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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 since 1999, seeks to implement his "21st Century Socialism," which purports to alleviate social ills while at the same time attacking capitalist globalization and existing democratic institutions. Current concerns include: a weakening of democratic institutions, political polarization, a politicized military, drug-related violence along the Colombian border, overdependence on the petroleum industry with its price fluctuations, and irresponsible mining operations that are endangering the rain forest and indigenous peoples.


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Transportation

Airports World Ranking: 15
492 (2012)

Airports - with paved runways
Total 128
Over 3,047 m 6
2,438 to 3,047 m 9
1,524 to 2,437 m 35
914 to 1,523 m 61
Under 914 m 17 (2012)

Airports - with unpaved runways
Total 364
2,438 to 3,047 m 3
1,524 to 2,437 m 55
914 to 1,523 m 113
Under 914 m 193 (2012)

Heliports
3 (2012)

Pipelines
Extra heavy crude 980 km; gas 5,347 km; oil 6,694 km; refined products 1,620 km (2010)

Railways World Ranking: 98
Total 806 km
Standard gauge
806 km 1.435-m gauge (41 km electrified) (2008)

Roadways World Ranking: 45
Total 96,155 km
Paved 32,308 km
Unpaved 63,847 km (2002)

Waterways World Ranking: 21
7,100 km (the Orinoco River (400 km) and Lake de Maracaibo are navigable by oceangoing vessels) (2011)

Merchant marine World Ranking: 69
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
La Guaira, Maracaibo, Puerto Cabello, Punta Cardon
Oil terminals Jose terminal

Transportation - note
The International Maritime Bureau reports the territorial and offshore waters in the Caribbean Sea as a significant risk for piracy and armed robbery against ships; numerous vessels, including commercial shipping and pleasure craft, have been attacked and hijacked both at anchor and while underway; crews have been robbed and stores or cargoes stolen


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  Venezuela (Caracas):


  GPS points from Venezuela (Caracas)


Los Lambederos Estado Zulia

El Olivo Estado Guarico


Botijones Estado Bolivar

Agua Viva Falcon

La Morita Estado Portuguesa

Rio Guarico Estado Guarico




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