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Venezuela

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Venezuela



DADOS PRINCIPAIS:
Nome oficial: República da Venezuela (Republica de Venezuela).
Nacionalidade: Venezuelana.
Data nacional: 5 de julho (Independência).
Capital: Caracas.
Cidades principais: Caracas (1.964.846), Valencia (1.034.033), Barquisimeto (692.599), Ciudad Guayana (523.578) (1992).
Idioma: espanhol (oficial).
Religião: cristianismo 92,7% (católicos), outras 7,3% (1996).

GEOGRAFIA:
Localização: norte da América do Sul.
Hora local: -1h.
Área: 912.050 km2.
Clima: tropical.
Área de floresta: 440 mil km2 (1995).

POPULAÇÃO:
Total: 24,2 milhões (2000), sendo eurameríndios 67%, europeus ibéricos 21%, afro-americanos 10%, ameríndios 2% (1996). Densidade: 26,53 hab./km2.
População urbana: 86% (1998).
População rural: 24% (1998).
Crescimento demográfico: 2% ao ano (1995-2000).
Fecundidade: 2,98 filhos por mulher (1995-2000).
Expectativa de vida M/F: 70/76 anos (1995-2000).
Mortalidade infantil: 21por mil nascimentos (1995-2000).
Analfabetismo: 7% (2000).
IDH (0-1): 0,770 (1998).

POLÍTICA:
Forma de governo: República presidencialista.
Divisão administrativa: 22 estados, 1 distrito federal (Caracas) e 72 dependências federais.
Principais partidos: coligação Pólo Patriótico (Movimento V República - MVR, Movimento ao Socialismo - MAS, entre outros), Ação Democrática (AD), Social-Cristão (Copei).
Legislativo: unicameral - Assembléia Nacional, com 165 membros eleitos por voto direto para mandato de 5 anos.
Constituição em vigor: 1999.

ECONOMIA:
Moeda: bolívar.
PIB: US$ 95 bilhões (1998).
PIB agropecuária: 5% (1998).
PIB indústria: 34% (1998).
PIB serviços: 61% (1998).
Crescimento do PIB: 2,2% ao ano (1990-1998).
Renda per capita: US$ 3.530 (1998).
Força de trabalho: 9 milhões (1998).
Agricultura: Principalmente cana-de-açúcar, banana, milho, arroz, laranja, sorgo e mandioca.
Pecuária: bovinos, suínos, caprinos, aves.
Pesca: 502,7 mil t (1997).
Mineração: petróleo, gás natural, carvão, diamante, bauxita, minério de ferro.
Indústria: refino de petróleo, metalúrgica, siderúrgica, alimentícia, química.
Exportações: US$ 17,2 bilhões (1998).
Importações: US$ 15,7 bilhões (1998).
Principais parceiros comerciais: EUA, Alemanha e Japão.

DEFESA:
Efetivo total: 56 mil (1998).
Gastos: US$ 1,3 bilhão (1998).

RELAÇÕES EXTERIORES:
Organizações: Banco Mundial, FMI, Grupo do Rio, OEA, OMC, ONU, Opep, Pacto Andino.
Embaixada: Tel. (61) 3322-1011, fax (61) 3226-5633, e-mail: embvenbr@terra.com.br - Brasília, DF.



A Venezuela, oficialmente República Bolivariana da Venezuela (em espanhol: República Bolivariana de Venezuela), é um país tropical, na costa norte da América do Sul. O país possui várias ilhas fora de seu território continental situadas em sua costa no mar do Caribe (português brasileiro) ou mar das Caraíbas (português europeu). A república é uma antiga colônia espanhola que conquistou a sua independência em 1821.

A Venezuela tem fronteiras com a Guiana a leste, com o Brasil ao sul e com a Colômbia a oeste. Os países Trinidad e Tobago, Granada, São Vicente e Granadinas, Santa Lúcia e Barbados, além de Curaçao e Aruba, que são países constituintes do Reino dos Países Baixos, e a municipalidade neerlandesa de Bonaire, estão a norte, ao largo da costa venezuelana. Sua área territorial é de 916 445 km², sendo o 32º maior país no mundo em território. Sua população é estimada em 28 892 735 habitantes1 e a capital nacional é Caracas. As cores da bandeira venezuelana são o amarelo, azul e vermelho, nessa ordem: o amarelo representa a riqueza da terra, o azul o mar e o céu do país, e o vermelho o sangue derramado pelos heróis da independência.

