Venezuela (officially the Republic of Bolivariana Venezuela, Spanish: Republique Bolivariana de Venezuela, [reˈpuβlika βoliβaˈɾjana Ðe βeneˈswela] is a country in South America.
Belonging to the tropical region, Venezuela climate has created favorable conditions for many species to grow with many wild nature conservation areas. This area of water is 916,445 km², the population is about 28 million people.
The territory now called Venezuela was invaded by Spain in 1522 amid the resistance of indigenous peoples. In 1811, it became one of the first American-Spanish territories to declare independence, but only gained the entire territory until 1821, when Venezuela was part of the federal republic. Gran Colombia.
Venezuela gained independence as a nation in 1830. In the 19th century, Venezuela suffered political and autocratic instability, still dominated by caudillos (military leaders) until the middle of the century. 20. Since 1958, this country has a series of democratic governments.
Economic shocks in the 1980s and 1990s led to a number of political crises, including the Caracazo riots in 1989, two attempts in 1992 and impeachment of President Carlos. Andrés Pérez for the embezzlement of public funds in 1993. The collapse of the present confidence in the parties witnessed the 1998 election of former career officers involved in the coup d’etat Hugo Chávez and started the Way. Bolivar network.
The revolution began with a constitutional Parliament in 1999, where a new Venezuelan Constitution was created. This new constitution officially changed the name of the country to the Republic of Bolivar Venezuela (Spanish: República Bolivariana de Venezuela).
Venezuela is one of the countries with the highest urbanization rate in Latin America. Most of the Venezuelan population concentrated in the big cities in the north. Caracas is the capital and also the largest city in Venezuela. Venezuela used to be famous throughout the world for its beautiful nature, abundant oil resources and beauty queens who won high prizes at international exams.
However, in recent years, the instability of oil prices has caused the serious crisis in all aspects for Venezuela, causing inflation, economic recession, shortage of basic commodities for people. people and a sharp increase in unemployment, poverty, illness, child mortality, malnutrition as well as crime in this country.
Venezuela is located in northern South America, adjacent to the Caribbean Sea to the north. The country has a coastline of more than 2800 km, making the sea’s influence on Venezuela’s climate relatively large.
Venezuelan terrain can be divided into three main areas:
Northwest: This is Venezuela’s highest altitude. The extremely north-eastern mountain ranges of the Andes range encroach on Venezuelan territory and extend to the north coast of the country. This is the location of Venezuela’s highest mountain, 4979 m high Pico Bolívar.
Central region: is the region with large plains. The plains are flat with fertile soil stretching from the border with Colombia to the west to the Orinoco river delta.
Southern Region: most of this area is the Guiana Plateau with average elevation. Angel Falls, the tallest waterfall in the world, is located in this area.
However, due to the complex interweaving of topographic forms, Venezuela can be divided into 10 different geographical areas, facilitating the development of many ecosystems with extremely diverse plant and animal species. format, including many endemic species of plants and animals in this country alone. Venezuela has many nature reserves with diverse landscapes.
Although almost entirely in the tropical region, the climate of Venezuela varies among regions. In the plains, the temperature and humidity are usually high with an average annual temperature of about 28 ° C, while in high mountainous areas, the average temperature is only 8 ° C. Rainfall also varies from 430 mm in the semi-deserted northwest to more than 1000 mm in the Orinoco delta.
Origin of the name Venezuela
The name of Venezuela is derived from the voyage of the mapmaker Amerigo Vespucci along with explorer Alonso de Ojeda to the northwestern coast of Venezuela bay in 1499. When he arrived at the peninsula of Guajira, Vespucci caught the leaf houses of Indians were built on the water and made him think of Venice (Italian: Venezia).
He named this land Venezuola, in Italian meaning “small Venice”. In Spanish, the phrase zuela used in the role of degrading is similar to the zuola in Italian, which is substituted to form the name Venezuela.
In addition, the Spanish geographer Martin Fernandez de Enciso, an Ojeda crew member, stated in his Summa de Geografía that the Indians in the region called themselves Venecuela, and the name Venezuela is derived from that name. But the story of Vespuccia is more widely accepted than the origin of the name of Venezuela.
