Venezuela facts on every entity in the world

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. Under Hugo CHAVEZ, president from 1999 to 2013, and his hand-picked successor, President Nicolas MADURO, the executive branch has exercised increasingly authoritarian control over other branches of government. At the same time, democratic institutions have deteriorated, threats to freedom of expression have increased, and political polarization has grown. The ruling party's economic policies have expanded the state's role in the economy through expropriations of major enterprises, strict currency exchange and price controls that discourage private sector investment and production, and overdependence on the petroleum industry for revenues, among others. Current concerns include: an increasingly politicized military, rampant violent crime, high inflation, and widespread shortages of basic consumer goods, medicine, and medical supplies. Venezuela assumed a nonpermanent seat on the UN Security Council for the 2015-16 term.



Northern South America, bordering the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, between Colombia and Guyana

Geographic coordinates

8.00° N, 66.00° W

Area 33/257

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

Land boundaries

total: 5,267 km

border countries (3): Brazil 2,137 km, Colombia 2,341 km, Guyana 789 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


mean elevation:

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

agricultural land: 24.5%

arable land 3.1%; permanent crops 0.8%; permanent pasture 20.6%

forest: 52.1%

other: 23.4% (2011 est.)

Irrigated land

10,550 sq km (2008)

Total renewable water resources

1,233 cu km (2011)

Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/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

party to: Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands

signed but not ratified:: none of the selected agreements

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%

Population 45/238

29,275,460 (July 2015 est.)

Age structure

0-14 years: 27.76% (male 4,143,988/female 3,983,457)

15-24 years: 18.71% (male 2,754,818/female 2,724,039)

25-54 years: 39.7% (male 5,711,044/female 5,911,607)

55-64 years: 7.68% (male 1,067,661/female 1,180,276)

65 years and over: 6.14% (male 791,095/female 1,007,475) (2015 est.)

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 52.4%

youth dependency ratio: 42.8%

elderly dependency ratio: 9.5%

potential support ratio: 10.5% (2015 est.)

Median age

total: 27.2 years

male: 26.4 years

female: 27.9 years (2015 est.)

Population growth rate 85/233

1.39% (2015 est.)

Birth rate 90/224

19.16 births/1,000 population (2015 est.)

Death rate 179/225

5.31 deaths/1,000 population (2015 est.)

Net migration rate 79/222

0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2015 est.)


urban population: 89% of total population (2015)

rate of urbanization: 1.54% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Major urban areas - population

CARACAS (capital) 2.916 million; Maracaibo 2.196 million; Valencia 1.734 million; Maracay 1.166 million; Barquisimeto 1.039 million (2015)

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: 0.91 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.79 male(s)/female

total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2015 est.)

Maternal mortality rate 79/184

95 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)

Infant mortality rate 92/224

total: 18.91 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 22.29 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 15.37 deaths/1,000 live births (2015 est.)

Life expectancy at birth 116/224

total population: 74.54 years

male: 71.4 years

female: 77.83 years (2015 est.)

Total fertility rate 91/224

2.32 children born/woman (2015 est.)

Health expenditures 151/191

3.6% of GDP (2013)

Hospital bed density

0.9 beds/1,000 population (2011)

Drinking water source


urban: 95% of population

rural: 77.9% of population

total: 93.1% of population


urban: 5% of population

rural: 22.1% of population

total: 6.9% of population (2015 est.)

Sanitation facility access


urban: 97.5% of population

rural: 69.9% of population

total: 94.4% of population


urban: 2.5% of population

rural: 30.1% of population

total: 5.6% of population (2015 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate

0.55% (2014 est.)

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS

106,900 (2014 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths

4,400 (2013 est.)

Obesity - adult prevalence rate 26/191

24.3% (2014)

Children under the age of 5 years underweight 115/138

2.9% (2009)

Education expenditures 22/173

6.9% of GDP (2009)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)

total: 14 years

male: 13 years

female: 15 years (2008)

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24 70/134

total: 17.1%

male: 14.3%

female: 22.6% (2012 est.)