Venezuela tem disputas territoriais com a Guiana (ex-colônia do Reino Unido), principalmente sobre a área de Essequibo, e com a Colômbia sobre o golfo da Venezuela. Em 1895, após anos de tentativas diplomáticas para resolver a disputa fronteiriça na Venezuela, a disputa sobre a fronteira do rio Essequibo deflagrou-se e então foi submetida a uma comissão "neutra" (composta por representantes do Reino Unido, Estados Unidos e da Rússia e sem representante direto da Venezuela), que, em 1899, decidiu-se contra a reivindicação territorial da Venezuela. A Venezuela é amplamente conhecido pela sua indústria de petróleo, pela diversidade ambiental do seu território e por seus recursos naturais. A nação é considerada um dos 17 países megadiversos do mundo, com uma fauna diversificada e uma grande variedade de habitats protegidos.

A Venezuela está entre os países mais urbanizados da América Latina; a grande maioria dos venezuelanos vivem nas cidades do norte, especialmente na capital Caracas, que é também a maior cidade do país. Outras cidades importantes incluem Maracaibo, Valência, Maracay, Barquisimeto, Mérida, Barcelona-Puerto La Cruz e Ciudad Guayana


Etimologia[editar]

Alonso de Ojeda, Américo Vespúcio e Juan de la Cosa foram os primeiros a explorar a costa da Venezuela em 1499. No dia 24 de Agosto desse ano chegaram ao que é hoje o lago de Maracaibo, onde encontraram nativos cujas casas estavam construídas sobre estacas de madeira fixas no lago (palafitas). Vespúcio, que era italiano, achou aquelas construções semelhantes às da cidade de Veneza e por isso chamou a região de Venezuela, ou seja, "Pequena Veneza".

Por outro lado, Martín Fernández de Enciso, um geógrafo que acompanhava a expedição, afirma na sua obra Summa de Geografia (1519) que junto ao lago existia uma grande rocha plana, em cima da qual havia um povoado indígena conhecido como Veneciuela. Assim, o nome Venezuela pode ser nativo, e não estrangeiro. No entanto, a primeira versão permanece como a mais divulgada e aceita.

História



Antes da chegada dos europeus, a Venezuela era habitada por vários povos dos quais se destacam os índios caribes, os aruaques e os cumanagatos.

Em 1498 Cristóvão Colombo chegou à costa da Venezuela durante a sua terceira viagem ao continente americano. A colonização espanhola iniciou-se em 1520, incidindo nas ilhas e na região costeira. Em 1567 foi fundada a cidade de Caracas, que se tornaria o centro mais importante da região.

O território que é hoje a Venezuela esteve dividido entre o vice-reino do Peru e audiência de Santo Domingo até ao estabelecimento do vice-reino de Granada em 1717. Em 1776 a Venezuela tornou-se uma capitania-geral do Império Espanhol.





Simón Bolívar, libertador da Venezuela e de mais cinco países latino-americanos: Bolívia, Colômbia, Equador, Panamá e Peru.
Em 1809 ocorreu a primeira insurreição independentista encabeçada pelo general Francisco de Miranda. A independência foi proclamada em 5 de Julho de 1811, mas Miranda foi preso e foram necessários dez anos de luta contra as forças espanholas até a decisiva batalha de Carabobo (1821). A Venezuela integrou então a República da Grande Colômbia, junto com a Colômbia, Equador e Panamá. Após a morte de Simón Bolívar, o grande herói da independência, a Venezuela retirou-se da Grande Colômbia.

Entre 1830 e 1848 o país foi governado por uma oligarquia conservadora até passar para a mão dos ditadores Monagas (1848–1858). A revolução de 1858 encabeçada por Julián Castro conduziu o país a um período de instabilidade, agravado pela guerra civil entre conservadores e liberais que se desenvolveu entre 1866 e 1870, após a introdução no país de uma constituição federalista (1864).

De 1870 a 1888 o liberal Antonio Guzmán Blanco governou a Venezuela de forma autoritária, exercendo uma política de obras públicas, de luta contra o analfabetismo e contra a influência da Igreja Católica. Ao seu governo sucederam-se períodos de pequenas ditaduras militares. Cipriano Castro apoderou-se da presidência em 1899 e pôs em prática uma política externa agressiva que provocou em 1902 o bloqueio e ataque dos portos da Venezuela pela Inglaterra, Alemanha e Itália.

