Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela
República Bolivariana de Venezuela
Political Status: Independence originally proclaimed in 1821 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); 27,727,000 (2007E). 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 1, 2008: 2.15 bolívares fuertes = $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 ...