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Venezuela vs. Colombia

Introduction

VenezuelaColombia
BackgroundVenezuela 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, freedoms of expression and the press have been curtailed, 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: human rights abuses, rampant violent crime, high inflation, and widespread shortages of basic consumer goods, medicine, and medical supplies.
Colombia was one of the three countries that emerged after the dissolution of Gran Colombia in 1830 (the others are Ecuador and Venezuela). A decades-long conflict between government forces and antigovernment insurgent groups, principally the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) heavily funded by the drug trade, escalated during the 1990s. More than 31,000 former paramilitaries demobilized by the end of 2006 and the United Self Defense Forces of Colombia as a formal organization ceased to operate. In the wake of the paramilitary demobilization, organized criminal groups arose, whose members include some former paramilitaries. After four years of formal peace negotiations, the Colombian Government signed a revised final peace accord with the FARC in November 2016, which was subsequently ratified by the Colombian Congress. The accord calls for members of the FARC to demobilize, disarm, and reincorporate into society and politics, and it creates an alternative system for transitional justice that includes a “Special Jurisdiction for Peace” to address accountability for conflict-related crimes and established truth-telling mechanisms. The Colombian Government has stepped up efforts to reassert government control throughout the country, and now has a presence in every one of its administrative departments. Despite decades of internal conflict and drug related security challenges, Colombia maintains relatively strong democratic institutions characterized by peaceful, transparent elections and the protection of civil liberties.

Geography

VenezuelaColombia
LocationNorthern South America, bordering the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, between Colombia and Guyana
Northern South America, bordering the Caribbean Sea, between Panama and Venezuela, and bordering the North Pacific Ocean, between Ecuador and Panama
Geographic coordinates8 00 N, 66 00 W
4 00 N, 72 00 W
Map referencesSouth America
South America
Areatotal: 912,050 sq km
land: 882,050 sq km
water: 30,000 sq km
total: 1,138,910 sq km
land: 1,038,700 sq km
water: 100,210 sq km
note: includes Isla de Malpelo, Roncador Cay, and Serrana Bank
Area - comparativealmost six times the size of Georgia; slightly more than twice the size of California
slightly less than twice the size of Texas
Land boundariestotal: 5,267 km
border countries (3): Brazil 2,137 km, Colombia 2,341 km, Guyana 789 km
total: 6,672 km
border countries (5): Brazil 1,790 km, Ecuador 708 km, Panama 339 km, Peru 1,494 km, Venezuela 2,341 km
Coastline2,800 km
3,208 km (Caribbean Sea 1,760 km, North Pacific Ocean 1,448 km)
Maritime claimsterritorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 15 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation
territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation
Climatetropical; hot, humid; more moderate in highlands
tropical along coast and eastern plains; cooler in highlands
TerrainAndes Mountains and Maracaibo Lowlands in northwest; central plains (llanos); Guiana Highlands in southeast
flat coastal lowlands, central highlands, high Andes Mountains, eastern lowland plains (Llanos)
Elevation extremesmean elevation: 450 m
elevation extremes: lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m
highest point: Pico Bolivar 5,007 m
mean elevation: 593 m
elevation extremes: lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point: Pico Cristobal Colon 5,775 m
note: nearby Pico Simon Bolivar also has the same elevation
Natural resourcespetroleum, natural gas, iron ore, gold, bauxite, other minerals, hydropower, diamonds
petroleum, natural gas, coal, iron ore, nickel, gold, copper, emeralds, hydropower
Land useagricultural land: 24.5%
arable land 3.1%; permanent crops 0.8%; permanent pasture 20.6%
forest: 52.1%
other: 23.4% (2011 est.)
agricultural land: 37.5%
arable land 1.4%; permanent crops 1.6%; permanent pasture 34.5%
forest: 54.4%
other: 8.1% (2011 est.)
Irrigated land10,550 sq km (2012)
10,900 sq km (2012)
Natural hazardssubject to floods, rockslides, mudslides; periodic droughts
highlands subject to volcanic eruptions; occasional earthquakes; periodic droughts
volcanism: Galeras (elev. 4,276 m) is one of Colombia's most active volcanoes, having erupted in 2009 and 2010 causing major evacuations; it has been deemed a Decade Volcano by the International Association of Volcanology and Chemistry of the Earth's Interior, worthy of study due to its explosive history and close proximity to human populations; Nevado del Ruiz (elev. 5,321 m), 129 km (80 mi) west of Bogota, erupted in 1985 producing lahars (mudflows) that killed 23,000 people; the volcano last erupted in 1991; additionally, after 500 years of dormancy, Nevado del Huila reawakened in 2007 and has experienced frequent eruptions since then; other historically active volcanoes include Cumbal, Dona Juana, Nevado del Tolima, and Purace
Environment - current issuessewage 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
deforestation; soil and water quality damage from overuse of pesticides; air pollution, especially in Bogota, from vehicle emissions
Environment - international agreementsparty 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
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: Law of the Sea
Geography - noteon major sea and air routes linking North and South America; Angel Falls in the Guiana Highlands is the world's highest waterfall
only South American country with coastlines on both the North Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea
Population distributionmost of the population is concentrated in the northern and western highlands along an eastern spur at the northern end of the Andes, an area that includes the capital of Caracas
the majority of people live in the north and west where agricultural opportunities and natural resources are found; the vast grasslands of the llanos to the south and east, which make up approximately 60% of the country, are sparsely populated