Em 1908 Castro foi deposto por Juan Vicente Gómez, ditador durante os vinte e sete anos seguintes. Foi durante o seu governo, em 1922, que se iniciou a exploração das jazidas de petróleo da Venezuela.

Em 1945, após a queda da ditadura do general Isaías Medina Angarita, Rómulo Betancourt, fundador do partido Acción Democrática, tornou-se presidente provisório até as eleições livres de finais de 1947 que levaram o escritor Rómulo Gallegos à presidência. Uma revolta militar retirou-o do poder; em 1953 instalou-se a ditadura de Pérez Jiménez, que durou até 1958, ano em que foi restabelecida a democracia.

Desde então, o país passou por ao menos três tentativas de golpe de Estado: duas ocorridas em 1992 e a mais recente ocorrida em 2002.

Geografia



A Venezuela é um país localizado no norte da América do Sul, na fronteira com o mar do Caribe. É delimitada ao sul pelo Brasil, a oeste pela Colômbia e a leste pela Guiana. O país tem uma área total de 916 445 km² e uma área terrestre de 882 050 km², cerca do dobro do tamanho do estado da Califórnia, nos Estados Unidos. A forma de seu território se assemelha aproximadamente à de um triângulo invertido e o país tem um total de 2 800 km de litoral.





Pico Bolívar, o ponto mais alto da Venezuela.
Com 2 800 km de costa, o país possui uma variedade de paisagens. As extensões da cordilheira dos Andes vão do extremo nordeste até o noroeste da Venezuela e continuam ao longo da costa norte do Caribe. O Pico Bolívar, o ponto mais alto da nação com 4 979 m de altura, encontra-se nesta região. O centro do país é caracterizado pelos llanos, que são extensas planícies que se estendem desde a fronteira colombiana ao extremo oeste do delta do rio Orinoco, no leste.

No sul, a região Guayana contém a região norte da Bacia Amazônica e o Salto Ángel, a maior cachoeira (queda de água, em Portugal). O Orinoco, com seus ricos solos aluviais, se liga ao maior e mais importantes sistema de rios, que se origina em uma das maiores bacias hidrográficas da América Latina. O Caroni e o Apure são outros grandes rios.

A Região Insular inclui todas as ilhas da Venezuela: Nueva Esparta e as várias Dependências Federais. Do sistema deltaico, que forma um triângulo cobrindo o Delta Amacuro, projeta-se para o nordeste em direção ao Oceano Atlântico.

O país pode ainda ser dividido em dez zonas geográficas, correspondentes a algumas regiões climáticas e biogeográficas. No norte são os Andes venezuelanos e a região Coro, uma área montanhosa no noroeste, tem vários vales e serras. No leste estão as planícies adjacentes ao lago de Maracaibo e ao golfo da Venezuela. A Cordilheira Central é paralela à costa e inclui as colinas que rodeiam Caracas, a Cordilheira Oriental, separada da Cordilheira Central pelo golfo de Cariaco, abrange o Sucre e o norte de Monagas.





Embora a Venezuela esteja inteiramente situada nos trópicos, o clima varia de planícies úmidas de baixa altitude, onde as temperaturas médias anuais variam de tão elevados como 28 °C, às geleiras e regiões montanhosas com uma temperatura média anual de 8 °C. A precipitação anual varia entre 430 mm na porção semiárida do nordeste até 1 000 mm no delta do rio Orinoco do extremo oriente do país. A maioria das quedas de precipitação entre junho e outubro (época das chuvas ou "inverno"); o restante mais seco e mais quente do ano é conhecido como "verão", embora a variação da temperatura ao longo do ano não é tão pronunciada como em latitudes temperadas.

O país divide-se em quatro zonas de temperatura horizontais baseadas principalmente na elevação, tendo os climas tropical, seco, temperado com invernos secos e polar (tundra alpina), entre outros. Na zona tropical as temperaturas são quentes, com médias anuais variando entre 26 e 28 °C. A zona temperada varia entre 800 e 2 000 m de altura, com médias de 12–25 °C, muitas das cidades da Venezuela, incluindo a capital, encontram-se nesta região. As condições mais frias com temperaturas de 9–11 °C são encontrados na zona fria entre 2 000 e 3 000 m de altura, especialmente nos Andes venezuelanos, onde há pastagem e campo de neve permanentes com médias anuais abaixo 8 °C.