Archaeological evidence shows that people have settled in Venezuela from 13,000 BC. Native hunting spears have been identified dating back from 13,000 to 7,000 years ago. When the Spaniards discovered the land, Native Indian tribes like the Mariche stood up. However, the revolts of the Indians quickly failed and they were gradually destroyed by the Spanish.
In 1522, the Spanish began to establish the first colonies in Venezuela. In the beginning, eastern Venezuela was incorporated into a large colony with the name New Andalusia. By the early eighteenth century, Venezuela was annexed to the colony of New Granada.
Under the harsh domination of Spanish feudalism, the Venezuelan people repeatedly rebelled but struggled without success. On July 5, 1811, the Republic of Venezuela declared independence. Francisco de Miranda, a commander who had participated in the French Revolution and the North American independence war, returned to lead the struggle of the Venezuelan people.
In 1812, the Spanish army returned to attack, Miranda was captured to Spain and died in prison. The ensuing struggle continued with the Second Republic established on August 7, 1813 but soon collapsed.
Under the leadership of national hero Simon Bolivar, Venezuela gained independence with the Carabobo victory on June 24, 1821. New Granada’s new parliament handed over military leadership to Bolivar and he liberated more new lands, forming Dai Colombia (Gran Colombia) including Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador and Panama today. Venezuela became part of the Great Colombia until 1830, when the country split to form a new nation.
The nineteenth century marked a turbulent period of Venezuelan history with political crises and military dictatorship. In the first half of the twentieth century, military generals still controlled Venezuelan politics despite also accepting some peaceful reforms and promoting economic development.
After Juan Vicente Gomez’s dictator died in 1935, the democratic movements in Venezuela finally eliminated the military dominance in 1958 and organized free elections.
Oil discovered in Venezuela has brought prosperity to the country’s economy, the national income has been improved. By the end of World War II, the influx of immigrants from Southern Europe such as Spain, Portugal, Italy as well as poorer Latin American countries made Venezuela’s society extremely diverse.
The drop in oil prices in the 1980s caused Venezuela’s economic crisis. The devaluation of the currency makes the life of the Venezuelan people lower. The failed economic policies and political conflicts pushed Venezuela into a serious crisis, most evident through two coups in 1992.
In February 1992, the army officer Hugo Chavez conducted a coup but failed. By November of the same year, Hugo Chavez’s supporters once again conducted a coup but failed. However, Chavez won many sympathies of the Venezuelan people and he won the Venezuelan presidential election in 1998 with a rate of 56%.
After taking office, Hugo Chavez led Venezuela in the left wing and helped the economy grow. However, he also faced strong opposition from the opposition. In 2002, the opposition in Venezuela conducted a coup but failed.
Violence and strikes have caused Venezuela’s economy to once again fall into crisis, especially in 2003. By 2004, Hugo Chavez passed a referendum on the dismissal of the president at a rate of 59. % He was elected president for another term in December 2006 and was re-elected for a third term in October 2012.
Chávez died on March 5, 2013 after a two-year war on cancer. Poverty and inflation began to skyrocket in the 2010s. Nicolás Maduro was elected in 2013 after Chavez’s death. In 2014, Venezuela fell into a serious recession.
By 2015, Venezuela became the country with the highest inflation rate in the world, approximately 1,000,000% in early 2018. Economic problems, as well as crimes, looting, especially robbery of food and corruption, which is one of the main causes of a series of Venezuelan protests in 2014–2018. Most food and medicine are lacking, other necessities are extremely luxurious and exceed the reach of most people in this country.
Politics of Venezuela
The Venezuelan president was elected with a direct vote on the principle of universal suffrage. The president takes on the role of head of state and also head of government. The term of a president is 6 years and the president can be re-elected in a subsequent term.
The Venezuelan president has the right to appoint the vice president and decide the size and composition of the cabinet and appoint members with ratification by parliament. The president may ask the parliament to amend the laws but the parliament may also veto the president’s proposal if the majority rejects it.
The unicameral legislature of Venezuela is the Parliament or Asamblea Nacional. Congress has 167 delegates, including 3 seats reserved for Indians. Delegates have a 5-year term and can be re-elected for up to 2 more terms. Parliamentary delegates may be elected according to the list of political parties or independent candidates.
The supreme judiciary is Venezuela’s Supreme Court or Tribunal Supremo de Justicia, with judges elected by the parliament for a 12-year term. Venezuela’s National Election Council (Consejo Nacional Electoral, or CNE) is responsible for the election process, with five leaders elected by Congress.
