Vénézuela — Wikipédia

 Vénézuela — Wikipédia


Pays d’Amérique du Sud

Coordonnées : 7°N 65°O/7°N 65°W/ 7; -65

République bolivarienne du Venezuela

République bolivarienne du Venezuela (Espanol)
Drapeau du Venezuela

Armoiries du Venezuela

Terres contrôlées par le Venezuela représentées en vert foncé ; terres revendiquées mais non contrôlées indiquées en vert clair.

Terres contrôlées par le Venezuela représentées en vert foncé ; terres revendiquées mais non contrôlées indiquées en vert clair.

Capitale

et plus grande ville

Caracas10°30′N 66°55′O/10.500°N 66.917°O/ 10.500 ; -66,917
Langues officielles Espanol[b]
Langues régionales reconnues
Groupes ethniques
Religion 91% christianisme
—71 % catholiques romains
—17 % protestants
—3% Autre Chrétien
8% Pas de religion
1% Autres religions
Démonyme(s) vénézuélien
Gouvernement République constitutionnelle présidentielle fédérale à parti dominant
Delcy Rodríguez (position constitutionnelle contestée)
Corps législatif Assemblée nationale
5 juillet 1811

• Reconnu

29 mars 1845
15 novembre 1945
20 décembre 1999[4]

• Le total

916 445 km2 (353 841 miles carrés) (32e)

• L’eau (%)

3,2%[d]

• estimation 2018

Augmentation neutre 28 887 118[5][6] (gouvernement)
28 067 000 (FMI)[7] (45e)

• Densité

33,74/km2 (87,4/mi²) (144e)
PIB (PPP) Estimation 2019

• Le total

Diminuer 204,291 milliards $[8]

• Par habitant

Diminuer 7 344 $[9]
PIB (nominal) Estimation 2020

• Le total

Diminuer $48,610 milliards[9] (84e)

• Par habitant

Diminuer 1 739 $[9] (146e)
Gini (2013) Augmentation négative 44,8[10]
moyen
IDH (2019) Diminuer 0.711[11]
haute · 113e
Devise Bolivar Soberano (VES)
Fuseau horaire UTC-4 (VÉTÉRINAIRE)
Format de date jj/mm/aaaa (CE)
Côté conduite droite
Indicatif d’appel +58
Code ISO 3166 VE
TLD Internet .ve

Venezuela (; Espagnol américain : [beneˈswela] (A propos de ce sonEcoutez)), officiellement le République bolivarienne du Venezuela (Espanol: République bolivarienne du Venezuela),[12] est un pays de la côte nord de l’Amérique du Sud, composé d’une masse continentale et de nombreuses îles et îlots de la mer des Caraïbes. Il a une extension territoriale de 916.445 km2 (353 841 milles carrés), et la population du Venezuela était estimée à 28 millions en 2019.[7] La capitale et la plus grande agglomération urbaine est la ville de Caracas.

Le territoire continental est bordé au nord par la mer des Caraïbes et l’océan Atlantique, à l’ouest par la Colombie, le Brésil au sud, Trinité-et-Tobago au nord-est et à l’est par la Guyane. Le gouvernement vénézuélien maintient une réclamation contre la Guyane à Guayana Esequiba.[13] Le Venezuela est une république présidentielle fédérale composée de 23 États, du district de la capitale et de dépendances fédérales couvrant les îles au large du Venezuela. Le Venezuela est l’un des pays les plus urbanisés d’Amérique latine ;[14][15] la grande majorité des Vénézuéliens vivent dans les villes du nord et dans la capitale.

Le territoire du Venezuela a été colonisé par l’Espagne en 1522 au milieu de la résistance des peuples autochtones. En 1811, il est devenu l’un des premiers territoires hispano-américains à déclarer son indépendance des Espagnols et à faire partie, en tant que département, de la première République fédérale de Colombie (historiographiquement connue sous le nom de Gran Colombia). Il s’est séparé en tant que pays souverain à part entière en 1830. Au cours du XIXe siècle, le Venezuela a souffert de troubles politiques et d’autocratie, restant dominé par des dictateurs militaires régionaux jusqu’au milieu du XXe siècle. Depuis 1958, le pays a connu une série de gouvernements démocratiques, à titre d’exception où la majeure partie de la région était dirigée par des dictatures militaires, et la période a été caractérisée par la prospérité économique. Les chocs économiques des années 1980 et 1990 ont entraîné des crises politiques majeures et des troubles sociaux généralisés, notamment les émeutes meurtrières de Caracazo en 1989, deux tentatives de coup d’État en 1992 et la destitution d’un président pour détournement de fonds publics en 1993. L’effondrement de la confiance dans les partis existants ont vu l’élection présidentielle vénézuélienne de 1998, le catalyseur de la révolution bolivarienne, qui a commencé avec une Assemblée constituante de 1999, où une nouvelle Constitution du Venezuela a été imposée. Les politiques populistes du gouvernement en matière de protection sociale ont été renforcées par la flambée des prix du pétrole,[16] augmenter temporairement les dépenses sociales,[17] et réduire les inégalités économiques et la pauvreté dans les premières années du régime.[18] L’élection présidentielle vénézuélienne de 2013 a été largement contestée, ce qui a entraîné de nombreuses protestations, qui ont déclenché une autre crise nationale qui se poursuit à ce jour.[19]

Le Venezuela est un pays en développement et se classe 113e sur l’indice de développement humain. Il possède les plus grandes réserves de pétrole connues au monde et a été l’un des principaux exportateurs de pétrole au monde. Auparavant, le pays était un exportateur sous-développé de produits agricoles tels que le café et le cacao, mais le pétrole en est rapidement venu à dominer les exportations et les revenus du gouvernement. Les excès et les mauvaises politiques du gouvernement en place ont conduit à l’effondrement de l’ensemble de l’économie vénézuélienne.[20][21] Le pays est aux prises avec une hyperinflation record,[22][23]pénurie de produits de première nécessité,[24] chômage,[25] la pauvreté,[26] la maladie, la mortalité infantile élevée, la malnutrition, la criminalité grave et la corruption. Ces facteurs ont précipité la crise des migrants vénézuéliens où plus de trois millions de personnes ont fui le pays.[27] En 2017, le Venezuela a été déclaré en défaut de paiement par les agences de notation de crédit.[28][29] La crise au Venezuela a contribué à une détérioration rapide de la situation des droits humains, y compris une augmentation des abus tels que la torture, l’emprisonnement arbitraire, les exécutions extrajudiciaires et les attaques contre les défenseurs des droits humains. Le Venezuela est membre fondateur de l’ONU, de l’OEA, de l’UNASUR, de l’ALBA, du Mercosur, de la LAIA et de l’OEI.

Étymologie

Selon la version la plus populaire et la plus acceptée, en 1499, une expédition dirigée par Alonso de Ojeda a visité la côte vénézuélienne. Les maisons sur pilotis dans la région du lac de Maracaibo ont rappelé au navigateur italien, Amerigo Vespucci, la ville de Venise, en Italie, il a donc nommé la région Venise, ou « Petite Venise ». La version espagnole de Venise est Venezuela.

Martín Fernández de Enciso, membre de l’équipage Vespucci et Ojeda, a donné un témoignage différent. Dans son travail Somme de géographie, il déclare que l’équipage a trouvé des autochtones qui s’appelaient eux-mêmes les Veneciuela. Ainsi, le nom « Venezuela » peut avoir évolué à partir du mot indigène.[32]

Auparavant, le nom officiel était Estado de Venezuela (1830-1856), République du Venezuela (1856-1864), États-Unis du Venezuela (1864-1953), et encore République du Venezuela (1953-1999).

Histoire

Histoire précolombienne

Il existe des preuves d’habitation humaine dans la région maintenant connue sous le nom de Venezuela il y a environ 15 000 ans. Les outils en forme de feuille de cette période, ainsi que le hachage et plan convexe des outils de grattage ont été trouvés exposés sur les hautes terrasses fluviales du Rio Pedregal dans l’ouest du Venezuela. selon la datation au radiocarbone, ceux-ci datent de 13 000 à 7 000 av.

On ne sait pas combien de personnes vivaient au Venezuela avant la conquête espagnole ; il a été estimé à environ un million. En plus des peuples autochtones connus aujourd’hui, la population comprenait des groupes historiques tels que les Kalina (Caraïbes), les Auaké, les Caquetio, les Mariche et les Timoto-Cuicas. La culture Timoto-Cuica était la société la plus complexe du Venezuela précolombien, avec des villages permanents pré-planifiés, entourés de champs irrigués en terrasses. Ils stockaient également de l’eau dans des réservoirs. Leurs maisons étaient principalement faites de pierre et de bois avec des toits de chaume. Ils étaient pacifiques, pour la plupart, et dépendaient de la croissance des cultures. Les cultures régionales comprenaient les pommes de terre et les ullucos.[37] Ils ont laissé des œuvres d’art, notamment des céramiques anthropomorphes, mais aucun monument majeur. Ils filaient des fibres végétales pour en tisser des textiles et des tapis pour le logement. Ils sont crédités d’avoir inventé l’arepa, un aliment de base dans la cuisine vénézuélienne.