Demografia



Caracas, capital e maior cidade do país.
Cerca de 85% da população vive em áreas urbanas na parte norte do país. Apesar de metade da área terrestre da Venezuela se situar ao sul do rio Orinoco, esta região contém apenas 5% da população.

A língua nacional e oficial é o espanhol, mas existem também numerosas línguas indígenas e as línguas introduzidas pelos imigrantes.

Etnias

O povo venezuelano inclui uma rica combinação de heranças. Com o processo de colonização espanhola, houve uma miscigenação entre ameríndios, africanos e europeus (principalmente espanhóis). A maioria da população hoje tem ascendência em um ou mais grupos citados anteriormente.12 A população se identifica da seguinte forma:
75,4%: multirracial (de qualquer tipo);
16,9%: descendentes de europeus;
2,8%: ascendência Africano;
2,7%: ameríndio;

De acordo com um estudo genético de DNA (ADN, em Portugal) autossômico, realizado em 2008, pela Universidade de Brasília (UnB) a composição da população da Venezuela é a seguinte: 60,60% de contribuição europeia, 23% de contribuição indígena e 16,30% de contribuição africana.

Religião

Historicamente o catolicismo romano é a religião mais importante na Venezuela, situação que se mantém, uma vez que 85,7% da população identifica-se pelo menos nominalmente com esta denominação. A liberdade religiosa está consagrada na constituição da Venezuela, sendo o país tolerante face a outras religiões. A seguir ao catolicismo, destacam-se várias igrejas protestantes (12%) e pequenos grupos de judeus (sobretudo em Caracas e Maracaibo) e muçulmanos. Alguns índios ainda praticam as suas religiões ancestrais.

À semelhança do que acontece em outros países da América Latina praticam-se na Venezuela cultos sincrétios que são uma fusão de elementos das religiões indígenas, da religião dos descendentes dos escravos africanos e do
catolicismo, como o culto de María Lionza.


A Venezuela é uma república federal e presidencialista governada pela Constituição de 1999. Esta constituição consagrou a existência de cinco poderes: executivo, legislativo, judiciário, cidadão e eleitoral.

O poder executivo recai sobre o presidente da República, eleito por sufrágio universal para um mandato de seis anos, podendo ser reeleito infinitamente, depois de referendada a emenda constitucional, por voto popular. Ele é simultaneamente chefe de Estado e chefe de governo. É também o Comandante Supremo das Forças Armadas. Nomeia o vice-presidente da República (cargo ocupado desde janeiro de 2007 por Jorge Rodríguez Gómez) e os ministros.

O poder legislativo reside na Asamblea Nacional (Assembleia Nacional), parlamento unicameral composto por 167 membros, 3 dos quais representantes dos povos indígenas. Os membros da assembleia são eleitos para um período de 5 anos, podendo ser reeleitos para mais dois mandatos. Entre as funções da Assembleia Nacional encontram-se para aprovar as leis e o orçamento e designar os embaixadores. Antes da aprovação da constituição de 1999 a Venezuela tinha um parlamento bicameral, composto pelo Senado e pela Câmara dos Deputados. As últimas eleições para a Assembleia Nacional tiveram lugar em Dezembro de 2005.





Edifício da Assembleia Nacional da Venezuela.
O Supremo Tribunal de Justiça, órgão máximo do poder judiciário, é constituído por 36 membros eleitos para um mandato único de doze anos, sendo designados pela Assembleia Nacional.

Cada estado possui um governador (eleito para um período de quatro anos) e um Conselho Legislativo; o Distrito Capital tem um governador (eleito para um período de quatro anos). O alcalde (prefeito, presidente da Câmara Municipal), é a principal figura do poder municipal, sendo eleito também para um mandato de quatro anos.