Venezuela abolished the death penalty in 1863 and abolished the earliest death sentence in the world.
Venezuelan diplomatic relations
During the twentieth century, although there were some territorial disputes with neighboring Colombia and Guyana, Venezuela often maintained good relations with almost every Latin American country as well as Western countries.
After President Hugo Chavez was elected in the presidential election in 1998, he led Venezuela in a left-wing way with the doctrine of Bolivarism and XXI-century socialism for the Americas. Accordingly, he wanted to separate Latin America from the backyard of the United States and have strong anti-US statements.
Under Hugo Chavez, diplomatic relations with leftist and socialist countries in Latin America were promoted, especially with Russia, Bolivia and Cuba when all three countries established a trade agreement to prevent photographic American influence on the region.
Recently, Chavez is also interested in and supports a number of other rising left-wing countries in the region such as Ecuador and Nicaragua. Not to mention that he also promoted diplomatic relations with anti-American countries like Belarus or Iran.
At the same time, diplomatic relations between Venezuela and the United States also deteriorated rapidly. Venezuela’s relationship with neighboring Colombia, an American ally, is also getting worse. In early 2008, when Colombian troops attacked to destroy the FARC rebel base in the territory of Ecuador, Venezuela protested strongly and the two countries came close to a war.
The Venezuelan army is under the command of the commander in chief of the army, the president of Venezuela. The Venezuelan army is divided into army, navy, air force and defense forces. Besides, there are some other branches. Currently Venezuela’s army is about 100,000 people. The country’s annual defense expenditure is estimated at about $ 1.7 billion (2004).
Venezuelan administrative decentralization
The whole country of Venezuela is divided into 23 states (estados), 1 capital district (distrito capital), Caracas city, dependent territories (Dependencias Federales) and Guyana Esequiba area of dispute with Guyana. At the next level, Venezuela is further divided into 335 municipalities (municipios) and then divided into more than 1000 small areas (parroquias).
The oil industry is the economic sector that contributes the most to Venezuela’s economy, up to one-third of GDP, 80% of export value and more than half of the state budget. The country has a huge oil and gas reserves and now Venezuela is one of the world’s 10 largest crude oil exporters.
Venezuela’s main oil fields are in the Maracaibo area, Venezuela bay and the Orinoco river delta. Subsidized by the government, Venezuela is one of the countries with the cheapest petrol prices in the world. However, the erratic ups and downs of world oil prices as well as political crises and strikes threaten Venezuela’s sensitive economic sector.
The Venezuelan government is seeking to diversify its economy and avoid excessive dependence on its oil. By 2016, Venezuela’s GDP reached 333,715 USD, ranked 32nd in the world and ranked 4th in Latin America.
From the 1950s to the 1980s, Venezuela was one of the economic powers in Latin America. The average income of this country has increased rapidly, attracting many workers from all over the world. However, when world oil prices fell sharply in the 1980s, the Venezuelan economy was severely affected.
In the years that followed, oil prices in the world market rose again and facilitated recovery for Venezuela’s economy. In 2007, the country’s economic growth rate was 8.4%. Per capita income is 12,200 USD.
Under Hugo Chavez’s inflation rate increased by 30.9% in 2008 and increased by 25.1% in 2009 the highest in the Americas. Venezuela’s inflation rate is much higher than that of many countries and it is often very high inflation, Argentina. While the same economic crisis as Venezuela but the inflation rate of Argentina is only 7-15% in 2009. Venezuela’s economy in 2009 according to official notice has decreased 2.9%.
Hugo Chavez has nationalized the assets of Cargill Inc., Gruma SAB and French retailer Casino Guichard Perrachon to control food production and distribution chains. In August, food prices rose 0.9% compared to July while the monthly increase was 12.5% in April.
Also in this month, the inflation rate of food items has decreased but still up to 39.5%. In the period from April to June of this year, this Latin American economy has slowed down for the fifth consecutive quarter, and is experiencing a difficult time with inflation as consumer prices continue to rise. even when demand drops.
Although it is a country with many natural resources, the distribution of assets in Venezuela is uneven, making life for a large part of poor people difficult. Under the leadership of President Hugo Chavez, the proportion of poor people in the following years in Venezuela has decreased significantly, from 49% in 1998 to 12.3% in 2007.
