic province of Guayana
    troupial (bird); national colors: yellow, blue, red
    name: "Gloria al bravo pueblo" (Glory to the Brave People)
    lyrics/music: Vicente SALIAS/Juan Jose LANDAETA
    note: adopted 1881; lyrics written in 1810, the music some years later; both SALIAS and LANDAETA were executed in 1814 during Venezuela's struggle for independence
  • Economy :: VENEZUELA

  • Venezuela remains highly dependent on oil revenues, which account for roughly 96% of export earnings, about 40% of government revenues, and 11% of GDP. The country ended 2014 with an estimated 4% contraction in its GDP, 68.4% inflation, widespread shortages of consumer goods, and declining central bank international reserves. The International Monetary Fund forecasts that the GDP will shrink another 7% in 2015 and inflation may reach 80%. Under President Nicolas MADURO, the Venezuelan government’s response to the economic crisis been to increase state control over the economy and blame the private sector for the shortages. The Venezuelan government has maintained strict currency controls since 2003. Currently, three official currency exchange mechanisms are in place for the sale of dollars to private sector firms and individuals, with rates based on the government's import priorities. These currency controls present significant obstacles to trade with Venezuela because importers cannot obtain sufficient dollars to purchase goods needed to maintain their operations. MADURO has used decree powers to enact legislation to deepen the state’s role as the primary buyer and marketer of imports, further tighten currency controls, cap business profits, and extend price controls. Falling oil prices since 2014 have aggravated Venezuela’s economic crisis. Insufficient access to dollars, price controls, and rigid labor regulations have led some US and multinational firms to reduce or shut down their Venezuelan operations. High costs for oil production and state oil company PDVSA’s poor cash flow have slowed investment in the petroleum sector, resulting in a decline in oil production.
    $545.7 billion (2014 est.)
    $562.6 billion (2013 est.)
    $555.1 billion (2012 est.)
    note: data are in 2014 US dollars
    $209.2 billion (2014 est.)
    -3% (2014 est.)
    1.3% (2013 est.)
    5.6% (2012 est.)
    $17,900 (2014 est.)
    $18,800 (2013 est.)
    $18,800 (2012 est.)
    note: data are in 2013 US dollars
    country comparison to the world: 89
    22.9% of GDP (2014 est.)
    23.9% of GDP (2013 est.)
    29.5% of GDP (2012 est.)
    household consumption: 65.4%
    government consumption: 16.3%
    investment in fixed capital: 13.1%
    investment in inventories: 5.4%
    exports of goods and services: 16.7%
    imports of goods and services: -16.8%
    (2014 est.)
    agriculture: 3.8%
    industry: 35.4%
    services: 60.8% (2014 est.)
    corn, sorghum, sugarcane, rice, bananas, vegetables, coffee; beef, pork, milk, eggs; fish
    agricultural products, livestock, raw materials, machinery and equipment, transport equipment, construction materials, medical equipment, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, iron and steel products, crude oil and petroleum products
    -1% (2014 est.)
    14.34 million (2014 est.)
    agriculture: 7.3%
    industry: 21.8%
    services: 70.9% (4th quarter, 2011 est.)
    7.8% (2014 est.)
    7.5% (2013 est.)
    31.6% (2011 est.)
    lowest 10%: 1.7%
    highest 10%: 32.7% (2006)
    39 (2011)
    49.5 (1998)
    revenues: $142.6 billion
    expenditures: $204 billion (2014 est.)
    68.2% of GDP (2014 est.)
    -29.4% of GDP (2014 est.)
    51.4% of GDP (2014 est.)
    50.9% of GDP (2013 est.)
    note: data cover central government debt, as well as the debt of state-owned oil company PDVSA; the data include treasury debt held by foreign entities; the data include some debt issued by subnational entities, as well as intra-governmental debt; intra-governmental debt consists of treasury borrowings from surpluses in the social funds, such as for retirement, medical care, and unemployment; some debt instruments for the social funds are sold at public auctions
    calendar year
    69.8% (2014 est.)
    40.6% (2013 est.)
    29.5% (31 December 2010)
    29.5% (31 December 2009)
    17.5% (31 December 2014 est.)
    15.9% (31 December 2013 est.)
    $356 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
    $192.3 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
    $360 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
    $196 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
    $372.7 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
    $196.4 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
    $25.3 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
    $5.143 billion (31 December 2011)
    $3.991 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
    $5.266 billion (2014 est.)
    $11.95 billion (2013 est.)
    $83.2 billion (2014 est.)
    $88.76 billion (2013 est.)
    petroleum and petroleum products, bauxite and aluminum, minerals, chemicals, agricultural products
    US 34.3%, India 15.9%, China 14%, Netherlands Antilles 8.4%, Singapore 6%, Cuba 4.9% (2013)
    $50.34 billion (2014 est.)
    $51.93 billion (2013 est.)
    agricultural products, livestock, raw materials, machinery and equipment, transport equipment, construction materials, medical equipment, petroleum products, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, iron and steel products
    US 27.4%, China 12.6%, Brazil 10%, Russia 7.1%, Argentina 5.1%, Colombia 4.7%, Mexico 4.5% (2013)
    $20.2 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
    $21.48 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
    $69.66 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
    $70.16 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
    $57.14 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
    $55.23 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
    $25.38 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
    $24.29 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
    bolivars (VEB) per US dollar -
    6.28 (2014 est.)
    6.05 (2013 est.)
    4.29 (2012 est.)
    4.29 (2011 est.)
    2.58 (2010 est.)
  • Energy :: VENEZUELA