Os principais partidos políticos venezuelanos são a Acción Democrática (AD, fundado em 1941 por Rómulo Gallegos e Rómulo Betancourt), o Partido Social Cristiano (COPEI, fundado em 1946 por Rafael Caldera), o Movimiento V República (MVR, liderado desde a sua fundação em 1997 por Hugo Chávez), Un Nuevo Tiempo, (fundado em 2000 por Manuel Rosales), Primero Justicia, (fundado em 2000 por Julio Borges), Moviemento al Socialismo (MAS) e Convergencia (fundado em 1993). Em 2007 Hugo Chavez criou o Partido Socialista Unificado Venezuelano (PSUV), o qual conquistou mais de 5 milhões de inscritos em poucos meses, tornando-se o principal partido.

A população venezuelana atua diretamente na política através dos conselhos comunais. Estes conselhos são comunidades de aproximadamente 200 famílias que moram próximos e possuem laços em comum. Através de assembleias populares os cidadãos decidem quais obras deverão ser executadas naquela comunidade. Estes grupos participam da política chegando a propor e aprovar leis, como por exemplo, a Lei de Terras, leis contra o açambarcamento em supermercados e a própria lei dos conselhos comunais.



Venezuela (i/ˌvɛnəˈzweɪlə/ VEN-ə-ZWALE-ə, Spanish pronunciation: [be.neˈswela]), officially called the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela (Spanish: República Bolivariana de Venezuela [reˈpu.βlika βoliβaˈɾjana ðe βeneˈswela]), is a country on the northern coast of South America. Venezuela's territory covers around 916,445 square kilometres (353,841 sq mi) with an estimated population of approximately 29,100,000. Venezuela is considered a state with extremely high biodiversity, with habitats ranging 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.

Venezuela was colonized by Spain in 1522 despite resistance from indigenous peoples. It became one of the first Spanish American colonies to declare independence (in 1811), but did not securely establish independence until 1821 (as a department of the federal republic of Gran Colombia, gaining full independence in 1830). During the 19th century Venezuela suffered political turmoil and dictatorship, and it was dominated by regional caudillos (military strongmen) well into the 20th century. The country has had democratic governments since 1958; before that, like most countries of Latin America, it suffered some coups and military dictatorships. Economic shocks in the 1980s and 1990s led to a political crisis causing hundreds of deaths in the Caracazo riots of 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 the existing parties saw the 1998 election of former career officer Hugo Chávez, and the launch of the Bolivarian Revolution, beginning with a 1999 Constituent Assembly to write a new Constitution of Venezuela.

Venezuela is a federal presidential republic consisting of 23 states, the Capital District (covering Caracas), and Federal Dependencies (covering Venezuela's offshore islands). Venezuela also claims all Guyanese territory west of the Essequibo River; this 159,500 square kilometres (61,583 sq mi) tract was dubbed Guayana Esequiba or the Zona en Reclamación (the "zone being reclaimed").

Venezuela is among the most urbanized countries in Latin America; the vast majority of Venezuelans live in the cities of the north, especially in the capital, Caracas, which is also the largest city and one of the most dangerous cities in the world. Since the discovery of oil in the early 20th century, Venezuela has been one of the world's leading exporters of oil and has the largest oil reserves. 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 recovery of oil prices after 2001 boosted the Venezuelan economy and facilitated social spending, although the fallout of the 2008 global financial crisis saw a renewed economic downturn. However, as of late 2010 Venezuela's economy returned to growth. Currently, Venezuela's economy is in a steady state of decline and the crime rate has sharply increased and is among the highest in the world.


Etymology





A palafito, a village or dwelling erected on bodies of water.[13] V YA
In 1499, an expedition led by Alonso de Ojeda visited the Venezuelan coast. The stilt houses in the area of Lake Maracaibo reminded the navigator Amerigo Vespucci of the city of Venice, so he named the region "Veneziola". The name acquired its current spelling as a result of Spanish influence, where the suffix -uela is used as a diminutive term (e.g., plaza / plazuela, cazo / cazuela); thus, the term's original sense would have been that of a "little Venice". The German term for the area, "Klein-Venedig", also means little Venice (lit. "small Venice").

Nonetheless, although the Vespucci story remains the most popular and accepted version of the origin of the country's name, a different reason for the name comes up in the account of Martín Fernández de Enciso, a member of the Vespucci and Ojeda crew. In his work Summa de Geografía, he states that they found an indigenous population who called themselves the "Veneciuela," which suggests that the name "Venezuela" may have evolved from the native word.