Chavez’s subsidy programs like maintaining gasoline prices below $ 0.1 / gallon (equivalent to more than 500 VND / liter), leaving Venezuela’s resources squandered while private businesses do not dare to Increasing investment levels due to concerns about the frequent nationalization and congressional occurrences of Chavez made the economy even more difficult amid stagnant growth rates and high inflation rates.
Hugo Chavez also cannot eradicate corruption. By allowing the military to manage the cumbersome budget apparatus, Mr Chavez facilitated widespread corruption within the military. Judicial reform is not yet in place. New institutions do not bring anything apart from laying out a series of incompetent dignitaries he appoints. The economic approach made Venezuela more dependent on oil and led to a series of austerity policies. Significantly reduced value for money is also a consequence of this.
Massive consumer goods makers like Colgate-Palmolive or Avon have attempted to dominate Latin America with key products such as toothpaste, lipstick. But their long-term efforts risk going to the sea when Venezuela devalues the domestic currency from 2.15 bolivar to 1 USD to 4.3 bolivar to eat 1 USD.
Along with the decision to devalue the domestic currency, the Venezuelan government must mobilize the whole army to control the increase in selling prices at stores. Despite the government’s efforts, within five years the country’s inflation rate reached a total of 160%.
Venezuela hopes that the first devaluation since 2005 will help increase government revenues, limit imports and increase export revenues. However, many experts believe that this is not a good solution in the long term. Venezuela’s economy, which was once booming, needs policies to stimulate private investment.
Fitch credit rating firm also expressed concern: “The business in Venezuela now faces many stresses related to policy changes, unstable macroeconomic environment, management structure. energy prices and deadlock, all these factors are deterring investors. “
Venezuela’s most important industry, the crude oil industry, is in serious trouble because President Hugo Chávez nationalized foreign oil companies, trying to exploit too much from the oil industry to sponsoring his subsidy programs while not reinvesting properly, thus sacrificing the development of this industry, resulting in lower catches due to the degradation of the industrial infrastructure. fast. The industry is currently in crisis, pushing the entire Venezuelan economy into crisis because it is too dependent on oil.
In terms of energy, Venezuelan rivers have provided a large amount of hydroelectricity for the country’s electricity consumption. Currently, 73% of Venezuela’s electricity generation capacity is dependent on hydropower systems, while the thermal power system is operating below the capacity without being able to increase, although it is favorable for thermoelectricity. The peso continued to fall to 6.3 pesos for a dollar on January 25, 2010. While the dual exchange rate given by the government at the beginning of the month is 2.6 and 4.3 pesos for one dollar.
People organized stronger protests. Along with the cause of electricity and water shortages, protesters also spoke of a loss of control over crime, making Venezuela the highest crime rate in the world. The proverbial protester in the stadium takes place in a baseball game to call for Chavez to resign. Protesters raised the sporty slogan: “Chavez, you were eliminated!”.
After Chávez’s death, Nicolás Maduro became Venezuelan president after defeating his opponent Henrique Capriles Radonski with only 235,000 votes, the odds ratio was 1.5%.
Maduro continued to maintain most of the economic policies of his predecessor Chávez. When taking office, Maduro was faced with high inflation rates and a shortage of consumer goods across the country, problems stemming from Chávez’s policies.
Maduro blamed the capitalist speculation for boosting high inflation rates and causing a shortage of popular basic necessities in Venezuela. He said that he was fighting in an “economic war”, taking the economic measures he had just issued as “an economic counter attack” against his political opponents, Maduro. even accused his opponents of being behind an “international economic conspiracy”.
However, Maduro was criticized for focusing only on public opinion, without caring about the practical issues that economists have warned or have any idea to improve the predicament of Venezuela economy.
In 2014, Venezuela officially went into economic recession and in 2016, the country had an inflation rate of 800%, the highest rate in history. The International Monetary Fund predicts that the inflation rate in Venezuela will be 1,000,000% by 2018.
Demographics in Venezuela
As of July 2008, the estimated Venezuelan population is 26,414,815 people. Venezuela is one of the fastest growing countries in South America, second only to Bolivia, Paraguay and French Guiana. In 2008, the country’s population growth rate was 1.5%.
