Venezuela

Article

May 23, 2022

Venezuela, officially the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela,[6][n 3]​ is a sovereign country located in the northern part of South America, consisting of a continental area and a large number of islands and islets in the Caribbean Sea, whose capital and largest urban agglomeration is the city of Caracas.[n 4] It has a territorial extension of 916,445 km². The continental territory limits to the north with the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean, to the west with Colombia, to the south with Brazil and to the east with Guyana. With this last country, the Venezuelan State maintains a claim over 159,542 km² of territory west of the Essequibo River, this area is known as Guayana Esequiba or Reclamation Zone.[7] Due to its maritime spaces, it exercises sovereignty over 71,295 km² of territorial sea,[8] 22,224 km² in its contiguous zone,[8] 471,507 km² of the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean under the concept of exclusive economic zone,[9][10][11] and 99,889 km² of continental shelf.[11] This marine area borders those of thirteen states.[12] The country has a very high biodiversity and ranks seventh in the world list of nations with the largest number of species. There are habitats that range from the Andes mountains in the west to the tropical forest of the Orinoco basin in the south, through the extensive plains of the Llanos, the Caribbean coast and the Orinoco river delta in the east. The territory now known as Venezuela was colonized by Spain in 1522, amid resistance from Amerindian peoples. In 1811, it became one of the first Spanish-American territories to declare independence, which was not securely established until 1821, when Venezuela was a department of the Federal Republic of Gran Colombia. It seceded as an independent country in 1830. During the 19th century, Venezuela suffered from political turmoil and autocracy and remained dominated by regional warlords until the mid-20th century. Since 1958, the country has had a series of democratic governments. The economic crisis in the 1980s and 90s led to several political crises, including the deadly Caracazo riots in 1989, two attempted coups in 1992, and the impeachment of President Carlos Andrés Pérez for embezzlement of public funds in 1993. A collapse in confidence in existing political parties led to the 1998 election of former career officer Hugo Chavez, implicated in the coup, and the start of what he called the Bolivarian Revolution. Chávez began his rule by convening a Constituent Assembly in 1999, where a new Constitution was drafted that would change the country's official name to the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.[13] By 2010, Venezuela had the largest oil reserves in the world and was one of the world's leading oil exporters.[14] Before the exploitation of oil, the country was an exporter of agricultural products, such as coffee and cocoa, but the Oil quickly came to dominate the country's exports and income. The global oversupply of oil in the 1980s led to a foreign debt crisis and a prolonged economic crisis. Inflation skyrocketed in 1996 and poverty rates rose to 66% in 1995. By 1998 GDP per capita fell to the same level as in 1963, a third of its peak reached in 1978. Hugo Chávez's government was characterized by Due to its anti-imperialist ideology and a change in the geopolitics of the oil market looking for new markets[15] and supporting countries lacking oil resources, public spending was increased with the theory of distributing wealth and the external debt grew to more than 118 billion dollars in an uncontrolled manner[16][17]​ that despite having an oil boom the consequences would be noticed years later[18]​ income