History

Simón Bolívar, liberator of not only Venezuela, but also Colombia, Panama, Ecuador, Bolivia, and Peru.
Human habitation of Venezuela could have commenced at least 15,000 years ago from which period leaf-shaped tools, together with chopping and plano-convex scraping implements, have been found exposed on the high riverine terraces of the Rio Pedregal in western Venezuela. Late Pleistocene hunting artifacts, including spear tips, have been found at a similar series of sites in northwestern Venezuela known as "El Jobo"; according to radiocarbon dating, these date from 13,000 to 7,000 BC.

It is not known how many people lived in Venezuela before the Spanish Conquest; it may have been around a million people, and in addition to today's indigenous peoples included groups such as the Carib, Auaké, Caquetio, Mariche and Timoto-cuicas. The number was reduced after the Conquest, mainly through the spread of new diseases from Europe. There were two main north-south axes of pre-Columbian population, producing maize in the west and manioc in the east. Large parts of the llanos plains were cultivated through a combination of slash and burn and permanent settled agriculture.
Colonization


Main articles: Spanish colonization of the Americas and Colonial Venezuela

In 1498, during his third voyage to the Americas, Christopher Columbus sailed near the Orinoco Delta and then landed in the Gulf of Paria. Amazed, Columbus expressed in his moving letter to Isabella and Ferdinand that he had reached the heaven on Earth (paradise), and confused by the unusual saltiness of the water, he wrote:


Great signs are these of the Terrestrial Paradise, for the site conforms to the opinion of the holy and wise theologians whom I have mentioned. And likewise, the [other] signs conform very well, for I have never read or heard of such a large quantity of fresh water being inside and in such close proximity to salt water; the very mild temperateness also corroborates this; and if the water of which I speak does not proceed from Paradise then it is an even greater marvel, because I do not believe such a large and deep river has ever been known to exist in this world.

His certainty of having attained Paradise made him name this region Land of Grace, a phrase that has become the country's nickname.





The Welser Armada exploring Venezuela
Spain's colonization of mainland Venezuela started in 1522, establishing its first permanent South American settlement in the present-day city of Cumaná. In the 16th century Venezuela was contracted as a concession by the King of Spain to the German Welser banking family (Klein-Venedig, 1528–1546). Native caciques (leaders) such as Guaicaipuro (c. 1530–1568) and Tamanaco (died 1573) attempted to resist Spanish incursions, but the newcomers ultimately subdued them; Tamanaco was put to death by order of Caracas' founder Diego de Losada.

In the 16th century, during the Spanish colonization, indigenous peoples such as many of the Mariches, themselves descendants of the Caribs converted to Roman Catholicism. Some of the resisting tribes or leaders are commemorated in place names, including Caracas, Chacao, and Los Teques. The early colonial settlements focused on the northern coast,[19] but in the mid-18th century the Spanish pushed further inland along the Orinoco River. Here the Ye'kuana (then known as the Makiritare) organized serious resistance in 1775 and 1776.

Spain's eastern Venezuelan settlements were incorporated into New Andalusia Province. Administered by the Royal Audiencia of Santo Domingo from the early 16th century, most of Venezuela became part of the Viceroyalty of New Granada in the early 18th century, and was then reorganized as an autonomous Captaincy General starting in 1776. The town of Caracas, founded in the central coastal region in 1567, was well-placed to become a key location, being near the coastal port of La Guaira whilst itself being located in a valley in a mountain range, providing defensive strength against pirates and a more fertile and healthy climate.

Independence


The signing of Venezuela's independence, by Martín Tovar y Tovar.




The Battle of Carabobo, during the Venezuelan War of Independence.
After a series of unsuccessful uprisings, Venezuela—under the leadership of Francisco de Miranda, a Venezuelan marshal who had fought in the American Revolution and the French Revolution—declared independence on 5 July 1811. This began the Venezuelan War of Independence. However, a devastating earthquake that struck Caracas in 1812, together with the rebellion of the Venezuelan llaneros, helped bring down the first Venezuelan republic. A second Venezuelan republic, proclaimed on 7 August 1813, lasted several months before being crushed as well.

Sovereignty was only attained after Simón Bolívar, aided by José Antonio Páez and Antonio José de Sucre, won the Battle of Carabobo on 24 June 1821. José Prudencio Padilla and Rafael Urdaneta's victory in the Battle of Lake Maracaibo on 24 July 1823, helped seal Venezuelan independence. New Granada's congress gave Bolívar control of the Granadian army; leading it, he liberated several countries and founded Gran Colombia.

