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Venezuela country facts

Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela South America Caracas 28,868,486 inhabitants 912,050 sq km 31.65 inhabitants/sq km bolivars (VEB) population evolution



Venezuela was one of three countries that emerged from the collapse of Gran Colombia in 1830 (the others being Ecuador and New Granada, which became Colombia). For most of the first half of the 20th century, Venezuela was ruled by generally benevolent military strongmen, who promoted the oil industry and allowed for some social reforms. Democratically elected governments have held sway since 1959. Hugo CHAVEZ, president from 1999 to 2013, sought to implement his "21st Century Socialism," which purported to alleviate social ills while at the same time attacking capitalist globalization and existing democratic institutions. His hand-picked successor, President Nicolas MADURO, continues CHAVEZ's socialist programs. Current concerns include: a weakening of democratic institutions, political polarization, a politicized military, rampant violent crime, overdependence on the petroleum industry with its price fluctuations, foreign exchange controls that discourage private-sector investment, high inflation, a decline in the quality of fundamental houman rights, and widespread scarcity of consumer goods.



Northern South America, bordering the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, between Colombia and Guyana

Geographic coordinates

8 00 N, 66 00 W

Area (sq km)

total: 912,050 sq km
land: 882,050 sq km
water: 30,000 sq km

Area - comparative (sq km)

almost six times the size of Georgia; slightly more than twice the size of California
Area comparison map

Land boundaries (km)

total: 4,993 km
border countries: Brazil 2,200 km, Colombia 2,050 km, Guyana 743 km

Coastline (km)

2,800 km

Maritime claims

territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 15 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200 m depth or to the depth of exploitation


tropical; hot, humid; more moderate in highlands


Andes Mountains and Maracaibo Lowlands in northwest; central plains (llanos); Guiana Highlands in southeast

Elevation extremes (m)

lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m
highest point: Pico Bolivar 5,007 m

Natural resources

petroleum, natural gas, iron ore, gold, bauxite, other minerals, hydropower, diamonds

Land use (%)

arable land: 2.85%
permanent crops: 0.71%
other: 96.44% (2011)

Irrigated land (sq km)

10,550 sq km (2008)

Total renewable water resources (cu km)

1,233 cu km (2011)

Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural) ()

total: 9.06 cu km/yr (23%/4%/74%)
per capita: 358.6 cu m/yr (2008)

Natural hazards

subject to floods, rockslides, mudslides; periodic droughts

Environment - current issues

sewage pollution of Lago de Valencia; oil and urban pollution of Lago de Maracaibo; deforestation; soil degradation; urban and industrial pollution, especially along the Caribbean coast; threat to the rainforest ecosystem from irresponsible mining operations

Environment - international agreements

party to: Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands
signed but not ratified:: none of the selected agreements

Geography - note

on major sea and air routes linking North and South America; Angel Falls in the Guiana Highlands is the world's highest waterfall

People and Society


noun: Venezuelan(s)
adjective: Venezuelan

Ethnic groups (%)

Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Arab, German, African, indigenous people

Languages (%)

Spanish (official), numerous indigenous dialects

Religions (%)

nominally Roman Catholic 96%, Protestant 2%, other 2%

Demographic profile

Social investment in Venezuela during the CHAVEZ administration reduced poverty from nearly 50 % in 1999 to about 27 % in 2011, increased school enrollment, substantially decreased infant and child mortality, and improved access to potable water and sanitation through social investment. "Missions" dedicated to education, nutrition, healthcare, and sanitation were funded through petroleum revenues. The sustainability of this progress remains questionable, however, as the continuation of these social programs depends on the prosperity of Venezuela's oil industry. In the long-term, education and health care spending may increase economic growth and reduce income inequality, but rising costs and the staffing of new health care jobs with foreigners are slowing development.
Since CHAVEZ came to power in 1999, more than one million predominantly middle- and upper-class Venezuelans are estimated to have emigrated. The brain drain is attributed to a repressive political system, lack of economic opportunities, steep inflation, a high crime rate, and corruption. Thousands of oil engineers emigrated to Canada, Colombia, and the United States following Chavez's firing of over 20,000 employees of the state-owned petroleum company during a 2002-2003 oil strike. Additionally, thousands of Venezuelans of European descent have taken up residence in their ancestral homelands. Nevertheless, Venezuela continues to attract immigrants from South America and southern Europe because of its lenient migration policy and the availability of education and health care. Venezuela also has been a fairly accommodating host to more than 200,000 Colombian refugees.