Après la conquête, la population a fortement diminué, principalement à cause de la propagation de nouvelles maladies infectieuses en provenance d’Europe. Deux principaux axes nord-sud de population précolombienne étaient présents, qui cultivaient le maïs à l’ouest et le manioc à l’est. De grandes parties du llanos ont été cultivés grâce à une combinaison d’abattis-brûlis et d’agriculture sédentaire permanente.

La colonisation

L’Armada allemande Welser explorant le Venezuela.

En 1498, lors de son troisième voyage vers les Amériques, Christophe Colomb a navigué près du delta de l’Orénoque et a débarqué dans le golfe de Paria. Émerveillé par le grand courant d’eau douce au large qui a dévié sa course vers l’est, Colomb a exprimé dans une lettre à Isabelle et Ferdinand qu’il devait avoir atteint le paradis sur terre (paradis terrestre) :

De grands signes sont ceux du Paradis Terrestre, car le site est conforme à l’opinion des saints et sages théologiens dont j’ai parlé. Et de même, le [other] les signes sont très bien conformes, car je n’ai jamais lu ou entendu parler d’une si grande quantité d’eau douce à l’intérieur et à si près de l’eau salée ; la très douce tempérance le corrobore aussi ; et si l’eau dont je parle ne vient pas du Paradis, alors c’est une merveille encore plus grande, parce que je ne crois pas qu’un fleuve aussi grand et profond ait jamais existé dans ce monde.

La colonisation espagnole du Venezuela continental a commencé en 1522, établissant sa première colonie sud-américaine permanente à l’heure actuelle ville de Cumaná. Au 16ème siècle, le Venezuela a été contracté en concession par le roi d’Espagne à la famille bancaire allemande Welser (Klein-Venedig, 1528-1546). Originaire de caciques (dirigeants) tels que Guaicaipuro (c.1530-1568) et Tamanaco (mort en 1573) a tenté de résister aux incursions espagnoles, mais les nouveaux venus les ont finalement maîtrisés ; Tamanaco a été mis à mort sur ordre du fondateur de Caracas, Diego de Losada.[41]

Au XVIe siècle, pendant la colonisation espagnole, des peuples indigènes comme de nombreux Mariches, eux-mêmes descendants des Kalina, se sont convertis au catholicisme romain. Certaines des tribus ou des chefs résistants sont commémorés dans des noms de lieux, notamment Caracas, Chacao et Los Teques. Les premiers établissements coloniaux se sont concentrés sur la côte nord, mais au milieu du XVIIIe siècle, les Espagnols ont poussé plus loin à l’intérieur des terres le long du fleuve Orénoque. Ici, les Ye’kuana (alors connus sous le nom de Makiritare) ont organisé une résistance sérieuse en 1775 et 1776.

Les colonies vénézuéliennes orientales de l’Espagne ont été incorporées dans la province de la Nouvelle-Andalousie. Administrée par l’Audiencia royale de Saint-Domingue depuis le début du XVIe siècle, la majeure partie du Venezuela est devenue une partie de la vice-royauté de la Nouvelle-Grenade au début du XVIIIe siècle, puis a été réorganisée en tant que capitainerie générale autonome à partir de 1777. La ville de Caracas, fondée dans la région côtière centrale en 1567, était bien placé pour devenir un emplacement clé, étant près du port côtier de La Guaira tout en étant lui-même situé dans une vallée dans une chaîne de montagnes, offrant une force défensive contre les pirates et un climat plus fertile et plus sain .

Indépendance et XIXe siècle

Après une série de soulèvements infructueux, le Venezuela, sous la direction de Francisco de Miranda, un maréchal vénézuélien qui avait combattu pendant la Révolution américaine et la Révolution française, déclara son indépendance en tant que Première République du Venezuela le 5 juillet 1811.[44] C’est le début de la guerre d’indépendance du Venezuela. Un tremblement de terre dévastateur qui a frappé Caracas en 1812, ainsi que la rébellion des Vénézuéliens llaneros, a aidé à faire tomber la république.Simón Bolívar, nouveau chef des forces indépendantistes, a lancé sa campagne admirable en 1813 de la Nouvelle-Grenade, reprenant la majeure partie du territoire et étant proclamé comme El Libertador (« Le Libérateur »). Une seconde république vénézuélienne est proclamée le 7 août 1813, mais ne dure que quelques mois avant d’être écrasée par le caudillo royaliste José Tomás Boves et son armée personnelle de llaneros.[46]

La fin de l’invasion française de la patrie espagnole en 1814 a permis la préparation d’un grand corps expéditionnaire dans les provinces américaines sous le général Pablo Morillo, dans le but de regagner le territoire perdu au Venezuela et en Nouvelle-Grenade. Alors que la guerre atteignait une impasse en 1817, Bolívar rétablit la Troisième République du Venezuela sur le territoire encore contrôlé par les patriotes, principalement dans les régions de Guayana et de Llanos. Cette république fut de courte durée car seulement deux ans plus tard, lors du Congrès d’Angostura de 1819, l’union du Venezuela avec la Nouvelle-Grenade fut décrétée pour former la République de Colombie (historiographiquement la République de Gran Colombia). La guerre a continué pendant quelques années, jusqu’à ce que la victoire et la souveraineté complètes soient obtenues après que Bolívar, aidé par José Antonio Páez et Antonio José de Sucre, ait remporté la bataille de Carabobo le 24 juin 1821. Le 24 juillet 1823, José Prudencio Padilla et Rafael Urdaneta ont aidé sceller l’indépendance du Venezuela avec leur victoire dans la bataille du lac de Maracaibo.[48] Le congrès de la Nouvelle-Grenade a donné à Bolívar le contrôle de l’armée grenadienne ; à sa tête, il libéra plusieurs pays et fonda la République de Colombie (Gran Colombia).

Sucre, qui a remporté de nombreuses batailles pour Bolivar, a ensuite libéré l’Équateur et est devenu plus tard le deuxième président de la Bolivie. Le Venezuela est resté une partie de la Grande Colombie jusqu’en 1830, quand une rébellion menée par Páez a permis la proclamation d’un Venezuela nouvellement indépendant ; Páez est devenu le premier président du nouvel État du Venezuela.[49] Entre un quart et un tiers de la population du Venezuela a été perdu au cours de ces deux décennies de guerre (y compris peut-être la moitié de la population blanche),[50] qui, en 1830, était estimée à environ 800 000.[51]

Les couleurs du drapeau vénézuélien sont le jaune, le bleu et le rouge : le jaune représente la richesse foncière, le bleu la mer qui sépare le Venezuela de l’Espagne et le rouge le sang versé par les héros de l’indépendance.[52]

L’esclavage au Venezuela a été aboli en 1854.[51] Une grande partie de l’histoire du Venezuela au XIXe siècle a été caractérisée par des troubles politiques et un régime dictatorial, y compris le chef de l’indépendance José Antonio Páez, qui a remporté la présidence à trois reprises et a servi un total de 11 ans entre 1830 et 1863. Cela a culminé avec la guerre fédérale (1859 –1863), une guerre civile au cours de laquelle des centaines de milliers de personnes sont mortes dans un pays d’à peine plus d’un million d’habitants. Dans la seconde moitié du siècle, Antonio Guzmán Blanco, un autre caudillo, a servi un total de 13 ans entre 1870 et 1887, avec trois autres présidents entremêlés.

En 1895, un différend de longue date avec la Grande-Bretagne au sujet du territoire de Guayana Esequiba, que la Grande-Bretagne prétendait faire partie de la Guyane britannique et le Venezuela considérait comme territoire vénézuélien, a éclaté en la crise vénézuélienne de 1895. Le différend est devenu une crise diplomatique lorsque le lobbyiste du Venezuela, William L. Scruggs, a cherché à faire valoir que le comportement britannique sur la question violait la doctrine Monroe des États-Unis de 1823, et a utilisé son influence à Washington, DC, pour poursuivre l’affaire. Ensuite, le président américain Grover Cleveland a adopté une interprétation large de la doctrine qui n’a pas simplement interdit les nouvelles colonies européennes, mais a déclaré un intérêt américain pour toute question dans l’hémisphère. La Grande-Bretagne a finalement accepté l’arbitrage, mais lors des négociations sur ses conditions, elle a réussi à persuader les États-Unis sur de nombreux détails. Un tribunal s’est réuni à Paris en 1898 pour trancher la question et en 1899 a attribué la majeure partie du territoire contesté à la Guyane britannique.[54]

En 1899, Cipriano Castro, assisté de son ami Juan Vicente Gómez, prit le pouvoir à Caracas, faisant marcher une armée depuis sa base dans l’État andin de Táchira. Castro a fait défaut sur les dettes étrangères considérables du Venezuela et a refusé de verser une compensation aux étrangers pris dans les guerres civiles du Venezuela. Cela a conduit à la crise vénézuélienne de 1902-1903, au cours de laquelle la Grande-Bretagne, l’Allemagne et l’Italie ont imposé un blocus naval de plusieurs mois avant que l’arbitrage international à la nouvelle Cour permanente d’arbitrage de La Haye ne soit accepté. En 1908, un autre différend éclata avec les Pays-Bas, qui fut résolu lorsque Castro partit se faire soigner en Allemagne et fut rapidement renversé par Juan Vicente Gómez (1908-1935).