Sucre, who won many battles for Bolívar, went on to liberate Ecuador and later become the second president of Bolivia. Venezuela remained part of Gran Colombia until 1830, when a rebellion led by Páez allowed the proclamation of a newly independent Venezuela; Páez became the first president of the new republic. Between one-quarter and one-third of Venezuela's population was lost during these two decades of warfare (including perhaps one-half of the white population), which by 1830 was estimated at about 800,000.

The colors of the Venezuelan flag are yellow, blue and red, in that order: the yellow stands for land wealth, the blue for the sea that separates Venezuela from Spain, and the red for the blood shed by the heroes of independence.





José Antonio Páez.
Slavery in Venezuela was abolished in 1854. Much of Venezuela's 19th century history was characterized by political turmoil and dictatorial rule, including the Independence leader José Antonio Páez, who gained the presidency three times and served a total of eleven years between 1830 and 1863. This culminated in the Federal War (1859–1863), a civil war in which hundreds of thousands died, in a country with a population of not much more than a million people. In the latter half of the century Antonio Guzmán Blanco, another caudillo, served a total of thirteen years between 1870 and 1887, with three other presidents interspersed.

In 1895, a longstanding dispute with Great Britain about the territory of Guayana Esequiba, which Britain claimed as part of British Guiana and Venezuela saw as Venezuelan territory, erupted into the Venezuela Crisis of 1895. The dispute became a diplomatic crisis when Venezuela's lobbyist William L. Scruggs sought to argue that British behavior over the issue violated the United States' Monroe Doctrine of 1823, and used his influence in Washington, D.C. to pursue the matter. Then US President Grover Cleveland adopted a broad interpretation of the Doctrine that did not just simply forbid new European colonies but declared an American interest in any matter within the hemisphere. Britain ultimately accepted arbitration, but in negotiations over its terms was able to persuade the US on much of the details. A tribunal convened in Paris in 1898 to decide the issue, and in 1899 awarded the bulk of the disputed territory to British Guiana.




Juan Vicente Gómez ruled Venezuela for 27 years (1908–1935).
In 1899, Cipriano Castro, assisted by his friend Juan Vicente Gómez, seized power in Caracas, marching an army from his base in the Andean state of Táchira. Castro defaulted on Venezuela's considerable foreign debts, and declined to pay compensation to foreigners caught up in Venezuela's civil wars. This led to the Venezuela Crisis of 1902–1903, in which Britain, Germany and Italy imposed a naval blockade of several months, before international arbitration at the new Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague was agreed. In 1908 another dispute broke out with the Netherlands, which was resolved when Castro left for medical treatment in Germany and was promptly overthrown by Juan Vicente Gómez.

The discovery of massive oil deposits in Lake Maracaibo during World War I would prove pivotal for Venezuela, and soon transformed the basis of its economy, from a heavy dependence on agricultural exports. It prompted an economic boom that would last into the 1980s; by 1935, Venezuela's per capita gross domestic product was Latin America's highest. Gómez benefited handsomely from this, as corruption thrived, but at the same time, the new source of income helped him centralize the Venezuelan state and develop its authority.

He remained the most powerful man in Venezuela until his death in 1935, although at times he ceded the Presidency to others. The gomecista dictatorship system largely continued under Eleazar López Contreras, but from 1941, under Isaías Medina Angarita, was relaxed, with the latter granting a range of reforms, including the legalization of all political parties. After World War II the globalization and heavy immigration from Southern Europe (mainly from Spain, Italy, Portugal and France) and poorer Latin American countries markedly diversified Venezuelan society.

In 1945, a civilian-military coup overthrew Medina Angarita and ushered in a three-year period of democratic rule under the mass membership Democratic Action, initially under Rómulo Betancourt, until Rómulo Gallegos won the Venezuelan presidential election, 1947 (generally believed to be the first free and fair elections in Venezuela). Gallegos governed until overthrown by a military junta led by Marcos Pérez Jiménez and Gallegos' Defense Minister Carlos Delgado Chalbaud in the 1948 Venezuelan coup d'état.