28,868,486 (July 2014 est.)   evolution and prospects (1950-2100)

Age structure (%)

0-14 years: 28.2% (male 4,143,840/female 3,985,489)
15-24 years: 18.8% (male 2,723,856/female 2,697,672)
25-54 years: 39.6% (male 5,614,922/female 5,818,903)
55-64 years: 7.5% (male 1,030,898/female 1,137,894)
65 years and over: 5.8% (male 755,183/female 959,829) (2014 est.)

Age structure in Venezuela

Median age (years)

total: 26.9 years
male: 26.1 years
female: 27.6 years (2014 est.)

Population growth rate (%)

1.42% (2014 est.)

Birth rate (births/1,000 population)

19.42 births/1,000 population (2014 est.)

Death rate (deaths/1,000 population)

5.27 deaths/1,000 population (2014 est.)

Net migration rate (migrant(s)/1,000 population)

0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2014 est.)

Urbanization (%)

urban population: 93.5% of total population (2011)
rate of urbanization: 1.7% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Major urban areas - population

CARACAS (capital) 3.242 million; Maracaibo 2.31 million; Valencia 1.866 million; Barquisimeto 1.245 million; Maracay 1.115 million; Ciudad Guayana 799,000 (2011)

Sex ratio (male(s)/female)

at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 0.97 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.98 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.79 male(s)/female
total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2014 est.)

Maternal mortality rate (deaths/100,000 live births)

92 deaths/100,000 live births (2010)

Infant mortality rate (deaths/1,000 live births)

total: 19.33 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 22.73 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 15.75 deaths/1,000 live births (2014 est.)

Life expectancy at birth (years)

total population: 74.39 years
male: 71.26 years
female: 77.67 years (2014 est.)

Total fertility rate (children born/woman)

2.35 children born/woman (2014 est.)

Health expenditures (% of GDP)

5.2% of GDP (2011)

Physicians density (physicians/1,000 population)

1.94 physicians/1,000 population (2001)

Hospital bed density (beds/1,000 population)

0.9 beds/1,000 population (2011)

Drinking water source (% of population)

improved: urban: 94.3% of population
rural: 75.3% of population
total: 92.9% of population
unimproved: urban: 5.7% of population
rural: 24.7% of population
total: 7.1% of population (2007 est.)

Sanitation facility access (% of population)

improved: urban: 93.6% of population
rural: 56.9% of population
total: 90.9% of population
unimproved: urban: 6.4% of population
rural: 43.1% of population
total: 9.1% of population (2007 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate (%)

0.6% (2012 est.)

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS

107,900 (2012 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths

3,800 (2012 est.)

Major infectious diseases

degree of risk: high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea and hepatitis A
vectorborne diseases: dengue fever and malaria (2013)

Obesity - adult prevalence rate (%)

30.3% (2008)

Children under the age of 5 years underweight (%)

2.9% (2009)

Education expenditures (% of GDP)

6.9% of GDP (2009)

Literacy (%)

definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 95.5%
male: 95.7%
female: 95.4% (2009 est.)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education) (years)

total: 14 years
13 years
15 years (2008)

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24 (%)

total: 17.1%
male: 14.3%
female: 22.6% (2012)


Country name

conventional long form: Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela
conventional short form: Venezuela
local long form: Republica Bolivariana de Venezuela
local short form: Venezuela

Government type

federal republic


name: Caracas
geographic coordinates: 10 29 N, 66 52 W
time difference: UTC-4.5 (a half hour ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

Administrative divisions

23 states (estados, singular - estado), 1 capital district* (distrito capital), and 1 federal dependency** (dependencia federal); Amazonas, Anzoategui, Apure, Aragua, Barinas, Bolivar, Carabobo, Cojedes, Delta Amacuro, Dependencias Federales (Federal Dependencies)**, Distrito Capital (Capital District)*, Falcon, Guarico, Lara, Merida, Miranda, Monagas, Nueva Esparta, Portuguesa, Sucre, Tachira, Trujillo, Vargas, Yaracuy, Zulia
note: the federal dependency consists of 11 federally controlled island groups with a total of 72 individual islands