Demographics

VenezuelaColombia
Population30,912,302 (July 2016 est.)
47,220,856 (July 2016 est.)
Age structure0-14 years: 27.68% (male 4,385,415/female 4,170,160)
15-24 years: 17.27% (male 2,709,359/female 2,629,097)
25-54 years: 40.4% (male 6,182,604/female 6,304,876)
55-64 years: 7.84% (male 1,162,400/female 1,260,451)
65 years and over: 6.82% (male 952,627/female 1,155,313) (2016 est.)
0-14 years: 24.57% (male 5,940,903/female 5,659,594)
15-24 years: 17.54% (male 4,216,437/female 4,066,079)
25-54 years: 41.82% (male 9,788,057/female 9,958,982)
55-64 years: 8.9% (male 1,973,215/female 2,230,609)
65 years and over: 7.17% (male 1,412,209/female 1,974,771) (2016 est.)
Median agetotal: 28 years
male: 27.3 years
female: 28.7 years (2016 est.)
total: 29.6 years
male: 28.7 years
female: 30.6 years (2016 est.)
Population growth rate1.28% (2016 est.)
1.02% (2016 est.)
Birth rate19.2 births/1,000 population (2016 est.)
16.3 births/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Death rate5.2 deaths/1,000 population (2016 est.)
5.4 deaths/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Net migration rate-1.2 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2016 est.)
-0.6 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Sex ratioat birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 0.98 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.92 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.79 male(s)/female
total population: 0.99 male(s)/female (2016 est.)
at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 0.98 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.88 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.72 male(s)/female
total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2016 est.)
Infant mortality ratetotal: 12.5 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 13.1 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 11.9 deaths/1,000 live births (2016 est.)
total: 14.1 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 17.1 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 10.9 deaths/1,000 live births (2016 est.)
Life expectancy at birthtotal population: 75.8 years
male: 72.7 years
female: 78.9 years (2016 est.)
total population: 75.7 years
male: 72.6 years
female: 79 years (2016 est.)
Total fertility rate2.35 children born/woman (2016 est.)
2.02 children born/woman (2016 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate0.55% (2015 est.)
0.48% (2015 est.)
Nationalitynoun: Venezuelan(s)
adjective: Venezuelan
noun: Colombian(s)
adjective: Colombian
Ethnic groupsSpanish, Italian, Portuguese, Arab, German, African, indigenous people
mestizo and white 84.2%, Afro-Colombian (includes mulatto, Raizal, and Palenquero) 10.4%, Amerindian 3.4%, Romani <.01, unspecified 2.1% (2005 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS107,300 (2015 est.)
146,000 (2015 est.)
Religionsnominally Roman Catholic 96%, Protestant 2%, other 2%
Catholic 79%, Protestant 14% (includes Pentecostal 6%, mainline Protestant 2%, other 6%), other 2%, unspecified 5% (2014 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths3,300 (2015 est.)
2,300 (2015 est.)
LanguagesSpanish (official), numerous indigenous dialects
Spanish (official)
Literacydefinition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 96.3%
male: 96.4%
female: 96.2% (2015 est.)
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 94.7%
male: 94.6%
female: 94.8% (2015 est.)
Major infectious diseasesdegree of risk: high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea and hepatitis A
vectorborne diseases: dengue fever and malaria
note: active local transmission of Zika virus by Aedes species mosquitoes has been identified in this country (as of August 2016); it poses an important risk (a large number of cases possible) among US citizens if bitten by an infective mosquito; other less common ways to get Zika are through sex, via blood transfusion, or during pregnancy, in which the pregnant woman passes Zika virus to her fetus (2016)
degree of risk: high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea
vectorborne diseases: dengue fever, malaria, and yellow fever
