República Bolivariana de Venezuela
Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela

Flag of Venezuela Coat of Arms of Venezuela
Gloria al Bravo Pueblo
Map of Venezuela
Government Presidential republic
- From 2002Hugo Chávez Frías
Legislature National Assembly
July 5, 1811from Spain
January 13, 1830from Gran Colombia
March 30, 1845Recognized
Area916,445 km²
- November 201029,105,632
GDPNovember 2010 (PPP)
- TotalUS$ 346 billion
- Per capitaUS$ 11,889
CurrencyBolívar fuerte
Flag of None Republic of Venezuela

The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela is a presidential republic in South America.


Venezuela was one of three countries that emerged from the collapse of Gran Colombia in 1830 (the others being Ecuador and New Granada, which became Colombia). For most of the first half of the 20th century, Venezuela was ruled by generally benevolent military strongmen, who promoted the oil industry and allowed for some social reforms. Democratically elected governments have held sway since 1959. Hugo CHAVEZ, president since 1999, seeks to implement his "21st Century Socialism," which purports to alleviate social ills while at the same time attacking capitalist globalization and existing democratic institutions. Current concerns include: a weakening of democratic institutions, political polarization, a politicized military, drug-related violence along the Colombian border, overdependence on the petroleum industry with its price fluctuations, and irresponsible mining operations that are endangering the rain forest and indigenous peoples.[1]


Venezuela remains highly dependent on oil revenues, which account for roughly 95% of export earnings, about 55% of the federal budget revenues, and around 30% of GDP. A nationwide strike between December 2002 and February 2003 had far-reaching economic consequences - real GDP declined by around 9% in 2002 and 8% in 2003 - but economic output since then has recovered strongly. Fueled by high oil prices, record government spending helped to boost GDP by about 10% in 2006, 8% in 2007, and nearly 5% in 2008, before a sharp drop in oil prices caused a contraction in 2009-10. This spending, combined with recent minimum wage hikes and improved access to domestic credit, has created a consumption boom but has come at the cost of higher inflation - roughly 32% in 2008, and slowing only slightly to 30% in 2010, despite the lengthy downturn. Imports also jumped significantly before the recession of 2009. President Hugo CHAVEZ's continued efforts to increase the government's control of the economy by nationalizing firms in the agribusiness, financial, construction, oil, and steel sectors have hurt the private investment environment, reduced productive capacity, and slowed non-petroleum exports. In the first half of 2010 Venezuela faced the prospect of lengthy nationwide blackouts when its main hydroelectric power plant - which provides more than 35% of the country's electricity - nearly shut down. In January, 2010, CHAVEZ announced a dual exchange rate system for the bolivar and closed the unofficial foreign exchange market - the "parallel" market - in an effort to stem inflation and slow the currency's depreciation. The foreign exchange system offers a 2.6 bolivar per dollar rate for imports of essentials, including food, medicine, and industrial machinery, and a 4.3 bolivar per dollar rate for imports of other products, including cars and telephones.[2]


  • Hugo Chávez Frías () (April 14, 2002 - )


Neighbouring Nations


  1. The CIA World Factbook: Introduction - Background
  2. The CIA World Factbook: Economy - Overview

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