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 (2015)

Legal system

civil law system based on the Spanish civil code

International law organization participation

has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCT jurisdiction


citizenship by birth: yes

citizenship by descent: yes

dual citizenship recognized: no

residency requirement for naturalization: 5 years


18 years of age; universal

Executive branch

chief of state: President Nicolas MADURO Moros (since 19 April 2013); Executive Vice President Aristobulo ISTURIZ (since 6 January 2016); note - the president is both chief of state and head of government

head of government: President Nicolas MADURO Moros (since 19 April 2013); Executive Vice President Aristobulo ISTURIZ (since 6 January 2016)

cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president

elections/appointments: president directly elected by simple majority popular vote for a 6-year term (no term limits); election last held on 14 April 2013 - a special election held following the death of President Hugo CHAVEZ Frias on 5 March 2013 (next election expected in late 2018 or early 2019 pending official convocation by the country's electoral body)

election results: Nicolas MADURO Moros elected president; percent of vote - Nicolas MADURO Moros (PSUV) 50.6%, Henrique CAPRILES Radonski (PJ) 49.1%, other 0.3%

Legislative branch

description: unicameral National Assembly or Asamblea Nacional (167 seats; 113 members directly elected in single- and multi-seat constituencies by simple majority vote, 51 directly elected in multi-seat constituencies by proportional representation vote, and 3 seats reserved for indigenous peoples of Venezuela; members serve 5-year terms)

elections: last held on 6 December 2015 (next expected to be held in 2020)

election results: percent of vote by party - MUD (opposition coalition) 56.3%, PSUV (pro-government) 40.9%, other 2.8%; seats by party - MUD 112, PSUV 55

Judicial branch

highest court(s): Supreme Tribunal of Justice (consists of 32 judges organized into 6 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 [Enrique MARQUEZ]

Brave People's Alliance or ABP [Richard BLANCO]

Christian Democrats or COPEI [Roberto ENRIQUEZ]

Coalition of opposition parties -- The Democratic Unity Table or MUD [Jesus "Chuo" TORREALBA]

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 [Didalco Antonio BOLIVAR GRATEROL]

Justice First or PJ [Julio BORGES]

Movement Toward Socialism or MAS [Segundo MELENDEZ]

Popular Will or VP [Leopoldo LOPEZ]

Progressive Wave or AP [Henri FALCON]

The Radical Cause or La Causa R [Americo DE GRAZIA]

United Socialist Party of Venezuela or PSUV [Nicolas MADURO]

Venezuelan Progressive Movement or MPV [Simon CALZADILLA]

Venezuela Project or PV [Henrique Fernando SALAS FEO]

Political pressure groups and leaders

Bolivarian and Socialist Workers' Union (a ruling-party-oriented organized labor union)

Confederacion Venezolana de Industriales or Coindustria (a conservative business group)

Consejos Comunales (pro-government local communal councils)

Federation of Chambers and Associations of Commerce and Production of Venezuela or FEDECAMARAS (a conservative business group)

Union of Oil Workers of Venezuela or FUTPV

Venezuelan Confederation of Workers or CTV (opposition-oriented labor organization)

other: various civil society groups and human rights organizations

International organization participation

Caricom (observer), CD, CDB, CELAC, FAO, G-15, G-24, G-77, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (national committees), ICCt (signatory), ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), LAES, LAIA, LAS (observer), Mercosur, MIGA, NAM, OAS, OPANAL, OPCW, OPEC, PCA, Petrocaribe, UN, UN Security Council (temporary), UNASUR, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, Union Latina, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO

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 historic province of Guyana

National symbol(s)

troupial (bird); national colors: yellow, blue, red

National anthem

name: "Gloria al bravo pueblo" (Glory to the Brave People)

lyrics/music: Vicente SALIAS/Juan Jose LANDAETA

note: adopted 1881; lyrics 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 almost all export earnings, and nearly half of the government’s revenue. The country ended 2015 with an estimated 10% contraction in its GDP, 160% inflation, widespread shortages of consumer goods, and declining central bank international reserves. The International Monetary Fund forecasts that the GDP will shrink another 6% in 2016 and inflation may reach 204%.