note: active local transmission of Zika virus by Aedes species mosquitoes has been identified in this country (as of August 2016); it poses an important risk (a large number of cases possible) among US citizens if bitten by an infective mosquito; other less common ways to get Zika are through sex, via blood transfusion, or during pregnancy, in which the pregnant woman passes Zika virus to her fetus (2016)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)total: 14 years
male: NA
female: NA (2009)
total: 14 years
male: 14 years
female: 15 years (2015)
Education expenditures6.9% of GDP (2009)
4.5% of GDP (2015)
Urbanizationurban population: 89% of total population (2015)
rate of urbanization: 1.54% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
urban population: 76.4% of total population (2015)
rate of urbanization: 1.66% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
Drinking water sourceimproved:
urban: 95% of population
rural: 77.9% of population
total: 93.1% of population
unimproved:
urban: 5% of population
rural: 22.1% of population
total: 6.9% of population (2015 est.)
improved:
urban: 96.8% of population
rural: 73.8% of population
total: 91.4% of population
unimproved:
urban: 3.2% of population
rural: 26.2% of population
total: 8.6% of population (2015 est.)
Sanitation facility accessimproved:
urban: 97.5% of population
rural: 69.9% of population
total: 94.4% of population
unimproved:
urban: 2.5% of population
rural: 30.1% of population
total: 5.6% of population (2015 est.)
improved:
urban: 85.2% of population
rural: 67.9% of population
total: 81.1% of population
unimproved:
urban: 14.8% of population
rural: 32.1% of population
total: 18.9% of population (2015 est.)
Major cities - populationCARACAS (capital) 2.916 million; Maracaibo 2.196 million; Valencia 1.734 million; Maracay 1.166 million; Barquisimeto 1.039 million (2015)
BOGOTA (capital) 9.765 million; Medellin 3.911 million; Cali 2.646 million; Barranquilla 1.991 million; Bucaramanga 1.215 million; Cartagena 1.092 million (2015)
Maternal mortality rate95 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)
64 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)
Children under the age of 5 years underweight2.9% (2009)
3.4% (2010)
Health expenditures5.3% of GDP (2014)
7.2% of GDP (2014)
Hospital bed density0.9 beds/1,000 population (2011)
1.5 beds/1,000 population (2012)
Obesity - adult prevalence rate24.3% (2014)
20.7% (2014)
Demographic profile"Social investment in Venezuela during the CHAVEZ administration reduced poverty from nearly 50% in 1999 to about 27% in 2011, increased school enrollment, substantially decreased infant and child mortality, and improved access to potable water and sanitation through social investment. ""Missions"" dedicated to education, nutrition, healthcare, and sanitation were funded through petroleum revenues. The sustainability of this progress remains questionable, however, as the continuation of these social programs depends on the prosperity of Venezuela's oil industry. In the long-term, education and health care spending may increase economic growth and reduce income inequality, but rising costs and the staffing of new health care jobs with foreigners are slowing development.
While CHAVEZ was in power, more than one million predominantly middle- and upper-class Venezuelans are estimated to have emigrated. The brain drain is attributed to a repressive political system, lack of economic opportunities, steep inflation, a high crime rate, and corruption. Thousands of oil engineers emigrated to Canada, Colombia, and the United States following CHAVEZ's firing of over 20,000 employees of the state-owned petroleum company during a 2002-03 oil strike. Additionally, thousands of Venezuelans of European descent have taken up residence in their ancestral homelands. Nevertheless, Venezuela has attracted hundreds of thousands of immigrants from South America and southern Europe because of its lenient migration policy and the availability of education and health care. Venezuela also has been a fairly accommodating host to more than 200,000 