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Venezuela

Immigration pardon
by SS&SS

Article by Makcnm

In 1498, within the framework of his third voyage, Christopher Columbus sailed near the Orinoco Delta, then interned in the Gulf of Paria. Amazed, Columbus expressed in his moving letter to the Catholic Monarchs that he had reached the heaven on earth (the 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.[10] His certainty of having attained Paradise made him name this region Land of Grace, a phrase which has become the country’s nickname. Nevertheless, the following year of 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, (Italian: Venezia), so he named the region “Venezuela,”[11] meaning “little Venice” in Italian. The word has the same meaning in Spanish, where the suffix -zuela 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”.[12] 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 Main articles: History of Venezuela, History of the Venezuelan oil industry, and German colonization of the AmericasThe signing of Venezuela’s independence, by Martín Tovar y Tovar.The Battle of Carabobo, during the Venezuelan War of Independence.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.[14] 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.[15] Venezuela was first colonized by Spain in 1522 in what is now Cumaná. These portions of eastern Venezuela were incorporated into New Andalusia. Administered by the Audiencia of Santo Domingo since 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. In the 16th century, during the Spanish colonization, indigenous peoples such as many of the Mariches, themselves descendants of the Caribs rejected paganism and embraced Roman Catholicism. Some Spaniards treated the natives harshly. Indian caciques (leaders) such as Guaicaipuro and Tamanaco attempted to resist Spanish incursions, but were ultimately defeated; Tamanaco was put to death by order of Caracas’ founder Diego de Losada.[16] 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.[17] 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. Two decades of warfare had cost the lives of between a quarter and a third of the Venezuelan population, which in 1830 numbered no more than 800,000.[18]

Much of Venezuela’s nineteenth century history was characterized by political turmoil and dictatorial rule.[19]20th century

During the first half of the 20th century, caudillos (military strongmen) continued to dominate, though they generally allowed for mild social reforms and promoted economic growth. Following the death of Juan Vicente Gómez in 1935 and the demise of caudillismo (authoritarian rule), pro-democracy movements eventually forced the military to withdraw from direct involvement in national politics in 1958. Since that year, Venezuela has had a series of democratically elected governments.[2]

The discovery of massive oil deposits during World War I prompted an economic boom that lasted into the 1980s; by 1935, Venezuela’s per capita gross domestic product was Latin America’s highest.[20] After World War II the globalization and heavy immigration from Southern Europe (mainly from Spain, Italy, Portugal) and poorer Latin American countries markedly diversified Venezuelan society.

The huge public spending and accumulation of internal and external debts during the Petrodollar years of the 1970s and early 1980s, followed by the collapse of oil prices during the 1980s, crippled the Venezuelan economy. As the government started to devaluate 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.[21] Corruption remains a problem; Venezuela was ranked near the bottom of countries in the Corruptions Perceptions Index in 2009.[22]

In February 1992 Hugo Chávez, an army paratrooper, staged a coup d’état attempt seeking to overthrow the government of President Carlos Andrés Pérez. Chávez failed and was placed in jail. In November 1992, another unsuccessful coup attempt occurred, organized by groups loyal to Chávez remaining in the armed forces.[23] Chávez was pardoned in March 1994 by president Rafael Caldera, with a clean slate and his political rights intact.

In 1998, Chávez was elected president.[23] His reform program, which he later called the “Bolivarian Revolution”, was aimed at redistributing the benefits of Venezuela’s oil wealth to the lower socio-economic groups by using it to fund programs such as health care and education, but has encountered great criticism by the previous establishment. In April 2002 he suffered a coup d’état.[24] He was returned to power after two days as a result of popular demonstrations in his favour and actions by the military.[25] Chávez has also survived an all-out national strike that lasted more than two months in December 2002 – February 2003, including a strike/lockout in the state oil company PDVSA, and a recall referendum in August 2004. He was elected for another term in December 2006.Economy* Sources: WDI/World Bank. GDP and GDP per capita is in year 2000 VEB, adjusted for inflation. Unemployment data for 2005 is the CIA World Factbook estimate. 1 trillion = 1,000,000,000,000. The vertical scales do not start at 0 to make more details visible. Oil production figures from IEA in millions of barrels per day.Main article: Economy of VenezuelaThe 20 Venezuelan bolívar fuerte banknote featuring a portrait of Luisa Cáceres de Arismendi.

The petroleum sector dominates Venezuela’s mixed economy, accounting for roughly a third of GDP, around 80% of exports and more than half of government revenues. Gold, diamonds and iron ore are mined as well. Venezuela contains some of the largest oil and natural gas reserves in the world. It consistently ranks among the top ten crude oil producers in the world.[26]

The country’s main petroleum deposits are located around and beneath Lake Maracaibo, the Gulf of Venezuela (both in Zulia), and in the Orinoco River basin (eastern Venezuela), where the country’s largest reserve is located. Venezuela has the least expensive petrol in the world because of its high government subsidies.

