Venezuela

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GENERAL INFORMATION

 

Population - Local time - Languages - Religion - Political context - Climate - Tourism - Food


Population


Total population (millions): 26.1
Source : World Bank - World Development Indicators

Urban population: 88%
Source : World Bank - World Development Indicators

Average annual population growth: 1.7%
Source : World Bank - World Development Indicators

Surface area (km≤) : 912,050


Population origin

Origin of the population% Of the population
Half-caste67
Native European21
African10
Amerindian2



Main Cities Population
Caracas 1 836 000
Maracaibo 1 609 000
Valencia 1 196 000
Barquisimeto 811 000
Ciudad Guayana 629 000
Maracay 394 000



Local time

It is  %T:%M %A  in Caracas (GMT-4 ).



Languages
Official language: Spanish
Business language: English is fluently spoken

Free translation tools

Babel Fish
Free English-Spanish-English translation of texts and web pages

Systran
Free French-Spanish-French translation of texts and web pages

Dictionarios.com
Free Spanish-Catalan-English-French Dictionary





Religion
Religious practises : Catholics 96%
Protestants 2%
Others 2%.


Political context

Venezuela is a federal republic state based on parliamentary democracy having a presidential form of government. It comprises of 72 federal dependencies, 23 states, 2 federal territories and 1 federal district. These are mere administrative divisions linked through a high degree of centralisation with the federal government. Venezuela (official name: Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela) has some of the world's largest proven oil and other mineral deposits; but still most Venezuelans live in poverty.
President is both the chief of state and head of government. President is elected by popular vote for a six-year term. President enjoys the executive powers. The president appoints the Vice-President. He decides the size and composition of the cabinet and makes appointments to it with the involvement of the parliament.
The legislature is unicameral in Venezuela. The parliament called National Assembly consist of 167 seats with its members elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms; three seats reserved for the indigenous peoples of Venezuela. Legislative power is vested only in the National Assembly. President has the power to veto acts of the National Assembly which in turn a simple majority of the Assembly can override. However, President has the power to dissolve the National Assembly under certain conditions. The people of Venezuela have limited political rights.
Judiciary is not independent in Venezuela. It is highly politicized and undermined by the chronic corruption. The main source of the law is the constitution of 1999. The judicial language used in the country is Spanish. Federal law is applicable uniformly across country. However, municipalities are the fundamental units of local governments in Venezuela and can have some local powers like raising if taxes, etc.
Venezuela is weakly ruled by law. There are no independent government institutions at the national level. The military high command is loyal to a single person, the President, rather than to the constitution and the law. Foreign nationals cannot be guaranteed a free trial from the country∆s judicial system. A high degree of corruption exists in Venezuela; especially country∆s bureaucracy and public sector is plagued with corruption.


Major political parties

Venezuela has a multi-party system, where no single party often has a chance of gaining power alone. So parties generally work with each other to form coalition governments. The major parties in the country are:
- COPEI Ż a Christian democratic party; has dominated country∆s politics for last fifty years;
- AD (Democratic Action) Ż a social democratic party, draws major support base from trade unions;
- MVR (Fifth Republic Movement) Ż advocates left-wing socialism and populism;
- MAS (Movement for Socialism) Ż a social-democratic political party;
- PPT (Homeland for All) Ż a left-wing political party, advocates personal liberty and social justice.


Major political leaders

President: Hugo CHAVEZ Frias (since February 1999, re-elected in December 2006) - MVR, supported by MAS and PPT


Next political election dates

Presidential: December 2012
National Assembly: Year 2010




Climate

 

 

 


Tourism


Number of visitors in Venezuela 2004 2005 2006 World rank
Number of visitors (1000) 492 706 770
Source : World Tourisme Organization, data available in November 2005

 

Tourist sites
The city of Caracas must be visited, even though a big part of the old centre has been destroyed by the earthquake in 1812 ; however, the Cathedral, the "Panteon Nacional" and the Parliament have been preserved.

For more information about tourism in Venezuela , check out the following web site(s) :
Venezuelan Tourism Board



Food


Traditional dishes
The venezuelan food is famous for being very aromatic. Most dishes are indeed sprinkled with saffron and cumin on top.
Local culinary specialties:
Tequenos: fried cheeses fritters
Arepas: traditional bread
Tostadas: Hot cheese, spicy meat, chicken, salad and local cooked pork meats sandwiches.
Guasacaca: flavoured roasted meat
Pabellůn criollo: minced meat served with fried plantain, rice and black beans.
Hallaca: Christmas and New Year's Day dish: pork, beef, ham and green peppers sprinkled with corn flour on top, which is then used as a stuffing in banana skins. This preparation is then cooked in a stock.
Parrilla criolla: barbecued marinaded beef.
Puree of apio: venezuelan puree.
The coffee is excellent in Venezuela.
Merengada: soft drink made of pulps of fruits with ice cubes, milk and sugar blended together. The batido is a similar drink but water replaces the milk.
Pousse-cafť: liqueur of the country.


Food-related taboos
No specific culinary taboos in Venezuela.

Last modified on December 2006

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