20ième siècle

Drapeau du Venezuela entre 1954 et 2006.

La découverte d’énormes gisements de pétrole dans le lac de Maracaibo pendant la Première Guerre mondiale[55] s’est avéré être essentiel pour le Venezuela et a transformé la base de son économie d’une forte dépendance à l’égard des exportations agricoles. Cela a provoqué un boom économique qui a duré jusque dans les années 1980; en 1935, le produit intérieur brut par habitant du Venezuela était le plus élevé d’Amérique latine. Gómez en a largement profité, car la corruption a prospéré, mais en même temps, la nouvelle source de revenus l’a aidé à centraliser l’État vénézuélien et à développer son autorité.

Il est resté l’homme le plus puissant du Venezuela jusqu’à sa mort en 1935, bien qu’il ait parfois cédé la présidence à d’autres. le gomeciste Le système de dictature (1935-1945) s’est largement poursuivi sous Eleazar López Contreras, mais à partir de 1941, sous Isaías Medina Angarita, a été assoupli. Angarita a accordé une série de réformes, y compris la légalisation de tous les partis politiques. Après la Seconde Guerre mondiale, l’immigration en provenance d’Europe du Sud (principalement d’Espagne, d’Italie, du Portugal et de France) et des pays latino-américains les plus pauvres a nettement diversifié la société vénézuélienne.

Rómulo Betancourt (président 1945-1948 / 1959-1964), l’un des principaux militants de la démocratie au Venezuela.

En 1945, un coup d’État civilo-militaire a renversé Medina Angarita et a inauguré une période de trois ans de régime démocratique (1945-1948) sous le parti de masse Action démocratique, initialement sous Rómulo Betancourt, jusqu’à ce que Rómulo Gallegos remporte l’élection présidentielle vénézuélienne de 1947 ( généralement considéré comme les premières élections libres et équitables au Venezuela).[57][58] Gallegos gouverné jusqu’à ce qu’il soit renversé par une junte militaire dirigée par le triumvirat Luis Felipe Llovera Páez, Marcos Pérez Jiménez et le ministre de la Défense de Gallegos, Carlos Delgado Chalbaud, lors de la campagne vénézuélienne de 1948. coup d’État.

L’homme le plus puissant de l’armée junte (1948-1958) était Pérez Jiménez (bien que Chalbaud en était le président titulaire) et était soupçonné d’être à l’origine de la mort en exercice de Chalbaud, décédé dans un enlèvement raté en 1950. Lorsque la junte a perdu de manière inattendue les élections qu’elle a tenues en 1952, il a ignoré les résultats et Pérez Jiménez a été installé comme président, où il est resté jusqu’en 1958. L’expansion de l’économie vénézuélienne dans cette période était basée sur l’endettement de la nation vénézuélienne et c’était l’une des causes de la crise économique au Venezuela en les années 1960,[59] dans lequel des projets importants tels que le Centre urbain El Recreo de Marcel Brauer sur l’Avenida Casanova dans le quartier de Sabana Grande ont été paralysés.[60]

Pendant les années de l’administration de Pérez Jiménez, l’État intervenait dans des domaines de l’économie traditionnellement exercés par des entreprises privées. Le gouvernement Pérez Jiménez était caractérisé par son capitalisme d’État et non par le capitalisme libéral. C’était un antécédent du régime économique populiste et paternaliste des régimes démocratiques ultérieurs.[61] L’entrepreneuriat privé national avait de moins en moins d’espace pour se développer et prospérer. L’État était le grand capitaliste au Venezuela de Pérez Jiménez et était le plus grand actionnaire national des grandes chaînes hôtelières comme Sheraton.[62]

Dans le gouvernement de Pérez Jiménez, la dette du Venezuela a été multipliée par plus de 25 et est passée de 175 millions à plus de 4 500 millions de bolivars en seulement 5 ans (environ 15 milliards de dollars en 2018). Le malaise sur les dettes du Venezuela a atteint les casernes et les affaires nationales. Pérez Jiménez a répondu : « il n’y a pas de dette, mais des engagements ». Le ministre des Finances n’a pas réussi à convaincre Pérez Jiménez d’ordonner l’annulation des dettes.[63] Dès le 14 janvier 1958, les milieux d’affaires vénézuéliens décident de se séparer complètement du régime, neuf jours avant la chute du gouvernement.[59] Le dictateur militaire Pérez Jiménez est expulsé le 23 janvier 1958.[64] Dans un effort pour consolider une jeune démocratie, les trois principaux partis politiques (Acción Democrática (AD), COPEI et Unión Republicana Democrática (URD), à l’exception notable du Parti communiste du Venezuela) ont signé l’accord de partage du pouvoir du Pacte de Puntofijo. Les deux premiers partis domineront le paysage politique pendant quatre décennies.

Pendant les présidences de Rómulo Ernesto Betancourt Bello (1959-1964, sa deuxième fois) et Raúl Leoni Otero (1964-1969) dans les années 1960, d’importants mouvements de guérilla se sont produits, notamment les Forces armées de libération nationale et le Mouvement de la gauche révolutionnaire, qui avaient scission d’AD en 1960. La plupart de ces mouvements ont déposé les armes sous la première présidence de Rafael Caldera (1969-1974) ; Caldera avait remporté les élections de 1968 pour COPEI, étant la première fois qu’un parti autre que l’Action démocratique a pris la présidence par le biais d’une élection démocratique. Le nouvel ordre démocratique avait ses adversaires. Betancourt a subi une attaque planifiée par le dictateur dominicain Rafael Trujillo en 1960, et les gauchistes exclus du Pacte ont lancé une insurrection armée en s’organisant dans les Forces armées de libération nationale, parrainées par le Parti communiste et Fidel Castro. En 1962, ils ont essayé de déstabiliser le corps militaire, avec des révoltes ratées à Carúpano et Puerto Cabello. Dans le même temps, Betancourt a promu une politique étrangère, la doctrine Betancourt, dans laquelle il ne reconnaissait les gouvernements élus que par le vote populaire.[[[[besoin de devis pour vérifier]

En raison de la dette laissée par Marcos Pérez Jiménez, un programme d’ajustement économique était nécessaire au Venezuela. Le plan de relance économique de 1960 a été formulé par Tomás Enrique Carrillo Batalla. L’industrie de la construction a été revitalisée grâce au « réescompte » de la Banque centrale du Venezuela. Le plan de relance économique a rempli ses objectifs et en 1964, le Venezuela a pu revenir à un taux de change ancré, avec l’achat et la vente libres de devises étrangères. Ce système a duré jusqu’au Black Friday vénézuélien de 1983, bien que le modèle soit déjà épuisé à la fin des années soixante-dix.[65] La consolidation du système démocratique et la dissipation des craintes de radicalisation politique du pays ont contribué à normaliser la demande de devises étrangères, stabilisant le taux de change parallèle.

Pendant une grande partie de la période entre 1950 et 1973, l’économie vénézuélienne s’est caractérisée par sa stabilité et sa vigueur soutenue, facteurs qui ont contribué de manière décisive à pouvoir maintenir un taux de change fixe sans inconvénients majeurs. Dans la période de Carlos Andrés Pérez (1974-1979, sa première fois en tant que président), à la suite de la guerre israélo-arabe (la guerre du Yom Kippour), le prix moyen du baril de pétrole est passé de 3,71 à 10,53 dollars et a continué d’augmenter pour dépasser 29 dollars en 1981.[65] Les revenus du secteur public sont passés de 18 960 millions de bolivars en 1973 à 45,564 millions en 1974. La manne économique avait aussi les caractéristiques d’une bulle économique, mais les Vénézuéliens se souviennent du « Ta barato, dame dos ».[66][67] L’afflux accru de fonds vers les organismes d’épargne et de crédit et les banques hypothécaires a permis une augmentation du portefeuille de prêts hypothécaires, qui a également triplé. En général, le Venezuela était un pays prospère dans les gouvernements de Rómulo Betancourt (1945 – c.1948; 1959-1964), Rafael Caldera (1969-1974; 1994 – c.1999) et Carlos Andrés Pérez (1974-1979; 1989 – c.1993)[[[[citation requise]. En 1975, l’industrie du fer a été nationalisée et l’année suivante l’industrie pétrolière, créant Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A. (PDVSA). Caldera et Pérez ont en partie rompu avec la doctrine Betancourt.