Inflation has been a problem. It was expected to slow to 26% annually in 2009, according to the president of the national bank, Nelson Merentes.[27]Personal income

Per capita GDP for 2008 was US,500, ranking it 84th in the world.[28] About 30 % of the population of the country live on less than US$ 2 per day.[29]Petroleum and other resourcesSee also: Energy policy of Venezuela

When oil was discovered at the Maracaibo strike in 1922, Venezuela’s dictator Juan Vicente Gómez allowed Americans to write Venezuela’s petroleum law.[30] But oil history was made [peacock term] in 1943 when Standard Oil of New Jersey accepted a new agreement in Venezuela based on the 50-50 principle, “a landmark event.”[31]The Venezuelan oil producer PDVSA wholly owns its United States based subsidiary, Citgo and attributes a large percentage of its wealth to oil sales from the United States

Terms even more favorable to Venezuela were negotiated in 1945, after a coup brought to power a left-leaning government that included Juan Pablo Pérez Alfonso. In 1958 a new government again included Pérez Alfonso, who devised a plan for the international oil cartel that would become OPEC.[32] In 1973 Venezuela voted to nationalize its oil industry outright, effective 1 January 1976, with Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) taking over and presiding over a number of holding companies; in subsequent years, Venezuela built a vast refining and marketing system in the U.S. and Europe.[33] Economic prospects remain highly dependent on oil prices and the export of petroleum. A founding member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), Venezuela reasserted its leadership within the organization during its year as OPEC’s president,[when?] hosting the organization’s Second Leadership Conference in 40 years, as well as having its former Minister of Energy, Alvaro Silva Calderon, appointed as Secretary General.

The collapse of oil prices in 1997-98 prompted the Rodriguez administration to expand OPEC-inspired production cuts in an effort to raise world oil prices. In 2002, this sector accounted for roughly a quarter of GDP, 73% of export earnings, and about half of central government’s operating revenues. Venezuela is the fourth-leading supplier of imported crude and refined petroleum products to the United States.

The Government of Venezuela has opened up much of the hydrocarbon sector to foreign investment,[when?] promoting multi-billion dollar investment in heavy oil production, reactivation of old fields, and investment in several petrochemical joint ventures. Almost 60 foreign companies representing 14 different countries participate in one or more aspects of Venezuela’s oil sector.[citation needed]

The Venezuelan national oil company Petroleos de Venezuela, S.A. (PDVSA) and foreign oil companies have signed 33 operating contracts for marginal fields in three bidding rounds.[when?] New legislation[clarification needed] dealing with natural gas and petrochemicals is further opening the sector. A new domestic retail competition law, however, disappointed investors who had been promised market-determined prices.[citation needed]

On 13 November 2001, under the enabling law authorized by the National Assembly, President Chávez enacted the new Hydrocarbons Law, which came into effect in January 2002. This law replaced the Hydrocarbons Law of 1943 and the Nationalization Law of 1975. Among other things, the new law provided that all oil production and distribution activities were to be the domain of the Venezuelan state, with the exception of joint ventures targeting extra-heavy crude oil production. Under the new Hydrocarbons Law, private investors can own up to 49% of the capital stock in joint ventures involved in upstream activities. The new law also provides that private investors may own up to 100% of the capital stock in ventures concerning downstream activities, in addition to the 100% already allowed for private investors with respect to gas production ventures, as previously promulgated by the National Assembly.

During the December 2002-February 2003 all-out national strike where managers and skilled highly paid technicians of PDVSA shut down the plants and left their posts, petroleum production and refining by PDVSA almost ceased. At the same time, many business owners across Venezuela closed down their stores, both actions aimed at ousting Chavez from government. After more than 60 days of getting nowhere the strike died off, and activities eventually were slowly restarted by returning and substitute oil workers. Out of a total of 45,000 PDVSA management and workers, some 19,000 were subsequently dismissed with no compensation; many of whom were managers and highly paid professionals and technicians who thereafter were banned from working in the petroleum industry, even indirectly.Manufacturing, agriculture, and tradeVenezuela has a newly developed electronics sector, which produces the Vergatario, the worlds cheapest full media mobile phone.

Manufacturing contributed 17% of GDP in 2006. Venezuela manufactures and exports steel, electronics, aluminum, automobiles, textiles, apparel, beverages, and foodstuffs. It produces cement, tires, paper, fertilizer, and assembles cars both for domestic and export markets.

Venezuela

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