Venezuela Fast Facts – CNN


About Venezuela:
(from the CIA World Factbook)
Area: 912,050 sq km, about two times the size of California

Ethnic Groups: Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Arab, German, African and indigenous groups

Religion: Roman Catholic 96%, Protestant 2%, other 2%

GDP (purchasing power parity): $389.4 billion (2017 est.)

GDP per capita: $12,400 (2017 est.)

Unemployment: 26.4.5% (2017 est.)

Other Facts:
Venezuela is located on the northern coast of South America, sharing a border with Colombia, Brazil and Guyana.

The country’s formal name is the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.
Despite being one of the world’s top oil-producing countries, more than 30% of Venezuelans live below the poverty line as of 2015.

1520s – First settlement by Spanish explorers.

July 5, 1811 – Venezuela declares its independence from Spain, leading to more than ten years of war for independence.

1821 – The Spanish Army is defeated and Venezuela becomes part of the Republic of Gran Colombia.

1829 – Venezuela breaks away from Gran Colombia to become an independent republic.

1958 – After decades of political instability and military rule, a coup leads to democratic reforms that culminate with a presidential election. Rómulo Betancourt is elected president.

February 1992 – A coup led by Hugo Chavez is defeated. Chavez spends two years in prison before the charges against him are dropped.

December 1998 – Chavez is elected president.

1999 – Chavez introduces a new constitution that extends his term and strengthens the executive branch while reducing the influence of National Assembly. Voters approve of the changes via a referendum.

July 30, 2000 – Chavez is re-elected.

April 2002 – Chavez is briefly ousted during a coup. He returns to power after two days of violent clashes.

December 2, 2002 – A national strike begins to protest against Chavez. The strike lasts more than two months and affects oil prices worldwide.

February 2, 2003 – Opposition leaders launch a petition drive, collecting signatures endorsing several demands including the immediate removal of Chavez.

June 3, 2004 – The National Electoral Council announces that the opposition has collected enough valid signatures to call for a referendum against Chavez.

August 15, 2004 – Initial results in the recall referendum show about 59% of Venezuelans voted to keep Chavez in office. The next day, observers led by former US President Jimmy Carter announce that they found no fraud in the recall election.

December 3, 2006 – Chavez wins re-election.

February 15, 2009 – A constitutional referendum passes allowing Chavez to run for another term in 2012.

May 2012 – Chavez, battling cancer, appoints 10 people to a commission called the Council of State. The move prompts speculation about who will succeed him.
October 7, 2012 Chavez is re-elected.
March 5, 2013 – Chavez dies of cancer at the age of 58. Vice President Nicolás Maduro becomes the interim president.
September 30, 2013 – Maduro announces on state-run TV that he is expelling three US diplomats. He claims they were involved in acts to destabilize the country.
December 18, 2014 – The Venezuela Defense of Human Rights and Civil Society Act is signed into law by US President Barack Obama. The measure directs the United States to impose sanctions against Venezuelan officials who engage in human rights abuses.
February 20, 2015 – The mayor of Caracas is arrested and accused of being involved in a plot to overthrow the government. The opposition says the mayor’s arrest is an attempt to divert attention from the country’s economic woes.
March 9, 2015 – Obama issues an executive order meant to address the human rights crisis in Venezuela, with sanctions against seven individuals.
December 6, 2015 – Venezuela’s opposition party wins the majority of seats in elections to the National Assembly, a repudiation of Maduro. It is the first major shift in power in the legislative branch since Chavez took office in 1999.
March 4, 2016 – Obama renews sanctions against Venezuela, declaring that the situation hasn’t improved since his last executive order.
March 9, 2016 – In response to the sanctions, Maduro announces he’s recalling Maximilien Arvelaiz, Venezuela’s top diplomat in Washington.
October 2016 – The recall referendum to oust Maduro is halted amid allegations of voter fraud. Opposition lawmakers meet for a special session to discuss the possibility of impeaching Maduro. Pro-government protestors break into the assembly hall to disrupt the meeting.
April 7, 2017 – Capriles announces via tweet that the government has barred him from holding public office for 15 years.

April 17, 2017 – Maduro orders armed forces into the streets following weeks of deadly, anti-government protests.

February 8, 2018 – A prosecutor from the International Criminal Court says a preliminary investigation will examine allegations of excessive force and other abuses by the government during anti-regime protests dating back to 2017.

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