5 July 1811 (from Spain)

National holiday

Independence Day, 5 July (1811)


many previous; latest adopted 15 December 1999, effective 30 December 1999; amended 2009 (2013)

Legal system

civil law system based on the Spanish civil code

International law organization participation

has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; state party to the ICCT


18 years of age; universal

Executive branch

chief of state: President Nicolas MADURO Moros (since 19 April 2013); Executive Vice President Jorge Alberto ARREAZA Montserrat (since 19 April 2013); note - the president is both chief of state and head of government; former Executive Vice President Nicolas MADURO Moros assumed presidential responsibilities after the death of President Hugo CHAVEZ Frias on 5 March 2013 and became Acting President while preparations for elections took place. He won a national election on 14 April 2013 and started a six-year term
head of government: President Nicolas MADURO Moros (since 19 April 2013); Executive Vice President Jorge Alberto ARREAZA Montserrat (since 19 April 2013)
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president
elections: president elected by popular vote for a six-year term (eligible for unlimited reelection); election last held on 14 April 2013; note - this was a special election held following the death of President Hugo CHAVEZ Frias on 5 March 2013; the next scheduled election after this is expected to be held in late 2018 or early 2019 pending official convocation by the country's electoral body)
note: in 1999, a National Constituent Assembly drafted a new constitution that increased the presidential term to six years; an election was subsequently held on 30 July 2000 under the terms of this constitution; in 2009, a national referendum approved the elimination of term limits on all elected officials, including the presidency
election results: Nicolas MADURO Moros elected president; percent of vote - Nicolas MADURO Moros 50.61%, Henrique CAPRILES Radonski 49.12%, other 0.24%

Legislative branch

unicameral National Assembly or Asamblea Nacional (165 seats; members elected by popular vote on a proportional basis to serve five-year terms; three seats reserved for the indigenous peoples of Venezuela)
elections: last held on 26 September 2010 (next to be held in 2015)
election results: percent of vote by party - pro-government 48.9%, opposition coalition 47.9%, other 3.2%; seats by party - pro-government 98, opposition 65, other 2

Judicial branch

highest court(s): Supreme Tribunal of Justice (consists of 32 judges organized into six divisions - constitutional, political administrative, electoral, civil appeals, criminal appeals, and social (mainly agrarian and labor issues)
judge selection and term of office: judges proposed by the Committee of Judicial Postulation (an independent body of organizations dealing with legal issues and of the organs of citizen power) and appointed by the National Assembly; judges serve non-renewable 12-year terms
subordinate courts: Superior or Appeals Courts (Tribunales Superiores); District Tribunals (Tribunales de Distrito); Courts of First Instance (Tribunales de Primera Instancia); Parish Courts (Tribunales de Parroquia); Justices of the Peace (Justicia de Paz) Network

Political parties and leaders

A New Time or UNT [Omar BARBOZA]
Brave People's Alliance or ABP [Antonio LEDEZMA]
Christian Democrats or COPEI [Roberto ENRIQUEZ]
Coalition of opposition parties -- The Democratic Unity Table or MUD [Ramon Guillermo AVELEDO]
Communist Party of Venezuela or PCV [Oscar FIGUERA]
Democratic Action or AD [Henry RAMOS ALLUP]
Fatherland for All or PPT [Rafael UZCATEGUI]
For Social Democracy or PODEMOS [Ismael GARCIA]
Justice First or PJ [Julio BORGES]
Movement Toward Socialism or MAS [Nicolas SOSA]
Popular Will or VP [Leopoldo LOPEZ]
Progressive Wave or AP [Henri FALCON]
The Radical Cause [Daniel SANTOLO]
United Socialist Party of Venezuela or PSUV [Nicolas MADURO]
Venezuelan Progressive Movement or MPV [Simon CALZADILLA]
Venezuela Project or PV [Henrique SALAS ROMER]

Political pressure groups and leaders

Bolivarian and Socialist Workers' Union (a ruling party labor union)
Confederacion Venezolana de Industriales or Coindustria (a conservative business group)
Consejos Comunales (pro-Chavez local cooperatives)
FEDECAMARAS (a conservative business group)
Union of Oil Workers of Venezuela or FUTPV
Venezuelan Confederation of Workers or CTV (opposition-oriented labor organization)
various civil society groups and human rights organizations

