Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela

RepÚblica Bolivariana de Venezuela

Political Status: Independence originally proclaimed in 1811 as part of Gran Colombia; independent republic established in 1830; federal constitutional system restored in 1958. Current constitution approved by referendum on December 15, 1999.

Area: 358,850 sq. mi. (916,445 sq. km.).

Population: 23,054,210 (2001C); 27,035,000 (2006E). The 2001 figure excludes an adjustment for underenumeration as well as 180,000 Amerindian jungle dwellers.

Major Urban Centers (2005E): CARACAS (2,073,768), Maracaibo (1,764,000), Valencia (1,325,000), Barquisimeto (893,000).

Official Language: Spanish.

Monetary Unit: Bolívar (official rate November 2, 2007: 2,147 bolívares = $1US).

President: Lt. Col. (Ret.) Hugo Rafael CHÁVEZ Frías (Fifth Republic Movement); elected on December 6, 1998, and inaugurated on February 2, 1999, for a five-year term, succeeding Dr. Rafael CALDERA Rodríguez (National Convergence); reinaugurated by Constitutional Assembly on August ...

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