As early as 1522 Spanish invaders reported that the Carib tribes in Venezuela used a black, gooey substance for many purposes. The viscous material was crude oil. It was not until the 1950s, however, that oil production began in Venezuela. Oil accounts for a quarter of the nation’s gross domestic product and three-quarters of export earnings, and Venezuela is South America’s leading producer and one of the few non-Arab members of OPEC. There are also substantial coal reserves, and exploitation of the recently discovered Guasare Basin field is expected to add 10 million tons to annual production. The political instability of the early 1990s shook foreign investor confidence, but Venezuela has emphasized trade links with other South American countries. The mid- to late 1990s saw a series of public and private sector strikes for higher wages. In addition to participation in the G-3 agreement with Mexico and Colombia, Venezuela has a free trade agreement with Colombia and has expressed the desire to become part of the North American Free Trade Agreement between Canada, Mexico, and the United States.
The election of Hugo Chavez as president of Venezuela raises the question of the unraveling of the political system in all of Latin America and reveals the disillusionment some are feeling about worsening social conditions that have not improved under democratically elected governments. Venezuela began its democracy 40 years ago with an unusual pact between the country’s principal parties that guaranteed an institutional stability not known in the region at that time. But, at the same time, the leaders of the country never diversified the country’s economy, instead choosing to rely heavily on its oil revenues. As a result, the Venezuelan economy is highly susceptible to the world market’s price fluctuations and has not diversified enough to create jobs and allow for funds for programs of social support to combat the rising unemployment and levels of poverty in the country. Chavez’s victory also reflects the growing discontent with Venezuela’s traditional political system.
But it also demonstrates a phenomenon that is happening in other parts of the continent where leaders with an authoritarian bent are also gaining support. (Internet-Britannica) Imports: Machinery and transportation equipment, chemicals, basic manufactures, manufactured goods, foodstuffs, mineral fuels and lubricants, animal and vegetable oils. Total Imports: $10,827,000,000 (1996); $11,199,000,000 (1995); $8,277,000,000 (1994). Exports: Petroleum and refined oil products, aluminum, iron ore, bauxite, basic manufactures, chemicals, foodstuffs, machinery and transportation equipment. Total Exports: $23,149,000,000 (1996); $19,408,000,000 (1995); $16,560,000,000 (1994). Population: 23,242,000 (1998 estimate) Largest Cities: Bogota (capital), Cali, and Medellin Currency: Bolivares; 100 centimos = 1 bolivar Languages: Spanish is the official language, but Indian dialects are spoken by some of the 200,000 Indians in the remote interior region. Religion: Roman Catholic – 96%; Protestant – 2%; other – 2%. Location: Venezuela is located on the northern coast of South America; Colombia lies to the west, Brazil to the south, Guyana to the east, and the Caribbean Sea to the north. National Capital: Caracas Climate: The Venezuelan climate varies according to region, but ranges from tropical to moderate.
The rainy season lasts from May through November. The average annual temperature in Caracas is 69 F. (internet-google) The things that I would like to do in Venezuela would include, watching a bull fight, go golfing, fish for peacock bass, eat a lot of good authentic food, and take a guided tour through the amazon. One of the favorite forms of entertainment is the “toros coleados”, where two groups of expert brave riders compete with each other at downing a bull by catching it by the tail and throwing it to the ground. The competition takes place in a festive atmosphere, where music is played between bulls and abundant food and drink is served. Bullfights The “Nuevo Circo,” in Caracas, is one of the four major bullrings in Latin America, where bullfighters must perform in order to be fully recognized. Many other “plazas de toros” (bullrings) are also very famous. Maracaibo, San Cristobal, Maracay, Valencia -among others of ten feature first-class bullfights during their festivities. It is sunshine in the afternoon at the plaza, teeming with people and “toreros” risking their lives in front of the bulls, accounts for an interesting experience. Venezuela has a very good breed of fighting bulls (Taurus) and excellent “toreros”.
The only Latin American bullfighter that has been immortalized in Spain is Jose Giron from Venezuela, who has a statue in Madrid. Giron was the first in a family of toreros who became a dynasty and even created a style of their own. (internet-infoseek) El Pavon, the Peacock Bass in Spanish. A bass fishermans dream come true. Viscous hard fighting explosive fish that will tear lures apart. In the rivers of Venezuela and in some lake the extravagant bass live. Reaching up to twenty-seven pounds the peacock bass is the most vicious carnivorous bass in the world. Striking foot long floating rapalas the peacock bass put on a tremendous show for the fisherman. The green yellow and gold colors make the bass beautiful. However when the twenty pound fish explodes out of the water after your lure that is the true beauty of this fish. This would be the whole reason to go to Venezuela, to catch a peacock bass. I would like to take a tour through the rain forests down the rivers to see three toed slothes, jaguars, and some three hundred different tropical birds. I think to take a day with a guide into the rainforest would be an extreme high of the trip. To see all of those species, and awesome beauty.
I would love to visit Venezuela.Golfing in Venezuela would be another extravagant adventure. The hot weather, tropical atmosphere, and the fun of it. I love to golf; to me it is the most fun I could have. So playing in foreign lands would be really awesome. Venezuela has one of the highest standards of living in South America. This makes it more inviting to me; I wouldnt be going to a scrubby third world country. I like the idea because I dont feel in danger if I went. I wouldnt mind the visit to Venezuela; I would feel safe and comfortable. It really appeals to me to go to Venezuela; I think it would be nice. The transportation ways are good. You wouldnt have any trouble getting around, and that is what you get when you have one of the highest GNPs in South America. I would love to visit Venezuela, it appeals to me like a paradise, and I like the idea of comfort. The high class of living is very appealing. I am telling you this is the place for me.