International organization participation


Diplomatic representation in the US

chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant)
chancery: 1099 30th Street NW, Washington, DC 20007
telephone: [1] (202) 342-2214
FAX: [1] (202) 342-6820
consulate(s) general: Boston, Chicago, Houston, New Orleans, New York, San Francisco, San Juan (Puerto Rico)

Diplomatic representation from the US

chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d'Affaires Philip G. LAIDLAW
embassy: Calle F con Calle Suapure, Urbanizacion Colinas de Valle Arriba, Caracas 1080
mailing address: P. O. Box 62291, Caracas 1060-A; APO AA 34037
telephone: [58] (212) 975-6411, 907-8400 (after hours)
FAX: [58] (212) 907-8199

Flag description

three equal horizontal bands of yellow (top), blue, and red with the coat of arms on the hoist side of the yellow band and an arc of eight white five-pointed stars centered in the blue band; the flag retains the three equal horizontal bands and three main colors of the banner of Gran Colombia, the South American republic that broke up in 1830; yellow is interpreted as standing for the riches of the land, blue for the courage of its people, and red for the blood shed in attaining independence; the seven stars on the original flag represented the seven provinces in Venezuela that united in the war of independence; in 2006, then President Hugo CHAVEZ ordered an eighth star added to the star arc - a decision that sparked much controversy - to conform with the flag proclaimed by Simon Bolivar in 1827 and to represent the province of Guayana

National symbol(s)

troupial (bird)

National anthem

name: "Gloria al bravo pueblo" (Glory to the Brave People)
lyrics/music: Vicente SALIAS/Juan Jose LANDAETA
note: adopted 1881; the lyrics were written in 1810, the music some years later; both SALIAS and LANDAETA were executed in 1814 during Venezuela's struggle for independence


Economy - overview

Venezuela remains highly dependent on oil revenues, which account for roughly 96% of export earnings, about 45% of budget revenues, and around 12% of GDP. Fueled by high oil prices, pre-election government spending helped spur GDP growth in 2012 to 5.6%. Government spending, minimum wage hikes, and improved access to domestic credit created an increase in consumption which combined with supply problems to cause higher inflation - roughly 20% in 2012 and rising to more than 56% in 2013. Former President Hugo CHAVEZ's efforts to increase the government's control of the economy by nationalizing firms in the agribusiness, financial, construction, oil, and steel sectors hurt the private investment environment, reduced productive capacity, and slowed non-petroleum exports. In 2013, Venezuela continued to wrestle with housing and electricity crises, and rolling food and goods shortages, resulting from the government's unorthodox economic policies. The budget deficit for the public sector reached 17% of GDP in 2012 and was trimmed to under 10% of GDP in 2013. The Venezuelan government has maintained a regime of strict currency exchange controls since 2003. Venezuelan law now sanctions a three-tiered exchange rate system, with rates based on the government's import priorities.

GDP (purchasing power parity)

$407.4 billion (2013 est.)
$403.3 billion (2012 est.)
$381.9 billion (2011 est.)
note: data are in 2013 US dollars

GDP (official exchange rate)

$367.5 billion (2013 est.)

GDP - real growth rate (%)

1.6% (2013 est.)
5.6% (2012 est.)
4.2% (2011 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP)

$13,600 (2013 est.)
$13,700 (2012 est.)
$13,100 (2011 est.)
note: data are in 2013 US dollars

GDP - composition, by sector of origin (%)

agriculture: 3.7%
industry: 35.5%
services: 60.8% (2013 est.)

Labor force

14.01 million (2013 est.)

Labor force - by occupation (%)

agriculture: 7.3%
industry: 21.8%
services: 70.9% (4th quarter, 2011)

Unemployment rate (%)

7.9% (2013 est.)
7.8% (2012 est.)

Population below poverty line (%)

31.6% (2011 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share (%)

lowest 10%: 1.7%
highest 10%: 32.7% (2006)

Distribution of family income - Gini index

39 (2011)
49.5 (1998)


revenues: $103.4 billion
expenditures: $139.4 billion (2013 est.)