L’élection en 1973 de Carlos Andrés Pérez a coïncidé avec une crise pétrolière, au cours de laquelle les revenus du Venezuela ont explosé alors que les prix du pétrole montaient en flèche ; les industries pétrolières ont été nationalisées en 1976. Cela a entraîné des augmentations massives des dépenses publiques, mais aussi des augmentations des dettes extérieures, qui se sont poursuivies jusque dans les années 1980 lorsque l’effondrement des prix du pétrole au cours des années 1980 a paralysé l’économie vénézuélienne. Lorsque le gouvernement a commencé à dévaluer la monnaie en février 1983 pour faire face à ses obligations financières, le niveau de vie réel des Vénézuéliens a chuté de façon spectaculaire. Un certain nombre d’échecs de politiques économiques et une corruption croissante au sein du gouvernement ont entraîné une augmentation de la pauvreté et de la criminalité, une aggravation des indicateurs sociaux et une instabilité politique accrue.[68]

Pendant la présidence de Luis Herrera Campins (1979-1984), d’importants travaux d’infrastructure ont été achevés, tels que le complexe Parque Central (qui est devenu le plus grand complexe de logements et les plus hautes tours d’Amérique latine), le complexe culturel Teresa Carreño (le plus grand centre culturel en Amérique du Sud à cette époque), le stade Brígido Iriarte et le parc des Nations Unies. La plupart de ces travaux avaient été préalablement planifiés.[66] Jusqu’au milieu des années quatre-vingt, l’économie vénézuélienne a montré un comportement très positif, caractérisé par l’absence de déséquilibres internes ou externes, une croissance économique élevée, en grande partie due à l’investissement fixe brut soutenu et très élevé de ces années, 10 sous chômage et prix élevé stabilité. Cela s’est traduit par des augmentations soutenues du salaire réel moyen et une amélioration des conditions de vie.[65]

Le bolivar a été dévalué en février 1983, déclenchant une forte crise économique, qui a frappé les investissements dans les centres financiers les plus importants de la capitale vénézuélienne, comme Sabana Grande. Dans le gouvernement de Jaime Lusinchi (1984-1989), une tentative a été faite pour résoudre le problème. Malheureusement, les mesures ont échoué. Après une longue période d’expansion économique accélérée qui dure depuis six décennies (valeur du parc de logements par familles), une valeur extrêmement élevée est atteinte vers 1982. A partir de cette valeur historique commence alors une baisse systématique qui monte à 26 cents jusqu’en 2006. , et qui configure une véritable expérience unique dans la vie économique contemporaine.[69] Cependant, la désactivation économique du pays avait commencé à montrer ses premiers signes en 1978.[70]

Dans les années 1980, la Commission présidentielle pour la réforme de l’État (COPRE) est apparue comme un mécanisme d’innovation politique. Le Venezuela se prépare à la décentralisation de son système politique et à la diversification de son économie, réduisant ainsi la grande taille de l’État. Le COPRE a fonctionné comme un mécanisme d’innovation, également en insérant dans l’agenda politique des questions qui étaient généralement exclues de la délibération publique par les principaux acteurs du système démocratique vénézuélien. Les sujets les plus discutés ont été intégrés à l’agenda public : la décentralisation, la participation politique, la municipalisation, les réformes de l’ordre judiciaire et le rôle de l’État dans une nouvelle stratégie économique. Malheureusement, la réalité sociale du pays rendait les changements difficiles à appliquer.[70]

Les crises économiques des années 1980 et 1990 ont conduit à une crise politique au cours de laquelle des centaines de personnes sont mortes dans le Caracazo émeutes de 1989 pendant la présidence de Carlos Andres Pérez (1989-1993, sa deuxième fois), deux tentatives de coups d’État en 1992 (février et novembre) par Hugo Chávez,[71] et la destitution du président Carlos Andrés Pérez (réélu en 1988) pour corruption en 1993 et ​​la présidence par intérim de Ramón José Velásquez (1993-1994). Le chef du coup d’État Hugo Chávez a été gracié en mars 1994 par le président Rafael Caldera (1994-1999, sa deuxième fois), avec une table rase et ses droits politiques rétablis. Cela lui a permis plus tard d’obtenir la présidence en continu de 1999 jusqu’à sa mort en 2013, remportant les élections de 1998, 2000, 2006 et 2012 et le référendum présidentiel de 2004, à la seule exception en 2002 de Pedro Carmona Estanga comme un de deux jours de gouvernement de facto et Diosdado Cabello Rondón en tant que président par intérim de quelques heures.

Gouvernement bolivarien : 1999-présent

La révolution bolivarienne fait référence à un mouvement social populiste de gauche et à un processus politique au Venezuela dirigé par le président vénézuélien Hugo Chávez, qui a fondé le Mouvement de la Cinquième République en 1997 et le Parti socialiste uni du Venezuela en 2007. La « révolution bolivarienne » porte le nom Simón Bolívar, an early 19th-century Venezuelan and Latin American revolutionary leader, prominent in the Spanish American wars of independence in achieving the independence of most of northern South America from Spanish rule. According to Chávez and other supporters, the « Bolivarian Revolution » seeks to build a mass movement to implement Bolivarianism—popular democracy, economic independence, equitable distribution of revenues, and an end to political corruption—in Venezuela. They interpret Bolívar’s ideas from a populist perspective, using socialist rhetoric.

Hugo Chávez: 1999–2013

A collapse in confidence in the existing parties led to 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. Chávez also initiated Bolivarian missions, programs aimed at helping the poor.[72]

In April 2002, Chávez was briefly ousted from power in the 2002 Venezuelan coup d’état attempt following popular demonstrations by his opponents,[73] but he 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 PDVSA.[76] The strike produced severe economic dislocation, with the country’s GDP falling 27% during the first four months of 2003, and costing the oil industry $13.3 billion.[77] Capital flight before and during the strike led to the reimposition of currency controls (which had been abolished in 1989), managed by the CADIVI agency. In the subsequent decade, the government was forced into several currency devaluations.[78][79][80][81][82] 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.[83] According to Sebastian Boyd writing at Bloomberg News, the profits of the oil industry have been lost to « social engineering » and corruption, instead of investments needed to maintain oil production.[84]

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. Chávez died on 5 March 2013 after a nearly two-year fight with cancer.[85] 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.[86]

Nicolás Maduro: 2013–present

Poverty and inflation began to increase into the 2010s.[87]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 a shortened election in 2013 following Chavez’s death.[81][88][89]

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,[90] and the Supreme Court of Venezuela ruled that under Venezuela’s Constitution, Nicolás Maduro was the legitimate president and was invested as such by the Venezuelan National Assembly (Asamblea Nacional).[91][92][93] Opposition leaders and some international media consider the government of Maduro to be a dictatorship.[94][95][96][97] 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.[98][99][100][101][102] Demonstrations and riots have resulted in over 40 fatalities in the unrest between Chavistas and opposition protesters[103] and opposition leaders, including Leopoldo López and Antonio Ledezma were arrested.[103][104][105][106][107][108] Human rights groups condemned the arrest of Leopoldo López.[109] In the 2015 Venezuelan parliamentary election, the opposition gained a majority.[110]

Venezuela devalued its currency in February 2013 due to rising shortages in the country,[82][111]which included those of milk, flour, and other necessities. This led to an increase in malnutrition, especially among children.[112][113] Venezuela’s economy had become strongly dependent on the exportation of oil, with crude accounting for 86% of exports,[114] 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 3 to 1 million barrels (480 to 160 thousand cubic metres) per day.[115][116][117][118] In 2014, Venezuela entered an economic recession.[119] In 2015, Venezuela had the world’s highest inflation rate with the rate surpassing 100%, which was the highest in the country’s history.[120] In 2017, Donald Trump’s administration imposed more economic sanctions against Venezuela’s state-owned oil company PDVSA and Venezuelan officials.[121][122][123] Economic problems, as well as crime and corruption, were some of the main causes of the 2014–present Venezuelan protests.[124][125] Since 2015 nearly 2 million people have fled Venezuela.[126]

In January 2016, President Maduro decreed an « economic emergency », revealing the extent of the crisis and expanding his powers.[127] In July 2016, Colombian border crossings were temporarily opened to allow Venezuelans to purchase food and basic household and health items in Colombia.[128] In September 2016, a study published in the Spanish-language Diario Las Américas[129] indicated that 15% of Venezuelans are eating « food waste 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. The father of an inmate at Táchira Detention Center in Caracas alleged that his son was cannibalized by other inmates during a month-long riot, a claim corroborated by an anonymous police source but denied by the Minister of Correctional Affairs.[130]

In 2017, Venezuela experienced a constitutional crisis in the country. In March 2017, opposition leaders branded President Nicolas 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.[94] The Supreme Court backed down and reversed its decision on 1 April 2017.[[[[citation needed] 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.[[[[citation needed]

In December 2017, President Maduro declared that leading opposition parties would be barred from taking part in following year’s presidential vote after they boycotted mayoral polls.[131]

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.[132][133][134][135] Other countries including Cuba, China, Russia, Turkey, and Iran continued to recognize Maduro as president,[136][137] 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.[138] A Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman denied the reports, describing them as « false information ».[139]

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, »[140] while the United Nations General Assembly formally recognized the Maduro government as the only legitimate representative of Venezuela at the United Nations[141] and in October 2019, Venezuela was elected to the United Nations Human Rights Council.[142]

In August 2019, United States President Donald Trump signed an executive order to impose a total economic embargo against Venezuela.[143] In March 2020, the Trump administration indicted Maduro and several Venezuelan officials on charges of drug trafficking.[144][[[[non-primary source needed]

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.[145][146]

Geography

Topographic map of Venezuela

Venezuela is located in the north of South America; geologically, its mainland rests on the South American Plate. It has a total area of 916,445 km2 (353,841 sq mi) and a land area of 882,050 km2 (340,560 sq mi), making Venezuela the 33rd largest country in the world. The territory it controls lies between latitudes 0° and 13°N and longitudes 59° and 74°W.