Falling oil prices since 2014 have aggravated Venezuela’s economic crisis. Insufficient access to dollars, price controls, and rigid labor regulations have led some US and multinational firms to reduce or shut down their Venezuelan operations. High costs for oil production and state oil company PDVSA’s poor cash flow have slowed investment in the petroleum sector, resulting in a decline in oil production.

Under President Nicolas MADURO, the Venezuelan government’s response to the economic crisis has been to increase state control over the economy and blame the private sector for the shortages. The Venezuelan government has maintained strict currency controls since 2003. Currently, three official currency exchange mechanisms are in place for the sale of dollars to private sector firms and individuals, with rates based on the government's import priorities. These currency controls present significant obstacles to trade with Venezuela because importers cannot obtain sufficient dollars to purchase goods needed to maintain their operations. MADURO has used decree powers to enact legislation to deepen the state’s role as the primary buyer and marketer of imports, further tighten currency controls, cap business profits, and extend price controls.

GDP (purchasing power parity) 39/230

$491.6 billion (2015 est.)

$546.2 billion (2014 est.)

$569 billion (2013 est.)

note: data are in 2015 US dollars

GDP (official exchange rate)

$131.9 billion (2015 est.)

GDP - real growth rate 220/225

-10% (2015 est.)

-4% (2014 est.)

1.3% (2013 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP) 99/230

$16,100 (2015 est.)

$17,900 (2014 est.)

$18,700 (2013 est.)

note: data are in 2015 US dollars

Gross national saving 103/179

17.4% of GDP (2015 est.)

21.2% of GDP (2014 est.)

22.4% of GDP (2013 est.)

GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: 67.9%

government consumption: 23.1%

investment in fixed capital: 7.1%

investment in inventories: 3.3%

exports of goods and services: 6%

imports of goods and services: -7.4%

(2015 est.)

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 3.9%

industry: 32.9%

services: 63.2% (2015 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 195/202

-8% (2015 est.)

Labor force 40/233

14.49 million (2015 est.)

Labor force - by occupation

agriculture: 7.3%

industry: 21.8%

services: 70.9% (4th quarter, 2011 est.)

Unemployment rate 94/207

8.1% (2015 est.)

7% (2014 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 68/144

39 (2011)

49.5 (1998)


revenues: $203.4 billion

expenditures: $348.3 billion (2015 est.)

Taxes and other revenues 1/219

154.3% of GDP (2015 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-) 220/220

-109.9% of GDP (2015 est.)

Public debt 78/176

51.2% of GDP (2015 est.)

52.4% of GDP (2014 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) 226/226

159.1% (2015 est.)

62.2% (2014 est.)

Central bank discount rate 1/156

29.5% (31 December 2010)

29.5% (31 December 2009)

Commercial bank prime lending rate 13/184

19.1% (31 December 2015 est.)

17.2% (31 December 2014 est.)

Stock of narrow money 13/192

$368.9 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

$314.1 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

Stock of broad money 28/193

$360 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

$196 billion (31 December 2013 est.)

Stock of domestic credit 29/191

$399 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

$337 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

Market value of publicly traded shares 61/121

$25.3 billion (31 December 2012 est.)

$5.143 billion (31 December 2011)

$3.991 billion (31 December 2011 est.)

Current account balance 166/197

-$3.968 billion (2015 est.)

$10.89 billion (2014 est.)

Exports 53/224

$47.53 billion (2015 est.)

$74.88 billion (2014 est.)

Exports - commodities

petroleum and petroleum products, bauxite and aluminum, minerals, chemicals, agricultural products

Exports - partners

US 34.6%, India 15.1%, China 12.9%, Cuba 5.3%, Singapore 4.8% (2014)

Imports 62/223

$33.36 billion (2015 est.)