Taxes and other revenues (% of GDP)

28.1% of GDP (2013 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-) (% of GDP)

-9.8% of GDP (2013 est.)

Public debt (% of GDP)

34.2% of GDP (2013 est.)
26.8% of GDP (2012 est.)
note: data cover central government debt, as well as the debt of state-owned oil company PDVSA; the data include treasury debt held by foreign entities; the data include some debt issued by subnational entities, as well as intra-governmental debt; intra-governmental debt consists of treasury borrowings from surpluses in the social funds, such as for retirement, medical care, and unemployment; some debt instruments for the social funds are sold at public auctions

Inflation rate (consumer prices) (%)

56.2% (2013 est.)
21.1% (2012 est.)

Central bank discount rate (%)

29.5% (31 December 2010)
29.5% (31 December 2009)

Commercial bank prime lending rate (%)

18% (31 December 2013 est.)
16.38% (31 December 2012 est.)

Stock of narrow money

$181.4 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
$162.7 billion (31 December 2012 est.)

Stock of broad money

$185.6 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
$166.7 billion (31 December 2012 est.)

Stock of domestic credit

$176.7 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
$160.1 billion (31 December 2012 est.)

Market value of publicly traded shares

$25.3 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
$5.143 billion (31 December 2011)
$3.991 billion (31 December 2011 est.)

Agriculture - products

corn, sorghum, sugarcane, rice, bananas, vegetables, coffee; beef, pork, milk, eggs; fish


agricultural products, livestock, raw materials, machinery and equipment, transport equipment, construction materials, medical equipment, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, iron and steel products, crude oil and petroleum products

Industrial production growth rate (%)

1% (2013 est.)

Current account balance

$3.195 billion (2013 est.)
$11.02 billion (2012 est.)


$91.78 billion (2013 est.)
$97.34 billion (2012 est.)

Exports - commodities (%)

petroleum and petroleum products, bauxite and aluminum, minerals, chemicals, agricultural products

Exports - partners (%)

US 39.1%, China 14.3%, India 12%, Netherlands Antilles 7.8%, Cuba 4.6% (2012)


$59.32 billion (2013 est.)
$59.31 billion (2012 est.)

Imports - commodities (%)

agricultural products, livestock, raw materials, machinery and equipment, transport equipment, construction materials, medical equipment, petroleum products, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, iron and steel products

Imports - partners (%)

US 31.7%, China 16.8%, Brazil 9.1%, Colombia 4.8% (2012)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$21.15 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
$29.89 billion (31 December 2012 est.)

External debt ($)

$74.87 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
$75.75 billion (31 December 2012 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - at home

$49.9 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
$47.4 billion (31 December 2012 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad

$21.94 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
$21.25 billion (31 December 2012 est.)

Exchange rates

Currency converter
bolivars (VEB) per US dollar -
6.048 (2013 est.)
4.289 (2012 est.)
2.5821 (2010 est.)
2.147 (2009)
2.147 (2008)

Fiscal year

calendar year


Electricity - production (kWh)

127.6 billion kWh (2012 est.)

Electricity - consumption (kWh)

85.05 billion kWh (2011 est.)

Electricity - exports (kWh)

626 million kWh (2010 est.)

Electricity - imports (kWh)

0 kWh (2010 est.)

Electricity - installed generating capacity (kW)

27.5 million kW (2012 est.)

Electricity - from fossil fuels (% of total installed capacity)

35.7% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from nuclear fuels (% of total installed capacity)

0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from hydroelectric plants (% of total installed capacity)

64.3% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from other renewable sources (% of total installed capacity)

0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Crude oil - production (bbl/day)

2.489 million bbl/day (2012 est.)

Crude oil - exports (bbl/day)

1.645 million bbl/day (2010 est.)

Crude oil - imports (bbl/day)

0 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Crude oil - proved reserves (bbl)

297.6 billion bbl (1 January 2013 est.)

Refined petroleum products - production (bbl/day)

1.11 million bbl/day (2010 est.)

Refined petroleum products - consumption (bbl/day)

571,000 bbl/day (2011 est.)

Refined petroleum products - exports (bbl/day)

638,000 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Refined petroleum products - imports (bbl/day)

16,660 bbl/day (2011 est.)