Pérez Jiménez was the most powerful man in the junta (though Chalbaud was its titular President), and was suspected of being behind the death in office of Chalbaud, who died in a bungled kidnapping in 1950. When the junta unexpectedly lost the election it held in 1952, it ignored the results and Pérez Jiménez was installed as President, where he remained until 1958.





Rómulo Betancourt (President 1945-1948/1959-1964), one of the major democracy activists of Venezuela.
The military dictator Pérez Jiménez was forced out on 23 January 1958. In an effort to consolidate the young democracy, the major political parties (with the notable exception of the Communist Party of Venezuela) signed the Punto Fijo Pact. Democratic Action and COPEI would dominate the political landscape for four decades.

The 1960s saw substantial guerilla movements, including the Armed Forces of National Liberation and the Revolutionary Left Movement, which had split from Democratic Action in 1960. Most of these movements lay down their arms under Rafael Caldera's presidency (1969–74); Caldera had won the 1968 election for COPEI, being the first time a party other than Democratic Action took the presidency through a democratic election.

The election of Carlos Andrés Pérez in 1973 coincided with the 1973 oil crisis, which saw Venezuela's income explode as oil prices soared, while oil industries were nationalized in 1976. This led to massive increases in public spending, but also increases in external debts, which continued into the 1980s when the collapse of oil prices during the 1980s crippled the Venezuelan economy. As the government started to devalue the currency in February 1983 in order to face its financial obligations, Venezuelans' real standard of living fell dramatically. A number of failed economic policies and increasing corruption in government led to rising poverty and crime, worsening social indicators, and increased political instability.

Economic crisis in the 1980s and 1990s led to a political crisis which saw hundreds dead in the Caracazo riots of 1989, two attempted coups in 1992, and the impeachment of President Carlos Andrés Pérez (re-elected in 1988) for corruption in 1993. Coup leader Hugo Chávez was pardoned in March 1994 by president Rafael Caldera, with a clean slate and his political rights reinstated.

Bolivarian Revolution


Hugo Chávez, President from 1999 until his death in 2013.
A collapse in confidence in the existing parties saw Chávez 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.

In April 2002, Chávez was briefly ousted from power in the 2002 Venezuelan coup d'état attempt following popular demonstrations by his opposers,[35] but he was returned to power after two days as a result of popular demonstrations by his supporters and actions by the military.

Chávez also remained in power after an all-out national strike that lasted more than two months from December 2002 to February 2003, including a strike/lockout in the state oil company PDVSA. 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 $13.3bn. 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. 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.

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. 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.

Nicolás Maduro is the president of Venezuela since 14 April 2013, after winning 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 (the government opposition cartel) contested his appointment as a violation of the constitution. However, the Supreme Court of Venezuela (TSJ) rules that under Venezuela's Constitution, Nicolás Maduro is the President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and was invested as such by the Venezuelan Congress (Asamblea Nacional)


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 square kilometres (353,841 sq mi) and a land area of 882,050 square kilometres (340,560 sq mi), making it the 33rd largest country. 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 Sea, and in 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.





Angel Falls, the highest waterfall in the world
The northern mountains are the extreme northeastern extensions of South America's Andes mountain range reach. 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 contains 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, from Venezuela, 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.

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.

Climat



Los Roques archipelago
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 between 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 November to April and later in the year from August to October. These periods are referred to as Hot-Humid and Cold-Dry seasons. Other charasteristic 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.

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.[50][51][52] In the tropical zone—below 800 meters or 2,625 feet—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 meters (2,625 and 6,562 ft) with averages from 12 to 25 °C (53.6 to 77 °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 meters (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,[53] 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),[54] even though no official reports exist, there is knowledge of lower temperatures in the mountains of the Sierra Nevada de Mérida.




Government and politics

Main articles: Government of Venezuela and Politics of Venezuela





Nicolás Maduro, current President of Venezuela
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 saw 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 Venezuelan constitutional referendum, 2007, which had offered two packages of constitutional reforms aimed at deepening the Bolivarian Revolution.

There are currently two major blocs of political parties 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 Venezuelan presidential election, 2013).





National Assembly of Venezuela building
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. Three seats are reserved for representatives of Venezuela's indigenous peoples. For the 2011–2016 period the number of seats is 165. All deputies serve five-year terms.

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

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 twelve-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.







Referência para busca:
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Fotos de Venezuela.

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