Venezuela - David Barber

Venezuela - David Barber

Venezuela Venezuela Northern South America Bordering Caribbean Sea and North Atlantic Between Columbia and Guyana ~ twice the size of California Population: 24,287,670 History

Original inhabitants: Carib, Arawak, and Chibchaspeaking In the late 1500s, the Spanish arrived looking for gold and other riches Venezuela became a land of plantations worked by slave labor from Africa Independence The creole population initiated the drive for freedom due to dissatisfaction with local politics Independence is celebrated on July 5th based on the

initial charge for freedom led by Simn Bolvar 1821 Simn Bolvar became leader of a Venezuela free of Spanish rule 1823 the last Spaniard were forced out after their defeat at Maracaibo May 6, 1830 Venezuela seceded from Gran Colombia Independence & Chaos Next 100 years caudillos and rule was held by various dictators 1958 first elected government 1999 new Constitution and newly elected government Since 1999: Natural disasters (floods and mud slides) Oil strikes

Government Federal Republic 22 States 1 Metropolitan District 11 Federally controlled islands 72 additional islands in the Caribbean (federal dependencies) Government Executive power at the state level Local government

Elected to four year terms Mayor Municipal Council Parishes Current Chief of State Hugo Chavez Initially elected in 1998 Re-elected to a six year term in July, 2000 Government

Chavez Administration Called for fundamental restructuring New Constitution Appointed National Constituent Assembly Guarantees freedom to create political parties Legislative power is a unicameral National Assembly Represented by Deputies from each electoral district Creole population guaranteed three Deputies Republican Moral Council job is to observe, prevent, investigate and penalize acts against the public ethic and administrative moral and oversee the legality of the use of public fund.

Provides citizen empowerment Includes a Peoples Defender, Public Prosecutor, and General Accountant Statistics Industries: petroleum, iron ore mining, construction materials, food processing, textiles, steel, aluminum, motor vehicle assembly Export commodities: petroleum, bauxite and aluminum, steel, chemicals, agricultural products, basic manufactures Import commodities: raw materials, machinery and equipment, transport equipment, construction materials Statistics

Life expectancy at birth in 1995 was 72.2 years (69.3 for men and 75.1 for women). Population growth: 1.52% (2002) The Venezuelan population is young: 12.6% are under 4 years of age 23.6% are between 5 and 14 years 55.5% are under 25 4.1% of the population is 65 or older. This group is growing faster than that of the general population. Environmental Initiatives

Antarctic Treaty Biodiversity Climate Change Desertification Endangered Species Hazardous Wastes Marine Life Conservation Nuclear Test Ban Ozone Layer Protection Ship Pollution Tropical Timber 83 Tropical Timber 94

Wetlands Environmental Issues Sewage pollution of Lago de Valencia Oil and urban pollution of Lago de Maracaibo Deforestation Soil degradation Urban and industrial pollution Particularly along the Caribbean coast Rainforest Ecosystem Threat from irresponsible mining operations

Environmental Issues Venezuela has a relatively good conservation record. 1976 the first Ministry of the Environment in Latin America was established. Since then a complex legal framework for environmental management has been established. Extensive protected area systems Nearly half of national territory is under some kind of protection. Oil Background

Oil exportation began in the early 1920s Oil income was not invested wisely, industry was mired in corruption and waste Venezuela is an OPEC member Eighth largest oil producer Oil export is ~ 1/3 of GDP 80% of export earnings come from oil 50% of the governments operating revenue stems from oil Oil Background Mid-nineties oil price decline led to:

Economy is slow to recover because of: Recession and eventual reorganization of government Weak non-oil sector Capital flight Safety net created to avoid recurrence: Macroeconomic Stabilization Investment Fund Deposits come from petroleum revenue Oil Strike

November 2001 December 2, 2002 Chavez enacted a new law that makes the government the majority partner in any new energy venture in Venezuela. Purpose remove President Hugo Chavez from power. Chavez in turn is looking to eliminate state contracts with Venezuelas private sector (composed of opposition members). Chavez has repeatedly appointed political allies to key positions. Affect on US

Has imported up to 15% of oil from Venezuela. Has branded Venezuelan oil supplies as unreliable. Venezuelan daily oil production has dropped to 440,000 compared to 3 million barrels. Trade and FDI US Viewpoint (1999 statistics): Venezuela is USs 24th largest export market. Trade deficit with Venezuela was $5.9 billion. Exports to Venezuela (merchandise) was $5.4 billion. US imported $11.3 billion Foreign Direct Investment (FDI):

$5.7 billion from U.S. in 1998. Investments were predominantly in manufacturing, petroleum, and wholesale sectors. Trade Alliances Latin American Integration Association (ALADI) Free trade agreement with Chile Part of the G3 (the Free Trade Agreement with Mexico) Agreement with the Caribbean Common Market (CARICOM) Currently negotiating: Free trade agreement with MERCOSUR

Investor Benefits Low tariffs and competitive tax rates. New legislation designed to draw in foreign investment. No capital repatriation limitation. No profit transfer limitation. No prior authorization requirement for investment. Currency Information Early 2002 exchange rate system changed from pegged to free-floating. Since then, the Planning and Development Department have pegged the Bolivar to the US Dollar.