Colombian refugees. However, since 2014, falling oil prices have driven a major economic crisis that has pushed Venezuelans from all walks of life to migrate or to seek asylum abroad to escape severe shortages of food, water, and medicine; soaring inflation; unemployment; and violence. Tens of thousands of Venezuelans have migrated, often illegally, to Colombia, Brazil, Mexico, Panama, Chile, Guyana, the Dominican Republic, or taken perilous journeys by raft to Aruba and Curacao. Asylum applications increased significantly in the US and Brazil in 2016 and 2017. Although several receiving countries are making efforts to increase immigration restrictions and to deport illegal Venezuelan migrants, Venezuelans continue to migrate to avoid economic collapse at home.
"
Colombia is in the midst of a demographic transition resulting from steady declines in its fertility, mortality, and population growth rates. The birth rate has fallen from more than 6 children per woman in the 1960s to just above replacement level today as a result of increased literacy, family planning services, and urbanization. However, income inequality is among the worst in the world, and more than a third of the population lives below the poverty line.
Colombia experiences significant legal and illegal economic emigration and refugee flows. Large-scale labor emigration dates to the 1960s; Venezuela and the United States continue to be the main host countries. Colombia is the largest source of Latin American refugees in Latin America, nearly 400,000 of whom live primarily in Venezuela and Ecuador. Forced displacement remains prevalent because of violence among guerrillas, paramilitary groups, and Colombian security forces. Afro-Colombian and indigenous populations are disproportionately affected. As of February 2017, an estimated 7.4 million persons have been internally displaced since 1985, the highest amount in the world. These estimates may undercount actual numbers because not all internally displaced persons are registered. Historically, Colombia also has one of the world's highest levels of forced disappearances. About 30,000 cases have been recorded over the last four decades - although the number is likely to be much higher - including human rights activists, trade unionists, Afro-Colombians, indigenous people, and farmers in rural conflict zones.
Forced displacement continues to be prevalent because of violence among guerrillas, paramilitary groups, and Colombian security forces. Afro-Colombian and indigenous populations are disproportionately affected. Even with the Colombian Government’s December 2016 peace agreement with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), the risk of displacement remains as other rebel groups fill the void left by the FARC. As of February 2017, an estimated 7.4 million persons have been internally displaced since 1985, the highest total in the world. These estimates may undercount actual numbers because many internally displaced persons are not registered. Historically, Colombia also has one of the world’s highest levels of forced disappearances. About 30,000 cases have been recorded over the last four decades—although the number is likely to be much higher—including human rights activists, trade unionists, Afro-Colombians, indigenous people, and farmers in rural conflict zones.
Because of political violence and economic problems, Colombia received limited numbers of immigrants during the 19th and 20th centuries, mostly from the Middle East, Europe, and Japan. More recently, growth in the oil, mining, and manufacturing sectors has attracted increased labor migration; the primary source countries are Venezuela, the US, Mexico, and Argentina. Colombia has also become a transit area for illegal migrants from Africa, Asia, and the Caribbean who are en route to the US or Canada.
Dependency ratiostotal dependency ratio: 52.4
youth dependency ratio: 42.8
elderly dependency ratio: 9.5
potential support ratio: 10.5 (2015 est.)
total dependency ratio: 45.6
youth dependency ratio: 35.4
elderly dependency ratio: 10.2
potential support ratio: 9.8 (2015 est.)