  • 127.6 billion kWh (2012 est.)
    94.83 billion kWh (2011 est.)
    249 million kWh (2011 est.)
    480 million kWh (2011 est.)
    27.5 million kW (2012 est.)
    35.7% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
    0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
    64.3% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
    0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
    2.475 million bbl/day (2013 est.)
    1.645 million bbl/day (2010 est.)
    0 bbl/day (2010 est.)
    297.7 billion bbl (1 January 2014 est.)
    1.11 million bbl/day (2010 est.)
    784,000 bbl/day (2013 est.)
    638,000 bbl/day (2010 est.)
    16,660 bbl/day (2011 est.)
    28.4 billion cu m (2013 est.)
    30.5 billion cu m (2013 est.)
    0 cu m (2012 est.)
    1.877 billion cu m (2012 est.)
    5.562 trillion cu m (1 January 2014 est.)
    184.8 million Mt (2012 est.)
  • Communications :: VENEZUELA

  • 7.65 million (2012)
    30.52 million (2012)
    general assessment: modern and expanding
    domestic: 2 domestic satellite systems with 3 earth stations; recent substantial improvement in telephone service in rural areas; substantial increase in digitalization of exchanges and trunk lines; installation of a national interurban fiber-optic network capable of digital multimedia services; combined fixed and mobile-cellular telephone subscribership 130 per 100 persons
    international: country code - 58; submarine cable systems provide connectivity to Cuba and the Caribbean, Central and South America, and US; satellite earth stations - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean) and 1 PanAmSat; participating with Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia in the construction of an international fiber-optic network (2013)
    government supervises a mixture of state-run and private broadcast media; 13 public service networks, 61 privately owned TV networks, a privately owned news channel with limited national coverage, and a government-backed Pan-American channel; state-run radio network includes roughly 65 news stations and another 30 stations targeted at specific audiences; state-sponsored community broadcasters include 235 radio stations and 44 TV stations; the number of private broadcast radio stations has been declining, but many still remain in operation (2014)
    AM 46, FM 131, shortwave 3 (2008)
    66 (plus 45 repeaters) (1997)
    1.016 million (2012)
    8.918 million (2009)
  • Transportation :: VENEZUELA