Shaped roughly like a triangle, the country has a 2,800 km (1,700 mi) 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 topographical regions: the Maracaibo lowlands 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 Guiana Highlands 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 4,979 m (16,335 ft), lies in this region. To the south, the dissected Guiana Highlands contain the northern fringes of the Amazon Basin and Angel Falls, the world’s highest waterfall, as well as tepuis, 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 delta in the east. The Orinoco, with its rich alluvial soils, binds the largest and most important river system of the country; it originates in one of the largest watersheds in Latin America. The Caroní and the Apure are other major rivers.

Venezuela borders Colombia to the west, Guyana to the east, and Brazil to the south. Caribbean islands such as Trinidad and Tobago, Grenada, Curaçao, Aruba, and the Leeward Antilles 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.[147]

Venezuela’s most significant natural resources are petroleum and natural gas, iron ore, gold, and other minerals. It also has large areas of arable land and water.

Climate

Venezuela map of Köppen climate classification

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 35 °C (95.0 °F), to glaciers and highlands (the páramos) with an average yearly temperature of 8 °C (46.4 °F). Annual rainfall varies from 430 mm (16.9 in) in the semiarid portions of the northwest to over 1,000 mm (39.4 in) 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.[149]

Venezuelan climatic types, according to their thermal floors

The country falls into four horizontal temperature zones based primarily on elevation, having tropical, dry, temperate with dry winters, and polar (alpine tundra) climates, amongst others.[151][152] In the tropical zone—below 800 m (2,625 ft)—temperatures are hot, with yearly averages ranging between 26 and 28 °C (78.8 and 82.4 °F). The temperate zone ranges between 800 and 2,000 m (2,625 and 6,562 ft) with averages from 12 to 25 °C (53.6 to 77.0 °F); many of Venezuela’s cities, including the capital, lie in this region. Colder conditions with temperatures from 9 to 11 °C (48.2 to 51.8 °F) are found in the cool zone between 2,000 and 3,000 m (6,562 and 9,843 ft), especially in the Venezuelan Andes, where pastureland and permanent snowfield with yearly averages below 8 °C (46 °F) cover land above 3,000 meters (9,843 ft) in the páramos.

The highest temperature recorded was 42 °C (108 °F) in Machiques,[153] and the lowest temperature recorded was −11 °C (12 °F), it has been reported from an uninhabited high altitude at Páramo de Piedras Blancas (Mérida state),[154] even though no official reports exist, lower temperatures in the mountains of the Sierra Nevada de Mérida are known.

Biodiversity

Venezuela lies within the Neotropical realm; large portions of the country were originally covered by moist broadleaf forests. One of 17 megadiverse countries,[155] Venezuela’s habitats 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 mangrove forests in the northeast.[149] Its cloud forests and lowland rainforests are particularly rich.

Animals of Venezuela are diverse and include manatees, three-toed sloth, two-toed sloth, Amazon river dolphins, and Orinoco Crocodiles, which have been reported to reach up to 6.6 m (22 ft) in length. Venezuela hosts a total of 1,417 bird species, 48 of which are endemic.[157] Important birds include ibises, ospreys, kingfishers, and the yellow-orange Venezuelan troupial, the national bird. Notable mammals include the giant anteater, jaguar, and the capybara, the world’s largest rodent. More than half of Venezuelan avian and mammalian species are found in the Amazonian forests south of the Orinoco.[158]

For the fungi, an account was provided by R.W.G. Dennis[159] which has been digitized and the records made available on-line as part of the Cybertruffle Robigalia database.[160] 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.[161]

Among plants of Venezuela, over 25,000 species of orchids are found in the country’s cloud forest and lowland rainforest ecosystems. These include the flor de mayo orchid (Cattleya mossiae), the national flower. Venezuela’s national tree is the araguaney, whose characteristic lushness after the rainy season led novelist Rómulo Gallegos to name it « [l]a primavera de oro de los araguaneyes » (the golden spring of the araguaneyes). The tops of the tepuis are also home to several carnivorous plants including the marsh pitcher plant, Heliamphora, and the insectivorous bromeliad, Brocchinia reducta.

Venezuela is among the top 20 countries in terms of endemism.[162] Among its animals, 23% of reptilian and 50% of amphibian species are endemic.[162] 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 possible endemics of the country.[163] Some 38% of the over 21,000 plant species known from Venezuela are unique to the country.[162]

Environment

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.[158] Venezuela had a 2019 Forest Landscape Integrity Index mean score of 8.78/10, ranking it 19th globally out of 172 countries.[166] The country’s biosphere reserve is part of the World Network of Biosphere Reserves; five wetlands are registered under the Ramsar Convention.[167] In 2003, 70% of the nation’s land was under conservation management in over 200 protected areas, including 43 national parks.[168]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 32,000 square miles (82,880 square kilometres), the area is off-limits to farmers, miners, and all non-Yanomami settlers.

Venezuela was one of the few countries that did not enter an INDC at COP21.[169][170] Many terrestrial ecosystems are considered endangered, specially the dry forest in the northern regions of the country and the coral reefs in the Caribbean coast.[164][171][172]

Hydrography

The country is made up of three river basins: the Caribbean Sea, the Atlantic Ocean and Lake Valencia, which forms an endorheic basin.[173]

On the Atlantic side it drains most of Venezuela’s river waters. The largest basin in this area is the extensive Orinoco basin[174] 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 Orinoco that, after some 500 km in length, connects it to the Negro River, which in turn is a tributary of the Amazon. The Orinoco receives directly or indirectly rivers such as the Ventuari, the Caura, the Caroní, the Meta, the Arauca, 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 Esequibo River.

Autana River, Amazonas State

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 Catatumbo, which originates in Colombia 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.[175] 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, Portuguesa, Ventuari and Zulia, among others.

The country’s main lakes are Lake Maracaibo[176] -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 Guri reservoir, the Altagracia lagoon, the Camatagua reservoir and the Mucubají lagoon in the Andes. Navigation in Lake Maracaibo through the natural channel is useful for the mobilization of oil resources.

Relief

The Venezuelan natural landscape[177] is the product of the interaction of tectonic plates[177] that since the Paleozoic 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: coastline with several peninsulas[178] and islands, adenas of the Andes mountain range (north and northwest), Lake Maracaibo (between the chains, on the coast);[179]Orinoco river delta,[180] region of peneplains 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[181] and in the crystalline line of the Maritime and Cordillera massifs in Venezuela. The Venezuelan part of the Guyanas Altiplano consists of a large granite block of gneiss and other crystalline Archean rocks, with underlying layers of sandstone and shale clay.[182]

The core of granite and Cordillera is, to a large extent, flanked by sedimentary layers from the Cretaceous,[183] folded in an anticline structure. Between these orographic systems there are plains covered with tertiary and quaternary layers of gravels, sands and clayey marls. The depression in which are lagoons and lakes, among which is that of Maracaibo, presents, on the surface, alluvial deposits from the Quaternary,[184] on layers of the Cretaceous and Tertiary particularly important, because of them oil infiltrations emerge.

They present a landscape with intermountain depressions (separated by mountains), mountainous areas, a massif and an island group.

  • Lara-Falcón-Yaracuy System

The reliefs of mountain ranges contrast with those of the peninsula, coastal plains and intermountain depressions.

The basin of the lake and the plains of the Gulf of Venezuela make up two plains: the northern one, drier, and the southern one, humid and with swamps.[179]

The corpulent volumes of mountain ranges and mountain ranges predominate, as well as intramontane valleys (located within the mountains).

They form extensive sedimentary basins, with a predominantly flat relief,[185] except the eastern Llanos, which show plateaus, and the Unare depression, formed by the erosion of the mesa.