Government

VenezuelaColombia
Country name"conventional long form: Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela
conventional short form: Venezuela
local long form: Republica Bolivariana de Venezuela
local short form: Venezuela
etymology: native stilt-houses built on Lake Maracaibo reminded early explorers Alonso de OJEDA and Amerigo VESPUCCI in 1499 of buildings in Venice and so they named the region ""Venezuola,"" which in Italian means ""Little Venice""
"
conventional long form: Republic of Colombia
conventional short form: Colombia
local long form: Republica de Colombia
local short form: Colombia
etymology: the country is named after explorer Christopher COLUMBUS
Government typefederal presidential republic
presidential republic
Capitalname: Caracas
geographic coordinates: 10 29 N, 66 52 W
time difference: UTC-4 (1 hour ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
name: Bogota
geographic coordinates: 4 36 N, 74 05 W
time difference: UTC-5 (same time as Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions23 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
32 departments (departamentos, singular - departamento) and 1 capital district* (distrito capital); Amazonas, Antioquia, Arauca, Atlantico, Bogota*, Bolivar, Boyaca, Caldas, Caqueta, Casanare, Cauca, Cesar, Choco, Cordoba, Cundinamarca, Guainia, Guaviare, Huila, La Guajira, Magdalena, Meta, Narino, Norte de Santander, Putumayo, Quindio, Risaralda, Archipielago de San Andres, Providencia y Santa Catalina (colloquially San Andres y Providencia), Santander, Sucre, Tolima, Valle del Cauca, Vaupes, Vichada
Independence5 July 1811 (from Spain)
20 July 1810 (from Spain)
National holidayIndependence Day, 5 July (1811)
Independence Day, 20 July (1810)
Constitutionmany previous; latest adopted 15 December 1999, effective 30 December 1999; amended 2009 (2016)
several previous; latest promulgated 5 July 1991; amended many times, last in 2015 (2016)
Legal systemcivil law system based on the Spanish civil code
civil law system influenced by the Spanish and French civil codes
Suffrage18 years of age; universal
18 years of age; universal
Executive branchchief of state: President Nicolas MADURO Moros (since 19 April 2013); Executive Vice President Tareck EL AISSAMI (since 4 January 2017); 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 Tareck EL AISSAMI (since 4 January 2017)
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%
chief of state: President Juan Manuel SANTOS Calderon (since 7 August 2010); Vice President Ret. Gen. Oscar Adolfo NARANJO Trujillo (since 30 March 2017); note - Vice President German VARGAS Lleras' resignation on 15 March 2017 became effective on 21 March 2017, the president is both chief of state and head of government
head of government: President Juan Manuel SANTOS Calderon (since 7 August 2010); Vice President Ret. Gen. Oscar Adolfo NARANJO Trujillo (since 30 March 2017)
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president
elections/appointments: president directly elected by absolute majority vote in 2 rounds if needed for a 4-year term; election last held on 25 May 2014 with a runoff held on 15 June 2014 (next to be held on 27 May 2018); note - recent political reform eliminated presidential reelection; beginning in 2018, presidents can only serve one 4-year term
election results: Juan Manuel SANTOS Calderon reelected president in runoff; percent of vote - Juan Manuel SANTOS Calderon (U Party) 51.0%, Oscar Ivan ZULUAGA (CD) 45.0%, other 4.0%
Legislative branchdescription: 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
description: bicameral Congress or Congreso consists of the Senate or Senado (102 seats; 100 members elected nationally - not by district or state - and two elected on a special ballot for indigenous communities to serve 4-year terms) and the House of Representatives or Camara de Representantes (166 seats; members elected in multi-seat constituencies by proportional representation vote to serve 4-year terms)
elections: Senate - last held on 9 March 2014 (next to be held in March 2018); Chamber of Representatives - last held on 9 March 2014 (next to be held in March 2018)
election results: Senate - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - U Party 21, CD 20, PC 18, PL 17, CR 9, PDA 5, Green Party 5, other 7; House of Representatives - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - PL 39, U Party 37, PC 27, CD 19, CR 16, Green Party 6, PDA 3, other 19
Judicial branchhighest 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
highest court(s): Supreme Court of Justice or Corte Suprema de Justicia (consists of the Civil-Agrarian and Labor Chambers each with 7 judges, and the Penal Chamber with 9 judges); Constitutional Court (consists of 9 magistrates); Council of State (consists of 31 members); Superior Judiciary Council (consists of 13 magistrates)
judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court judges appointed by the Supreme Court members from candidates submitted by the Superior Judiciary Council; judges elected for individual 8-year terms; Constitutional Court magistrates - nominated by the president, by the Supreme Court, and elected by the Senate; judges elected for individual 8-year terms; Council of State members appointed by the State Council plenary from lists nominated by the Superior Judiciary Council
subordinate courts: Superior Tribunals (appellate courts for each of the judicial districts); regional courts; civil municipal courts; Superior Military Tribunal; first instance administrative courts
Political parties and leadersA New Time or UNT [Manuel ROSALES]