Caused the Bolivar to depreciate. Pegged at Bs. 1600.00 1596.00 Also under investigation, a crawling peg system, which would modify the exchange rate weekly. Commercial History Venezuela has attracted the highest per capita U.S. investment in South America. Its markets have absorbed up to $1 billion in U.S. exports quarterly.

In the 80s, Venezuela was one of the hottest emerging markets. Early 90s, investor confidence plummeted because of two coup attempts on President Perez. Commercial History Continued Early 1994 a banking crisis led to capital flight, currency erosion, and worsened the fiscal crisis. Emergency currency and price controls were enacted. Recovery was dependent on: Revision of labor benefits. Elimination of subsidies.

Government withdrawal from industry. Eventually several hotels, banks, and some shares of the telephone company were sold. Mid-1995 Landmark decision opened oil sector to foreign investment. Eight international groups were selected to explore new oil fields. Expectation was that it would increase U.S. oil equipment imports by 15% annually. Commercial History Continued 1996 Government initiated a fiscal, monetary, and foreign exchange plan. It was intended to:

Lower inflation. Balance the budget. Restructure and strengthen financial system. Establish a new social security program. Provide resources to most vulnerable sectors. Reform legal institutions. In order to protect foreign investors, Venezuela is now a member of: Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) protects from political risk. World Banks Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agreement (MIGA) provides similar protection.

Financial Overview 2000 2001 External debt was $34.5 billion Economic growth of 3.2% Current account balance was $13.365 billion International reserves totaled $21.647 billion Inflation 13.2%

Economy contracted by 6.4% Inflation 12.3% 2002 Bonds rose by 17.7% until dropping after the strike was initiated. Expectation is that agencies will starting downgrading the countrys debt. Credit ratings on debt is at junk levels. Foreign debt stock is 20% of $100 billion GDP. International reserves $12.43 billion. Inflation 31% Education Originated in Catholic Church in the colonial period.

Reserved for the wealthy landowner class. Roots can be traced to France. Concept of education for the privileged has continued into the modern period. Education system at the university level has steered clear of technical and scientific fields. Primary and secondary levels have ignored the vocational needs of most of the population. Opened to general public after 1811 Free education became an integral part of the political landscape.

Education Continued In 1958 education began to expand both in quality and quantity: Primary education became compulsory Alternative methods of educating hard-to-reach groups (farming communities) were developed. Universities were opened Education geared primarily toward those seeking professional or academic careers. In 1969, the government attempted to address this issue by facilitating the entry of students of various backgrounds.

Education Continued Secondary schooling was not compulsory until 1980. Existence of a social split: Public schools are better funded than private. Private schools more prestigious because of the traditional curriculum and the historical association. Due to social advantages given by the association with a private school, some teachers choose to work in both. Since 1958, international organizations have promoted natural sciences. Development work in the U.S. has had a strong influence

on the social sciences. Education Continued Population growth has affected education. Literacy rate in Venezuela is one of the highest in Latin America (nearly 90%) among those fifteen and older. Number of universities between 1958 to 1984 tripled. Overall number of places of higher education grew tenfold (to more than 70). Government strongly influences this by giving away training materials to encourage dissemination of literacy by the literate.

Current educational system requires nine years of schooling. Six years of primary and three years of secondary. Education Continued Higher Education Can attend two years of senior high school. Can follow that with a variety of colleges, universities or technical schools. Labor Force Until the 80s, skilled workers were a premium.

Due to economic downturn, the large number of skilled workers are no longer needed. Technical education has become less important. Education Today Chavez administration has created the National Education Project (PEN). Intended to fix some of the things still considered wrong with the educational system: Failure of nearly 10% to complete primary school. Failure of nearly 20% to complete secondary school. Illiteracy still nearly 7% among males and 7.6% among females 15 and older.

Plan also railsagainst the evils of globalisation and privatisation and is led by former revolutionaries. Teachers groups and the church leaders claim it is a Cuban-style indoctrination of youth. Educational Data Annual census in all public and private educational institutions. Investigating ways to improve data collection in order to break data down into smaller geographical units. Evaluating causes of class repetition and causes of dropouts. Summary

All available information points at a country that could go either way. Oil resources give Venezuela both benefits and problems of an easy source of revenue. Actions have been taken to counteract the cyclical revenue streams. Alternatives to oil revenue carry with them their own burden. Difficult to see past the problems of leadership to determine where fate will carry the country next.

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