Mountain ranges on the Caribbean Sea coast of Venezuela, Carabobo State

It exhibits a varied relief, shaped by different rocks, orogenic events and erosion over millions of years. That is why here there are peneplains, mountain ranges, foothills and the characteristic tepuis.[181]

With few contrasts, it builds a complex system of lands and waters, with varied sedimentary contributions and innumerable channels and islands.[180]

Valleys

The valleys are undoubtedly the most important type of landscape in the Venezuelan territory,[186] 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 Maracaibo Lake, except also in the Amazonian peneplains.[187]

By their modeling, the valleys of the Venezuelan territory belong mainly to two types: valleys of fluvial type and valleys of glacial type.[188] 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. They are frequently retouched today by fluvial events. Consequently, any attempt to typologize the Venezuelan valleys, based exclusively on the characteristics of their modeling, would be quite elementary.

The deep and narrow Andean valleys are very different from the wide depressions of Aragua and Carabobo, in the Cordillera de la Costa, or from the valleys nestled in the Mesas de Monagas. 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 Andean valleys 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 Guiana valleys are another category this area is called the Lost World (Mundo Perdido).[187]

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 meters of relative altitude. They are also the most picturesque in terms of their style of habitat, forms of land use, handicraft production and all the traditions linked to these activities. these activities[187]

Government and politics

Following the fall of Marcos Pérez Jiménez in 1958, Venezuelan politics were dominated by the Third Way Christian democratic COPEI and the center-left social democratic Democratic Action (AD) parties; this two-party system was formalized by the puntofijismo arrangement. Economic crises in the 1980s and 1990s led to a political crisis which resulted in hundreds dead in the Caracazo riots of 1989, two attempted coups in 1992, and impeachment of President Carlos Andrés Pérez for corruption in 1993. A collapse in confidence in the existing parties saw the 1998 election of Hugo Chávez, who had led the first of the 1992 coup attempts, and the launch of a « Bolivarian Revolution », beginning with a 1999 Constituent Assembly to write a new Constitution of Venezuela.

The opposition’s attempts to unseat Chávez included the 2002 Venezuelan coup d’état attempt, the Venezuelan general strike of 2002–2003, and the Venezuelan recall referendum, 2004, all of which failed. Chávez was re-elected in December 2006 but suffered a significant defeat in 2007 with the narrow rejection of the 2007 Venezuelan constitutional referendum, which had offered two packages of constitutional reforms aimed at deepening the Bolivarian Revolution.

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, Justice First, Movement for Socialism (MAS) and others. Hugo Chávez, the central figure of the Venezuelan political landscape since his election to the presidency in 1998 as a political outsider, died in office in early 2013, and was succeeded by Nicolás Maduro (initially as interim president, before narrowly winning the 2013 Venezuelan presidential election).

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 unicameral 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.[189] Three seats are reserved for representatives of Venezuela’s indigenous peoples. For the 2011–2016 period the number of seats is 165.[190] All deputies serve five-year terms.

The voting age in Venezuela is 18 and older. Voting is not compulsory.[191]

The legal system of Venezuela belongs to the Continental Law tradition. The highest judicial body is the Supreme Tribunal of Justice or Tribunal Supremo de Justicia, whose magistrates are elected by parliament for a single two-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 adding that « one thing is separation of powers and another one is division ».[192]

Suspension of constitutional rights

The 2015 parliamentary elections were held on 6 December 2015 to elect the 164 deputies and three indigenous representatives of the National Assembly. In 2014, a series of protest and demonstrations began in Venezuela, attributed[[[[by whom?] to inflation, violence and shortages in Venezuela. The government has accused the protest of being motivated by fascists, opposition leaders, capitalism and foreign influence,[193] despite being largely peaceful.[194]

President Maduro acknowledged PSUV 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 ».[195] In the following months, Maduro fulfilled his promise of preventing the democratically and constitutionally elected National Assembly from legislating. The first steps taken by PSUV and government were the substitution of the entire Supreme court a day after the Parliamentary Elections[196] contrary to the Constitution of Venezuela, acclaimed as a fraud by the majority of the Venezuelan and international press.[197][198][199][200] le Temps Financier described the function of the Supreme Court in Venezuela as « rubber stamping executive whims and vetoing legislation ».[201] The PSUV government used this violation to suspend several elected opponents,[202] ignoring again the Constitution of Venezuela. Maduro said that « the Amnesty law (approved by the Parliament) will not be executed » and asked the Supreme Court to declare it unconstitutional before the law was known.[203]

On 16 January 2016, Maduro approved an unconstitutional economic emergency decree,[204] 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.[196][197][198][199][200] 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,[205] which is a clear violation of the Constitution of Venezuela[206] 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[207][208][209] and public figures.[210][211][212]

On 14 May 2016, the Organization of American States was considering the application of the Inter-American Democratic Charter[213] sanctions for non-compliance to its own constitution.

In March 2017, the Venezuelan Supreme Court took over law making powers from the National Assembly[214] but reversed its decision the following day.[215]

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 Pedro Carmona. In 2015, Venezuela was declared a national security threat by U.S. president Barack Obama.[216][217][218] Correspondingly, ties to various Latin American and Middle Eastern countries not allied to the U.S. have strengthened. For example, Palestinian foreign minister Riyad al-Maliki declared in 2015 that Venezuela was his country’s « most important ally ».[219]

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 teleSUR. 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[220] and is actively working in the Mercosur trade bloc to push increased trade and energy integration. Globally, it seeks a « multi-polar » world based on strengthened ties among undeveloped countries.

President Maduro among other Latin American leaders participating in a 2017 ALBA gathering

On 26 April 2017, Venezuela announced its intention to withdraw from the OAS.[221] 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.[222]

Venezuela is involved in a long-standing disagreement about the control of the Guayana Esequiba 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).[223]

Military

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 Venezuelan Army, the Venezuelan Navy, the Venezuelan Air Force, the Venezuelan National Guard, and the Venezuelan National Militia.

As of 2008, 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 the age of 18, which is the age of majority in Venezuela.

Law and crime

Murder rate (murder per 100,000 citizens) from 1998 to 2018.

Sources: OVV,[224][225] PROVEA,[226][227] UN[226][227][228]
* UN line between 2007 and 2012 is simulated missing data.

In Venezuela, a person is murdered every 21 minutes.[232] Violent crimes have been so prevalent in Venezuela that the government no longer produces the crime data.[233] 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.[234] By 2015, it had risen to 90 per 100,000.[235] The country’s body count of the previous decade mimics that of the Iraq War and in some instances had more civilian deaths even though the country is at peacetime.[236] The capital Caracas has one of the greatest homicide rates of any large city in the world, with 122 homicides per 100,000 residents.[237] In 2008, polls indicated that crime was the number one concern of voters.[238] Attempts at fighting crime such as Operation Liberation of the People were implemented to crack down on gang-controlled areas[239] but, of reported criminal acts, less than 2% are prosecuted.[240] In 2017, the Temps Financier 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.[201]

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 for a ransom or sale to terrorist organizations[241] and murder, and that their own diplomatic travelers are required to travel in armored vehicles.[242][243] The United Kingdom’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office has advised against all travel to Venezuela.[244] Visitors have been murdered during robberies and criminals do not discriminate among their victims. Former Miss Venezuela 2004 winner Mónica Spear and her ex-husband were murdered and their 5-year-old daughter was shot while vacationing in Venezuela, and an elderly German tourist was murdered only a few weeks later.[245][246]

There are approximately 33 prisons holding about 50,000 inmates.[247] They include; El Rodeo outside of Caracas, Yare Prison in the northern state of Miranda, and several others. Venezuela’s prison system is heavily overcrowded; its facilities have capacity for only 14,000 prisoners.[248]

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.[249] 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 Democracy Index.[250] The Democracy index downgraded Venezuela to an authoritarian regime in 2017, citing continued increasingly dictatorial behaviors by the Maduro government.[251]

Corruption

Corruption in Venezuela is high by world standards and was so for much of the 20th century. The discovery of oil had worsened political corruption,[252] 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.[253] 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.[254] By 2016, the rank had increased to 166 out of 178.[255] Similarly, the World Justice Project ranked Venezuela 99th out of 99 countries surveyed in its 2014 Rule of Law Index.[256]

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 Panama.[257] In 2006, the government’s agency for combating illegal drug trade in Venezuela, ONA, was incorporated into the office of the vice-president of the country. However, many major government and military officials have been known for their involvement with drug trafficking; especially with the October 2013 incident of men from the Venezuelan National Guard placing 1.3 tons of cocaine on a Paris flight knowing they will not face charges.[258]

Administrative Divisions

Map of the Venezuelan federation

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.[[[[citation needed]

The country can be further divided into ten geographical areas, some corresponding to climatic and biogeographical regions. In the north are the Venezuelan Andes and the Coro region, a mountainous tract in the northwest, holds several sierras and valleys. East of it are lowlands abutting Lake Maracaibo and the Gulf of Venezuela.[[[[citation needed]

