Hugo Rafael Chávez Frías
(pronounced "OO-go CHAH-vezz")
"This will be a government of neither the left nor the right…It will be a civic humanist government because it will put in first place, at the center of its attention, human beings."
The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela sits on the northern tip of the continent of South America, directly east of Colombia. Its northern boundary is 2,800 km (1,740 mi) of Caribbean Sea coastline. Guyana and Brazil share borders on Venezuela's east and southeastern sides, respectively. Venezuela covers an area of 912,050 sq km (352,144 sq mi) and is shaped somewhat like a saddle. The capital and largest city is Caracas.
Venezuela's population was estimated at 24,287,640 in 2002. Approximately 67% of the people are mestizo (half-indigenous, half-Spanish), 21% white (Spanish), 10% black, and 2% indigenous (largely Yanonami, living in the Amazon jungle along the border with Brazil). The official language is Spanish, spoken by all except the indigenous people, who speak various dialects. Christianity is the main religion, with 96% of the population nominally Roman Catholic. Adult literacy was over 90% in 1998.
The unit of currency is the bolivar. Although Venezuela is Latin America's fourth-largest economy, as of the late 1990s, almost 70% of the population was living in poverty. The per capita gross domestic product (GDP) was estimated at US $6,100 in 2001. Petroleum accounts for nearly 80% of the export revenue. In addition to oil, the country is resource-rich with iron ore, bauxite, gold, diamonds, and other valuable minerals, plus vast expanses of untapped forests and excellent grazing and agricultural lands producing coffee, rice, and cotton. After expanding by 3.8% and 2.9% in 2000 and 2001, Venezuela's economy shrunk by 7% in 2002, mostly as a product of the social instability caused by a political crisis. Inflation also rose from 12.3% in 2001 to 30.7% in 2002.
Oficina del Presidente
Palacios de Miraflores