$44.17 billion (2014 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 24.2%, China 12.1%, Brazil 9.9%, Colombia 4.3%, Argentina 4.1% (2014)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold 68/170

$15.41 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

$22.09 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

Debt - external 50/206

$109.5 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

$118.8 billion (31 December 2013 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - at home 58/120

$58.84 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

$58.44 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad 52/105

$29.17 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

$27.74 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

Exchange rates

bolivars (VEB) per US dollar -

6.28 (2015 est.)

6.28 (2014 est.)

6.28 (2013 est.)

4.29 (2012 est.)

4.29 (2011 est.)


Electricity - production 31/220

123 billion kWh (2012 est.)

Electricity - consumption 33/219

97.69 billion kWh (2012 est.)

Electricity - exports 59/218

705 million kWh (2012 est.)

Electricity - imports 74/219

478 million kWh (2013 est.)

Electricity - installed generating capacity 33/214

26.31 million kW (2012 est.)

Electricity - from fossil fuels 161/214

44.3% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from nuclear fuels 203/214

0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from hydroelectric plants 42/214

55.6% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from other renewable sources 121/212

0.1% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Crude oil - production 10/214

2.5 million bbl/day (2014 est.)

Crude oil - exports 10/214

1.358 million bbl/day (2012 est.)

Crude oil - imports 143/214

0 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Crude oil - proved reserves 1/215

298.4 billion bbl (1 January 2015 est.)

Refined petroleum products - production 22/214

1.036 million bbl/day (2012 est.)

Refined petroleum products - consumption 27/212

746,000 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Refined petroleum products - exports 15/214

463,500 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Refined petroleum products - imports 89/213

36,760 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Natural gas - production 29/216

21.88 billion cu m (2014 est.)

Natural gas - consumption 33/215

23.72 billion cu m (2014 est.)

Natural gas - exports 205/215

0 cu m (2014 est.)

Natural gas - imports 51/214

1.839 billion cu m (2014 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves 7/212

5.562 trillion cu m (1 January 2014 est.)

Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy 33/212

184.8 million Mt (2012 est.)


Telephones - fixed lines 23/219

total subscriptions: 7.81 million

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 27 (2014 est.)

Telephones - mobile cellular 40/217

total: 30.5 million

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 106 (2014 est.)

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-line 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)

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)

Radio broadcast stations

AM 46, FM 131, shortwave 3 (2008)

Television broadcast stations

66 (plus 45 repeaters) (1997)

Internet country code


Internet hosts 46/232

1.016 million (2012)

Internet users 37/217

total: 13.6 million

percent of population: 47.2% (2014 est.)


Airports 19/236

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)

Railways 98/136

total: 447 km

standard gauge: 447 km 1.435-m gauge (41.4 km electrified) (2014)

Roadways 48/223

total: 96,189 km (2014)

Waterways 20/107

7,100 km (Orinoco River (400 km) and Lake de Maracaibo navigable by oceangoing vessels) (2011)

Merchant marine 69/156

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 and Security

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) (2015)

Military service age and obligation

all citizens of military service age (18-60 years old) are obligated to register for military service, though mandatory recruitment is forbidden; the minimum conscript service obligation is 12 months (2015) (2012)

Military expenditures 98/132

1% of GDP (2015)

1.63% of GDP (2014)

1.4% of GDP (2013)

1.3% of GDP (2012)

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): 173,519 (Colombia) (2014)

stateless persons: 11,000 (2014)

Illicit drugs

small-scale illicit producer of opium and coca for the processing of opiates and coca derivatives; however, large quantities of cocaine, heroin, and marijuana transit the country from Colombia bound for US and Europe; significant narcotics-related money-laundering activity, especially along the border with Colombia and on Margarita Island; active eradication program primarily targeting opium; increasing signs of drug-related activities by Colombian insurgents on border