  • 444 (2013)
    total: 127
    over 3,047 m: 6
    2,438 to 3,047 m: 9
    1,524 to 2,437 m: 33
    914 to 1,523 m: 62
    under 914 m: 17 (2013)
    total: 317
    2,438 to 3,047 m: 3
    1,524 to 2,437 m: 57
    914 to 1,523 m: 127
    under 914 m:
    130 (2013)
    3 (2013)
    extra heavy crude 981 km; gas 5,941 km; oil 7,588 km; refined products 1,778 km (2013)
    total: 806 km
    standard gauge: 806 km 1.435-m gauge (41 km electrified) (2008)
    total: 96,155 km
    paved: 32,308 km
    unpaved: 63,847 km (2002)
    7,100 km (the Orinoco River (400 km) and Lake de Maracaibo are navigable by oceangoing vessels) (2011)
    total: 53
    by type: bulk carrier 4, cargo 12, chemical tanker 1, liquefied gas 5, passenger 1, passenger/cargo 14, petroleum tanker 16
    foreign-owned: 9 (Denmark 1, Estonia 1, Germany 1, Greece 4, Mexico 1, Spain 1)
    registered in other countries: 14 (Panama 13, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 1) (2010)
    major seaport(s): La Guaira, Maracaibo, Puerto Cabello, Punta Cardon
    oil terminals: Jose terminal
    the International Maritime Bureau reports the territorial and offshore waters in the Caribbean Sea as a significant risk for piracy and armed robbery against ships; numerous vessels, including commercial shipping and pleasure craft, have been attacked and hijacked both at anchor and while underway; crews have been robbed and stores or cargoes stolen
  • Military :: VENEZUELA

  • Bolivarian National Armed Forces (Fuerza Armada Nacional Bolivariana, FANB): Bolivarian Army (Ejercito Bolivariano, EB), Bolivarian Navy (Armada Bolivariana, AB; includes Naval Infantry, Coast Guard, Naval Aviation), Bolivarian Military Aviation (Aviacion Militar Bolivariana, AMB; includes Air National Guard), Bolivarian National Guard (Guardia Nacional Bolivaria, GNB) (2015)
    18-30 years of age for compulsory and voluntary military service; 30-month conscript service obligation; Navy requires 6th-grade education for enlisted personnel; all citizens of military service age (18-60 years old) are obligated to register for military service (2012)
    males age 16-49: 7,013,854
    females age 16-49: 7,165,661 (2010 est.)
    males age 16-49: 5,614,743
    females age 16-49: 6,074,834 (2010 est.)
    male: 277,210
    female: 273,353 (2010 est.)
    2.6% of GDP (2013)
    2.5% of GDP (2012)
    1.8% of GDP (2011)
  • Transnational Issues :: VENEZUELA

  • claims all of the area west of the Essequibo River in Guyana, preventing any discussion of a maritime boundary; Guyana has expressed its intention to join Barbados in asserting claims before the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea that Trinidad and Tobago's maritime boundary with Venezuela extends into their waters; dispute with Colombia over maritime boundary and Venezuelan administered Los Monjes islands near the Gulf of Venezuela; Colombian organized illegal narcotics and paramilitary activities penetrate Venezuela's shared border region; US, France, and the Netherlands recognize Venezuela's granting full effect to Aves Island, thereby claiming a Venezuelan Economic Exclusion Zone/continental shelf extending over a large portion of the eastern Caribbean Sea; Dominica, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines protest Venezuela's full effect claim
    refugees (country of origin): 173,519 (Colombia) (2014)
    stateless persons: 11,000 (2014)
    current situation: Venezuela is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children subjected to sex trafficking and forced labor; Venezuelan women and girls are trafficked within the country for sexual exploitation, often lured from the nation's interior to urban and tourist areas with false job offers; women from Colombia, Peru, Haiti, China, and South Africa are also reported to have been sexually exploited in Venezuela; some Venezuelan women are transported to Caribbean islands, particularly Aruba, Curacao, and Trinidad and Tobago, where they are subjected to forced prostitution; some Venezuelan children are forced to beg on the streets or to work as domestic servants, while Ecuadorian children, often from indigenous communities, are subjected to forced labor
    tier rating: Tier 3 – Venezuela does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so; the government did not publically document progress on human trafficking investigations, prosecutions, and convictions or victim identification and assistance in 2013, making it difficult to assess the scope or efficacy of these efforts; victim services appeared to remain inadequate, and the extent of efforts to investigate internal forced labor or to help children in prostitution was unclear; authorities provided limited funding to some NGOs providing victim services; public service announcements and an awareness campaign on human trafficking continued; anti-trafficking legislation drafted in 2010 remained unapproved (2014)
    small-scale illicit producer of opium and coca for the processing of opiates and coca derivatives; however, large quantities of cocaine, heroin, and marijuana transit the country from Colombia bound for US and Europe; significant narcotics-related money-laundering activity, especially along the border with Colombia and on Margarita Island; active eradication program primarily targeting opium; increasing signs of drug-related activities by Colombian insurgents on border