Venezuela( South America )

Ve-lgflag.gif Ve large locator.gif Ve-map.gif

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
total: 912,050 sq km
land: 882,050 sq km
water: 30,000 sq km
Area comparative:
almost six times the size of Georgia; slightly more than twice the size of California
<a href="">Area comparison map</a>
Land boundaries:
total: 4,993 km
border countries: Brazil 2,200 km, Colombia 2,050 km, Guyana 743 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:
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:
10,550 sq km (2008)
Total renewable water resources:
1,233 cu km (2011)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic or industrial or 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:
none of the selected agreements
"</i>none of the selected agreements" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki.
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
Spanish (official), numerous indigenous dialects
nominally Roman Catholic 96%, Protestant 2%, other 2%
28,868,486 (July 2014 est.)
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.)
Dependency ratios:
total dependency ratio: 52.9 %
youth dependency ratio: 43.2 %
elderly dependency ratio: 9.8 %
potential support ratio: 10.2 (2014 est.)
Median age:
total: 26.9 years
male: 26.1 years
female: 27.6 years (2014 est.)
Population growth rate:
1.42% (2014 est.)
Birth rate:
19.42 births/1,000 population (2014 est.)
Death rate:
5.27 deaths/1,000 population (2014 est.)
Net migration rate:
0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2014 est.)
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:
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.)
Infant mortality rate:
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.)
Maternal mortality rate:
92 deaths/100,000 live births (2010)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 74.39 years
male: 71.26 years
female: 77.67 years (2014 est.)
Total fertility rate:
2.35 children born/woman (2014 est.)
Contraceptive prevalence rate:
Health expenditures:
5.2% of GDP (2011)
Physicians density:
1.94 physicians/1,000 population (2001)
Hospital bed density:
0.9 beds/1,000 population (2011)
Drinking water source:
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:
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 or AIDS adult prevalence rate:
0.6% (2012 est.)
HIV or AIDS people living with HIV or AIDS:
107,900 (2012 est.)
HIV or AIDS deaths:
3,800 (2012 est.)
Obesity adult prevalence rate:
30.3% (2008)
Children under the age of 5 years underweight:
2.9% (2009)
Education expenditures:
6.9% of GDP (2009)
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):
total: 14 years
13 years
15 years (2008)
Child labor children ages 5-14:
total number: 404,092
percentage: 8 % (2000 est.)
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
Gross national saving:
23.8% of GDP (2013 est.)
28.9% of GDP (2012 est.)
30.8% of GDP (2011 est.)
GDP composition, by end use:
household consumption: 62.3%
government consumption: 13.2%
investment in fixed capital: 17.3%
investment in inventories: 5.7%
exports of goods and services: 25%
imports of goods and services: -23.5%
(2013 est.)
GDP composition, by sector of origin:
agriculture: 3.7%
industry: 35.5%
services: 60.8% (2013 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.)
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:
28.1% of GDP (2013 est.)
Budget surplus or deficit:
Public debt:
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
Fiscal year:
calendar year
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.)
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.)
Debt external:
$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:
bolivars (VEB) per US dollar -
6.048 (2013 est.)
4.289 (2012 est.)
2.5821 (2010 est.)
2.147 (2009)
2.147 (2008)
Electricity production:
127.6 billion kWh (2012 est.)
Electricity consumption:
85.05 billion kWh (2011 est.)
Electricity exports:
626 million kWh (2010 est.)
Electricity imports:
0 kWh (2010 est.)
Electricity installed generating capacity:
27.5 million kW (2012 est.)
Electricity from fossil fuels:
35.7% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
Electricity from nuclear fuels:
0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
Electricity from hydroelectric plants:
64.3% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
Electricity from other renewable sources:
0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
Crude oil production:
2.489 million bbl/day (2012 est.)
Crude oil exports:
1.645 million bbl/day (2010 est.)
Crude oil imports:
0 bbl/day (2010 est.)
Crude oil proved reserves:
297.6 billion bbl (1 January 2013 est.)
Refined petroleum products production:
1.11 million bbl/day (2010 est.)
Refined petroleum products consumption:
571,000 bbl/day (2011 est.)
Refined petroleum products exports:
638,000 bbl/day (2010 est.)
Refined petroleum products imports:
16,660 bbl/day (2011 est.)
Natural gas production:
25.28 billion cu m (2012 est.)
Natural gas consumption:
27.11 billion cu m (2010 est.)
Natural gas exports:
0 cu m (2011 est.)
Natural gas imports:
2.11 billion cu m (2011 est.)
Natural gas proved reserves:
5.524 trillion cu m (1 January 2013 est.)
Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy:
182.7 million Mt (2011 est.)
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)
Telephones main lines in use:
7.65 million (2012)
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 users:
8.918 million (2009)
Internet hosts:
1.016 million (2012)
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)
extra heavy crude 981 km; gas 5,941 km; oil 7,588 km; refined products 1,778 km (2013)
total: 806 km
standard gauge: 806 km 1.435-m gauge (41 km electrified) (2008)
total: 96,155 km
paved: 32,308 km
unpaved: 63,847 km (2002)
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
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:
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:
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)