Natural gas - production (cu m)

25.28 billion cu m (2012 est.)

Natural gas - consumption (cu m)

27.11 billion cu m (2010 est.)

Natural gas - exports (cu m)

0 cu m (2011 est.)

Natural gas - imports (cu m)

2.11 billion cu m (2011 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves (cu m)

5.524 trillion cu m (1 January 2013 est.)

Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy (Mt)

182.7 million Mt (2011 est.)


Telephones - main lines in use

7.65 million (2012)

Telephones - mobile cellular

30.52 million (2012)

Telephone system

general assessment: modern and expanding
domestic: 2 domestic satellite systems with 3 earth stations; recent substantial improvement in telephone service in rural areas; substantial increase in digitalization of exchanges and trunk lines; installation of a national interurban fiber-optic network capable of digital multimedia services; combined fixed and mobile-cellular telephone subscribership 130 per 100 persons
international: country code - 58; submarine cable systems provide connectivity to Cuba and the Caribbean, Central and South America, and US; satellite earth stations - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean) and 1 PanAmSat; participating with Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia in the construction of an international fiber-optic network (2013)

Broadcast media

government supervises a mixture of state-run and private broadcast media; 13 public service networks, 61 privately owned TV networks, a privately owned news channel with limited national coverage, and a government-backed pan-American channel; state-run radio network includes roughly 65 news stations and another 30 stations targeted at specific audiences; state-sponsored community broadcasters include 235 radio stations and 44 TV stations; the number of private broadcast radio stations has been declining, but many still remain in operation (2014)

Internet country code


Internet hosts

1.016 million (2012)

Internet users

8.918 million (2009)



444 (2013)

Airports - with paved runways

total: 127
over 3,047 m: 6
2,438 to 3,047 m: 9
1,524 to 2,437 m: 33
914 to 1,523 m: 62
under 914 m: 17 (2013)

Airports - with unpaved runways

total: 317
2,438 to 3,047 m: 3
1,524 to 2,437 m: 57
914 to 1,523 m: 127
under 914 m: 130 (2013)


3 (2013)

Pipelines (km)

extra heavy crude 981 km; gas 5,941 km; oil 7,588 km; refined products 1,778 km (2013)

Railways (km)

total: 806 km
standard gauge: 806 km 1.435-m gauge (41 km electrified) (2008)

Roadways (km)

total: 96,155 km
paved: 32,308 km
unpaved: 63,847 km (2002)

Waterways (km)

7,100 km (the Orinoco River (400 km) and Lake de Maracaibo are navigable by oceangoing vessels) (2011)

Merchant marine

total: 53
by type: bulk carrier 4, cargo 12, chemical tanker 1, liquefied gas 5, passenger 1, passenger/cargo 14, petroleum tanker 16
foreign-owned: 9 (Denmark 1, Estonia 1, Germany 1, Greece 4, Mexico 1, Spain 1)
registered in other countries: 14 (Panama 13, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 1) (2010)

Ports and terminals

major seaport(s): La Guaira, Maracaibo, Puerto Cabello, Punta Cardon
oil terminals: Jose terminal

Transportation - note

the International Maritime Bureau reports the territorial and offshore waters in the Caribbean Sea as a significant risk for piracy and armed robbery against ships; numerous vessels, including commercial shipping and pleasure craft, have been attacked and hijacked both at anchor and while underway; crews have been robbed and stores or cargoes stolen


Military branches

Bolivarian National Armed Forces (Fuerza Armada Nacional Bolivariana, FANB): Bolivarian Army (Ejercito Bolivariano, EB), Bolivarian Navy (Armada Bolivariana, AB; includes Naval Infantry, Coast Guard, Naval Aviation), Bolivarian Military Aviation (Aviacion Militar Bolivariana, AMB; includes Air National Guard), Bolivarian National Guard (Guardia Nacional Bolivaria, GNB) (2013)

Military service age and obligation (years of age)

18-30 years of age for compulsory and voluntary military service; 30-month conscript service obligation; Navy requires 6th-grade education for enlisted personnel; all citizens of military service age (18-60 years old) are obligated to register for military service (2012)

Manpower available for military service

males age 16-49: 7,013,854
females age 16-49: 7,165,661 (2010 est.)