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

Additionally, the country maintains a historical claim on the territory it calls Guyana Esequiba, which is equivalent to about 160,000 square kilometers and corresponds to all 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. In addition to this agreement, the Port of Spain Protocol of 1970 set a deadline to try to resolve the issue, without success to date.[[[[citation needed]

Largest cities

Economy

Graphical depiction of Venezuela’s product exports in 28 color-coded categories

Venezuela has a market-based mixed economy dominated by the petroleum sector,[260][261] 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.[64] 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.[262]

The Central Bank of Venezuela is responsible for developing monetary policy 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, cited in Le journal de Wall Street, 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.[263] 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.[264]

Annual variation of real GDP according to the Central Bank of Venezuela (2016 preliminary)[265][266]

Manufacturing contributed 17% of GDP in 2006. Venezuela manufactures and exports heavy industry products such as steel, aluminium and cement, with production concentrated around Ciudad Guayana, near the Guri Dam, one of the largest in the world and the provider of about three-quarters of Venezuela’s electricity. Other notable manufacturing includes electronics and automobiles, as well as beverages, and foodstuffs. 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. In 2012, total food consumption was over 26 million metric tonnes, a 94.8% increase from 2003.[267]

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 OPEC. Previously an underdeveloped exporter of agricultural commodities such as coffee and cocoa, 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 and poverty rates rise to 66% in 1995 as (by 1998) per capita GDP fell to the same level as 1963, down a third from its 1978 peak. 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.[270] 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 like other OPEC nations; with economic issues and poverty rising as a result of their policies in the 2010s.[21][271][272] 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,[113][273] shortages of staple goods began to occur in Venezuela and malnutrition began to increase.[113]

In early 2013, Venezuela devalued its currency due to growing shortages in the country.[274][275][276] The shortages included, and still include, necessities such as toilet paper, milk, and flour.[277] Fears rose so high due to the toilet paper shortage that the government occupied a toilet paper factory, and continued further plans to nationalize other industrial aspects like food distribution.[278][279] Venezuela’s bond ratings have also decreased multiple times in 2013 due to decisions by the president Nicolás Maduro. One of his decisions was to force stores and their warehouses to sell all of their products, which led to even more shortages in the future.[280] In 2016, consumer prices in Venezuela increased 800% and the economy declined by 18.6%, entering an economic depression.[281][282] Venezuela’s outlook was deemed negative by most bond-rating services in 2017.[283][284] 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.[285]

Tourism

Tourism has been developed considerably in recent decades, particularly because of its favorable geographical position, the variety of landscapes, the richness of plant and wildlife, the artistic expressions and the privileged tropical climate of the country, which affords each region (especially the beaches) throughout the year.

Margarita Island is one of the top tourist destinations for enjoyment and relaxation. It is an island with a modern infrastructure, bordered by beautiful 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.[286]

Canaima National Park[287] 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. About 65% of the park is occupied by rock plateaus called tepuis. These constitute a unique biological environment, also presenting great geological interest. 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,[288] for the beauty of its Andean landscapes and its pleasant climate, 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. It is also necessary to recommend to travel through magnificent roads, the southern moors, where you can find good hotels and restaurants.

Shortages

Empty shelves in a store in Venezuela due to shortages in 2014

Shortages in Venezuela have been prevalent following the enactment of price controls and other policies during the economic policy of the Hugo Chávez government.[289][290] 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.[291]

Shortages 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.[289][292][293] As a result of the shortages, Venezuelans must search for food, wait in lines for hours and sometimes settle without having certain products.[294][295]Maduro’s government has blamed the shortages on « bourgeois criminals » hoarding goods.[296]

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[297] and reduced the government workweek to only Monday and Tuesday.[298] 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.[299]

By late-2016 and into 2017, Venezuelans had to search for food on a daily basis, occasionally resorting to eating wild fruit or garbage, wait in lines for hours and sometimes settle without having certain products.[300][295][301][302][303] By early 2017, priests began telling Venezuelans to label their garbage so needy individuals could feed on their refuse.[304] In March 2017, Venezuela, with the largest oil reserves in the world, began having shortages of gasoline in some regions with reports that fuel imports had begun.[305]

Petroleum and other resources

Figure depicting Venezuelan oil exports and the interdependence between the U.S. and Venezuela[306]

Venezuela has the largest oil reserves, and the eighth largest natural gas reserves in the world.[307] 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.[308] The country’s main petroleum deposits are located around and beneath Lake Maracaibo, the Gulf of Venezuela (both in Zulia), 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,[309] Venezuela has non-conventional oil deposits (extra-heavy crude oil, bitumen and tar sands) approximately equal to the world’s reserves of conventional oil.[310] The electricity sector in Venezuela is one of the few to rely primarily on hydropower, 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.

A map of world oil reserves according to OPEC, 2013. Venezuela has the world’s largest oil reserves.

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.

The state oil company PDVSA played a key role in the December 2002 – February 2003 national strike which sought President Chávez’ resignation. Managers and skilled highly paid technicians of PDVSA shut down the plants and left their posts, and by some reports sabotaged equipment, and petroleum production and refining by PDVSA almost ceased. Activities eventually were slowly restarted by returning and substitute oil workers. As a result of the strike, around 40% of the company’s workforce (around 18,000 workers) were dismissed for « dereliction of duty » during the strike.[315]

Transport

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 Maracaibo) and sea (with major sea ports at La Guaira, Maracaibo and Puerto Cabello). In the south and east the Amazon rainforest region has limited cross-border transport; in the west, there is a mountainous border of over 2,213 kilometres (1,375 mi) shared with Colombia. The Orinoco River is navigable by oceangoing vessels up to 400 kilometres (250 mi) 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[[[[clarification needed] and owing China Railway nearly $500 million.[316]
Several major cities have metro systems; the Caracas Metro has been operating since 1983. The Maracaibo Metro and Valencia Metro were opened more recently.
Venezuela has a road network of nearly 100,000 kilometres (62,000 mi) in length, placing the country around 45th in the world;[317] around a third of roads are paved.

Demographics

Venezuela is among the most urbanized countries in Latin America;[14][15] 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 100 kilometres (62 mi) from the coastline.[318] 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 Ciudad Guayana, which is the sixth most populous conurbation.[319] Other major cities include Barquisimeto, Valencia, Maracay, Maracaibo, Barcelona-Puerto La Cruz, Mérida and San Cristóbal.

According to a 2014 study by sociologists of the Central University of Venezuela, over 1.5 million Venezuelans, or about 4% to 6% of the country’s population, have left Venezuela since 1999 following the Bolivarian Revolution.[320][321]

Ethnic groups

Racial and Ethnic Composition (2011 Census)[1]
Race/Ethnicity
Mestizo 51.6%
White 43.6%
Black 2.9%
Afro-descendant 0.7%
Other races 1.2%

The people of Venezuela come from a variety of ancestries. It is estimated that the majority of the population is of mestizo, or mixed, ethnic ancestry. Nevertheless, in the 2011 census, which Venezuelans were asked to identify themselves according to their customs and ancestry, the term mestizo was excluded from the answers. The majority claimed to be mestizo or white—51.6% and 43.6%, respectively.[1] Practically half of the population claimed to be moreno, a term used throughout Ibero-America that in this case means « dark-skinned » or « brown-skinned », as opposed to having a lighter skin (this term connotes skin color or tone, rather than facial features or descent).

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 ».[1]

Among indigenous people, 58% were Wayúu, 7% Warao, 5% Kariña, 4% Pemón, 3% Piaroa, 3% Jivi, 3% Añu, 3% Cumanágoto, 2% Yukpa, 2% Chaima and 1% Yanomami; the remaining 9% consisted of other indigenous nations.[322]

According to an autosomal DNA genetic study conducted in 2008 by the University of Brasília (UNB), the composition of Venezuela’s population is 60.60% of European contribution, 23% of indigenous contribution, and 16.30% of African contribution.[323]

White population of Venezuela in 2011

During the colonial period and until after the Second World War, many of the European immigrants to Venezuela came from the Canary Islands,[324] which had a significant cultural impact on the cuisine and customs of Venezuela.[325][326][327] These influences on Venezuela have led to the nation being called the 8th island of the Canaries.[328][329] 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.[330] During the 20th century, Venezuela, along with the rest of Latin America, received millions of immigrants from Europe.[331][332] This was especially true post-World War II, as a consequence of war-ridden Europe.[331][332][333] During the 1970s, while experiencing an oil-export boom, Venezuela received millions of immigrants from Ecuador, Colombia, and the Dominican Republic.[333] Due to the belief that this immigration influx depressed wages, some Venezuelans opposed European immigration.[333] The Venezuelan government, however, were actively recruiting immigrants from Eastern Europe to fill a need for engineers.[331] Millions of Colombians, as well as Middle Eastern and Haitian populations would continue immigrating to Venezuela into the early 21st century.[330]

Selon le World Refugee Survey 2008, published by the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, Venezuela hosted a population of refugee and asylum seekers from Colombia numbering 252,200 in 2007, and 10,600 new asylum seekers entered Venezuela in 2007.[334] Between 500,000 and one million illegal immigrants are estimated to be living in the country.[335]

The total indigenous population of the country is estimated at about 500 thousand people (2.8% of the total), distributed among 40 indigenous peoples.[336] 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 Wayuu (west), the Warao (east), the Yanomami (south), and the Pemon (southeast).