Demographic reforms conducted in 1926 in Venezuela do not include information on race, so the proportion of ethnic groups in Venezuela can only be known through estimates. About 70% of the Venezuelan population is Mestizo, a half-breed among Spaniards and Indians.
About 20% are whites originating mainly from Spain, Italy, Portugal and Germany. In Venezuela, there are also a small number of African-American blacks and Asian countries such as Lebanon, China and Turkey. About 5% of Venezuela’s population is indigenous Indians and they tend to be more and more cross-bred when Venezuelan society becomes more and more diverse.
About 85% of Venezuela’s population lives in the northern cities. Venezuela is one of the countries with the highest proportion of people living in urban areas in South America. Consequently, the southern Orinoco plain, though occupied up to half of the country, was extremely desolate with only 5% of the population living there.
The official language in Venezuela is Spanish. Besides, there are 31 languages of indigenous Indians like Guajibo, Pemon, Warao, Wayuu, Yanomaman languages. 83% of people follow Christianity.
The cultural heritage of Venezuela bears the influence of Latin American style, embodied in all aspects of life such as painting, architecture, music, historical works … Venezuelan culture formed on the background of three main factors: the indigenous Indian culture, the Spanish and black Africans. Initially, these cultural elements mixed together and then differentiated into each geographical area.
Venezuelan art originally revolved around religious motifs primarily. However, by the end of the nineteenth century, this art began to reflect historical events and national heroes, pioneering as painter Martín Tovar y Tovar. By the twentieth century, modernism took over.
Venezuelan literature began to develop after the Spaniards came here to explore the colony. Spanish literature takes a unique place with the influences of literary styles from the country. Literature revolves around political themes developed during the early 19th century war of the Venezuelan people. Next, romanticism was crowned with some famous writers, typically Juan Vicente González.
Regarding architecture, Carlos Raúl Villanueva is considered the greatest architect of modern Venezuela. He designed the Central University of Venezuela, a project recognized by UNESCO as a World Cultural Heritage.
Cuatro, a type of guitar similar to the guitar is the traditional instrument of Venezuela. Many different styles of music are developed in the plain of llanos with famous songs like Alma Llanera, Florentino y el Diablo, Concierto en la Llanura and Caballo Viejo. Gaita music originates from the popular Zulia region and is often played at Christmas. And the traditional dance of the Venezuelan is the joropo dance.
In Venezuela, the most popular sport is baseball. Recently, football is also growing strongly and gradually attracted the audience of this country.
Miss World culture
Venezuela is one of the countries where people admire the most beautiful pageants in the world. With a professional training technology, Venezuela has become a beauty power that no other country can match.
This country has set a record of 6 times to win the Miss World (first rank with India), 7 times to win Miss Universe (set a crown record for two consecutive years 2008 and 2009), 8 times to win the Flower Post International, 2 times won Miss Earth and won the International Tourism Queen once. Irene Saez, Venezuela’s Miss Universe 1981, even ran for president in 1998 but failed.
Every year, Miss Venezuela is held in September to seek representatives for Venezuela in international beauty competitions. This is a very attractive event in Venezuela with a 4-hour live broadcast.
The Miss Venezuela when attending international exams often won high prizes, which most recently was Ivian Sarcos, winner of the Miss World 2011 competition in England, Gabriela Isler, winner of Miss Universe 2013 In Russia, Mariem Velazco won Miss International 2018 in Japan, Alyz Henrich won the Miss Earth 2013 in the Philippines and Liriomel Ramos won the 2001 International Tourism Queen in Greece.
The other Miss Venezuela, although not winning in these competitions, but also went straight to finish in runner-up position or reached the Top Semi-Finals and Finals.
Religion in Venezuela
Venezuela, like most South American countries, is a Roman Catholic country. The influence of the Catholic Church in this country comes from the Spanish colonial era. According to government estimates, 92% of the population is nominally Roman Catholics, and the remaining 8% are Protestants, other religions, or atheists. The estimates of the Protestant Council of Venezuela suggest that the Protestant Church accounts for 10% of the population.
There are small but influential Muslim and Jewish communities. Muslim communities of more than 100,000 people are concentrated in Lebanese and Syrian people currently living in areas such as Nueva Esparta, Punto Fijo and Caracas region. The numbers of the Jewish community are about 13,000 followers and are mainly concentrated in Caracas.
Currently there are about 153,000 Mormon followers mostly in Caracas.