Manpower fit for military service

males age 16-49: 5,614,743
females age 16-49: 6,074,834 (2010 est.)

Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually

male: 277,210
female: 273,353 (2010 est.)

Military expenditures (% of GDP)

1.05% of GDP (2012)
0.75% of GDP (2011)
1.05% of GDP (2010)

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international

claims all of the area west of the Essequibo River in Guyana, preventing any discussion of a maritime boundary; Guyana has expressed its intention to join Barbados in asserting claims before the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea that Trinidad and Tobago's maritime boundary with Venezuela extends into their waters; dispute with Colombia over maritime boundary and Venezuelan administered Los Monjes islands near the Gulf of Venezuela; Colombian organized illegal narcotics and paramilitary activities penetrate Venezuela's shared border region; US, France, and the Netherlands recognize Venezuela's granting full effect to Aves Island, thereby claiming a Venezuelan Economic Exclusion Zone/continental shelf extending over a large portion of the eastern Caribbean Sea; Dominica, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines protest Venezuela's full effect claim

Refugees and internally displaced persons

refugees (country of origin): 204,259 (Colombia) (2013)

Trafficking in persons

current situation: Venezuela is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children subjected to sex trafficking and forced labor; Venezuelan women and girls are trafficked within the country for sexual exploitation, lured from the nation's interior to urban and tourist areas; women from Colombia, Peru, Haiti, China, and South Africa are also reported to have been sexually exploited in Venezuela; some Venezuelan women are transported to Caribbean islands, particularly Aruba, Curacao, and Trinidad & Tobago, where they are subjected to forced prostitution; some Venezuelan children are forced to beg on the streets or work as domestic servants, while Ecuadorian children, who are often from indigenous communities, are subjected to forced labor
tier rating: Tier 2 Watch List - Venezuela does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so; the government has increased the investigation of forced labor crimes but has not publicly document progress on prosecutions and convictions of trafficking offenders or on victim identification or assistance; the government also does not report on the existence of formal procedures for identifying trafficking victims and referring them to victim services; authorities provide limited funding to some NGOs providing victim services; public service announcements and an awareness campaign on human trafficking have continued (2013)

Illicit drugs

small-scale illicit producer of opium and coca for the processing of opiates and coca derivatives; however, large quantities of cocaine, heroin, and marijuana transit the country from Colombia bound for US and Europe; significant narcotics-related money-laundering activity, especially along the border with Colombia and on Margarita Island; active eradication program primarily targeting opium; increasing signs of drug-related activities by Colombian insurgents on border

Largest cities of Venezuela

These are the 50 largest cities of Venezuela ordered based on their number of inhabitants.

# City Population
1 Maracaibo 1,948,269
2 Caracas 1,815,681
3 Valencia 1,385,202
4 Barquisimeto 809,564
5 Ciudad Guayana 746,606
6 Barcelona 424,819
7 Maturín 410,967
8 Maracay 395,412
9 Petare 365,959
10 Turmero 344,746
11 Ciudad Bolívar 291,170
12 Barinas 284,305
13 Santa Teresa 279,424
14 Cumaná 257,821
15 San Cristóbal 246,620
16 Baruta 244,216
17 Cabimas 200,859
18 Coro 195,246
19 Guatire 192,291
20 Cúa 182,925
21 Guarenas 181,657
22 Los Teques 173,749
23 Ocumare del Tuy 166,112
24 Puerto Cabello 163,886
25 Guacara 151,788
26 El Tigre 151,011
27 El Limón 148,270
28 Acarigua 143,739
29 Punto Fijo 131,797
30 Cabudare 131,013
31 Charallave 129,213
32 Palo Negro 128,895
33 Cagua 119,052
34 Anaco 117,605
35 Calabozo 117,148
36 Guanare 112,315
37 Carúpano 112,102
38 Ejido 107,056
39 Catia La Mar 106,850
40 Mariara 105,511
41 Carora 93,803
42 Valera 93,764
43 Yaritagua 89,677
44 San Juan de los Morros 87,752
45 Porlamar 87,131
46 La Victoria 87,060
47 Tinaquillo 82,157
48 El Cafetal 80,029
49 San Carlos 77,204
50 San Felipe 76,779