Languages

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 Wayuu, Warao, Pemón, 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.[337]

The Venezuelan Academy of Language studies the development of the Spanish language in the country.

Immigrants, in addition to Spanish, speak their own languages. Chinese (400,000), Portuguese (254,000),[337] and Italian (200,000)[338] are the most spoken languages in Venezuela after the official language of Spanish. Arabic is spoken by Lebanese and Syrian colonies on Isla de Margarita, Maracaibo, Punto Fijo, Puerto la Cruz, El Tigre, Maracay, 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.[339] The German community speaks their native language, while the people of Colonia Tovar speak mostly an Alemannic 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 done by foreign companies, in addition to its acceptance as a lingua franca. 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 Trinidadian and other British West Indies immigrants.[340] A variety of Antillean Creole is spoken by a small community in El Callao and Paria.[341] Italian language teaching is guaranteed by the presence of a consistent number of private Venezuelan schools and institutions, where Italian language courses and Italian literature are active. Other languages spoken by large communities in the country are Basque and Galician, among others.

Religion

Religion in Venezuela (2011)[2]

Other religion (3%)

No answer (1%)

According to a 2011 poll (GIS XXI), 88% of the population is Christian, primarily Roman Catholic (71%), and the remaining 17% Protestant, primarily Evangelicals (in Latin America Protestants are usually called « evangelicos »). 8% of Venezuelans are irreligious (atheist 2% and agnostic and 6% indifferent). Almost 3% of the population follow another religion (1% of these people practice Santería).[2]

There are small but influential Muslim, Druze,[342][343]Buddhist, and Jewish communities. The Muslim community of more than 100,000 is concentrated among persons of Lebanese and Syrian descent living in Nueva Esparta State, Punto Fijo and the Caracas area. The Druze community are estimated around 60,000 and concentrated among persons of Lebanese and Syrian descent (a former vice president is Druze, showing the small group’s influence).[344][342] Buddhism in Venezuela is practiced by over 52,000 people. The Buddhist community is made up mainly of Chinese, Japanese, and Korean people. There are Buddhist centers in Caracas, Maracay, Mérida, Puerto Ordáz, San Felipe, and Valencia.

The Jewish community has shrunk in recent years due to rising economic pressures and antisemitism in Venezuela,[345][346][347][348][349] with the population declining from 22,000 in 1999[350] to less than 7,000 in 2015.[351]

Santé

Cases of malaria in Venezuela according to the Ministry of Popular Power for Health[352]
Deaths of children under one year in Venezuela according to the Ministry of Popular Power for Health[352]

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,[353][354] although its efficiency and work conditions have been criticized.[355][356][357] It has been reported that many Misión Barrio Adentro clinics have been closed, and (as of December 2014) it is estimated that 80% of Barrio Adentro establishments in Venezuela are abandoned.[358][359]

Infant mortality 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 and the Canadian figure was 4.5 deaths per 1,000 live births).[360] Child malnutrition (defined as stunting or wasting in children under the age of five) was 17%. Delta Amacuro and Amazonas had the nation’s highest rates.[361] According to the United Nations, 32% of Venezuelans lacked adequate sanitation, primarily those living in rural areas.[362] Diseases ranging from diphtheria, plague, malaria,[240]typhoid fever, yellow fever, cholera, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, and hepatitis D were present in the country.[363]Obesity was prevalent in approximately 30% of the adult population in Venezuela.[360]

Venezuela had a total of 150 sewage treatment plants; however, 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.[365]

Éducation

Illiteracy rate in Venezuela based on data from UNESCO[366][367] and the Instituto Nacional de Estadística (INE) of Venezuela[368]

The literacy rate of the adult population was already at 91.1% by 1998.[369] In 2008, 95.2% of the adult population was literate.[370] The net primary school enrollment rate was at 91% and the net secondary school enrollment rate was at 63% in 2005.[370] Venezuela has a number of universities, of which the most prestigious are the Central University of Venezuela (UCV) founded in Caracas in 1721, the University of Zulia (LUZ) founded in 1891, the University of the Andes (ULA) founded in Mérida State in 1810, the Simón Bolívar University (USB) founded in Miranda State in 1967, and the University of the East (UDO) founded in Sucre State in 1958.

Currently, many Venezuelan graduates seek a future abroad because of the country’s troubled economy and heavy crime rate. In a study titled « Venezolana Community Abroad: A New Method of Exile » by Thomas Páez, Mercedes Vivas, and Juan Rafael Pulido of the Central University of Venezuela, over 1.35 million Venezuelan college graduates have left the country since the beginning of the Bolivarian Revolution.[320][321] It is believed that nearly 12% of Venezuelans live abroad, with Ireland becoming a popular destination for students.[371] 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.[372]

By 2018, over half of all Venezuelan children had dropped out of school, with 58% of students quitting nationwide while areas near bordering countries saw more than 80% of their students leave.[373][374] 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.[374]

Culture

The culture of Venezuela is a melting pot made up of three main groups: The Indigenous Venezuelans, the Africans, and the Spanish. The first two cultures were in turn differentiated according to their tribes. Acculturation and assimilation, typical of a cultural syncretism, led to the Venezuelan culture of the present day, which is similar in many ways to the culture of the rest of Latin America, but still has its own unique characteristics.

The indigenous and African influence is limited to a few words, food names, and place names. However, the Africans also 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, and in particular came from the regions of Andalusia and Extremadura (the places of origin of most of the settlers in the Caribbean during the colonial era). Spanish influences can be seen in the country’s architecture, music, religion, and language.

Spanish influences can also be seen in the bullfights that take place in Venezuela, and in certain gastronomical features. 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 further enriched the already complex cultural mosaic (especially in large oil-producing cities)[[[[citation needed].

Architecture

Carlos Raúl Villanueva 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 Baralt Theatre, the Teresa Carreño Cultural Complex, and the General Rafael Urdaneta Bridge.

Art

Venezuelan art 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.Modernism took over in the 20th century. Notable Venezuelan artists include Arturo Michelena, Cristóbal Rojas, Armando Reverón, Manuel Cabré; the kinetic artists Jesús Soto, Gego and Carlos Cruz-Diez; and contemporary artists such as Marisol and Yucef Merhi.[379]

Literature

Venezuelan literature originated soon after the Spanish conquest of the mostly pre-literate indigenous societies.[380] It was originally dominated by Spanish influences. Following the rise of political literature during the Venezuelan War of Independence, Venezuelan Romanticism, 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 Positivism.

Musique

The indigenous musical styles of Venezuela are exemplified by groups like Un Sólo 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 « Caballo viejo » (by Simón Díaz).

The Zulian gaita is also a very popular genre, generally performed during Christmas. The national dance is the joropo. 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: calipso, bambuco, fulía, cantos de pilado de maíz, cantos de lavanderas, sebucán, and maremare.[382]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, under the leadership of its principal conductor Gustavo Dudamel and José Antonio Abreu, has hosted a number of excellent concerts in many European concert halls, most notably at the 2007 London Proms, and has received several honors. The orchestra is the pinnacle of El Sistema, 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.[383][384] Some groups following this movement are Tambor Urbano,[385] Los Sinverguenzas, C4Trío, and Orozco Jam.[386]

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 to dance with their people.

Sport

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 immense 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 basketball, 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. According to the CONMEBOL alphabetical rotation policy established in 2011, Venezuela is scheduled to host the Copa América every 40 years.[393]

Venezuela is also home to former Formula 1 driver, Pastor Maldonado.[394] At the 2012 Spanish Grand Prix, he claimed his first pole and victory, and became the first and only Venezuelan to have done so in Formula 1 history.[394] Maldonado has increased the reception of Formula 1 in Venezuela, helping to popularize the sport in the country.[395]

In the 2012 Summer Olympics, Venezuelan Rubén Limardo won a gold medal in fencing.[396]

In the Winter Sports, Cesar Baena had represented the country since 2008 in Nordic Skiing, making history in the continent when been the first southamerican skier ever compete in a FIS Cross Country Ski World Cup on Düsseldorf 2009.

Cuisine

Venezuelan cuisine is influenced by its European (Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, and French), West African, and Native American traditions. Venezuelan cuisine varies greatly from one region to another. Food staples include corn, rice, plantains, yams, beans and several meats. Potatoes, tomatoes, onions, eggplants, squashes, spinach and zucchini are also common sides in the Venezuelan diet. Ají dulce and papelón are found in most recipes. Worcestershire sauce is also used a frequently in stews. Venezuela is also characterized for having large variety of white cheese (queso blanco), usually name by geographical region.

Voir également

Remarques

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