Brave People's Alliance or ABP [Richard BLANCO]
Christian Democrats or COPEI [Roberto ENRIQUEZ]
Coalition of opposition parties -- The Democratic Unity Table or MUD [Jose Luis CARTAYA]
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]
Alternative Democratic Pole or PDA [Clara LOPEZ]
Conservative Party or PC [David BARGUIL]
Democratic Center Party or CD [Alvaro URIBE Velez, Oscar Ivan ZULUAGA, Carlos HOLMES TRUJILLO, Ivan DUQUE]
Green Alliance [Jorge LONDONO, Antonio SANGUINO, Luis AVELLANEDA, Camilo ROMERO]
Liberal Party or PL [Horacio SERPA]
Citizens Option (Opcion Ciudadana) or OC (formerly known as the National Integration Party or PIN) [Angel ALIRIO Moreno]
Radical Change or CR [Carlos Fernando GALAN]
Social National Unity Party or U Party [Roy BARRERAS, Jose David NAME]
note: Colombia has eight major political parties, and numerous smaller movements
Political pressure groups and leadersBolivarian 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
Central Union of Workers or CUT
Colombian Confederation of Workers or CTC
General Confederation of Workers or CGT
National Liberation Army or ELN
International organization participationCaricom (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), 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
BCIE, BIS, CAN, Caricom (observer), CD, CDB, CELAC, EITI (candidate country), FAO, G-3, G-24, G-77, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (national committees), ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), LAES, LAIA, Mercosur (associate), MIGA, NAM, OAS, OPANAL, OPCW, Pacific Alliance, PCA, UN, UNASUR, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, Union Latina, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
Diplomatic representation in the USchief of mission: Ambassador (vacant) (since July 2014); Charge d'Affaires Carlos Julio RON Mart?nez (since February 2017)
chancery: 1099 30th Street NW, Washington, DC 20007
telephone: [1] (202) 342-2214
FAX: [1] (202) 342-6820
consulate(s) general: Boston, Chicago, Houston, New Orleans, New York, San Francisco, San Juan (Puerto Rico)
chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant)
chancery: 2118 Leroy Place NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 387-8338
FAX: [1] (202) 232-8643
consulate(s) general: Atlanta, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Newark (NJ), Orlando, San Juan (Puerto Rico)
consulate(s): Boston, Chicago, San Francisco
Diplomatic representation from the USchief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d'Affaires Lee MCCLENNY (July 2014)
embassy: Calle F con Calle Suapure, Urbanizacion Colinas de Valle Arriba, Caracas 1080
mailing address: P. O. Box 62291, Caracas 1060-A; APO AA 34037
telephone: [58] (212) 975-6411, 907-8400 (after hours)
FAX: [58] (212) 907-8199
chief of mission: Ambassador Kevin WHITAKER (since 11 June 2014)
embassy: Calle 24 Bis No. 48-50, Bogota, D.C.
mailing address: Carrera 45 No. 24B-27, Bogota, D.C.
telephone: [57] (1) 275-2000
FAX: [57] (1) 275-4600
Flag descriptionthree 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 Guayana
three horizontal bands of yellow (top, double-width), blue, and red; the flag retains the three main colors of the banner of Gran Colombia, the short-lived South American republic that broke up in 1830; various interpretations of the colors exist and include: yellow for the gold in Colombia's land, blue for the seas on its shores, and red for the blood spilled in attaining freedom; alternatively, the colors have been described as representing more elemental concepts such as sovereignty and justice (yellow), loyalty and vigilance (blue), and valor and generosity (red); or simply the principles of liberty, equality, and fraternity
note: similar to the flag of Ecuador, which is longer and bears the Ecuadorian coat of arms superimposed in the center
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
"
"name: ""Himno Nacional de la Republica de Colombia"" (National Anthem of the Republic of Colombia)
lyrics/music: Rafael NUNEZ/Oreste SINDICI
note: adopted 1920; the anthem was created from an inspirational poem written by President Rafael NUNEZ
"
International law organization participationhas not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCT jurisdiction
has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
National symbol(s)troupial (bird); national colors: yellow, blue, red
Andean condor; national colors: yellow, blue, red
Citizenshipcitizenship by birth: yes
citizenship by descent: yes
dual citizenship recognized: no
residency requirement for naturalization: 5 years
citizenship by birth: no
citizenship by descent only: least one parent must be a citizen or permanent resident of Colombia
dual citizenship recognized: yes
residency requirement for naturalization: 5 years

Economy

VenezuelaColombia
Economy - overviewVenezuela remains highly dependent on oil revenues, which account for almost all export earnings and nearly half of the government’s revenue. In 2016, GDP contracted 10%, inflation hit 720%, people faced widespread shortages of consumer goods, and central bank international reserves dwindled. On the other hand, Venezuela managed to pay down its external debt and narrow its current account deficit. Domestic production and industry continues to severely underperform and the Venezuelan government continues to rely on imports to meet its basic food and consumer goods needs.

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. Market uncertainty 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. MADURO has ceded increasing authority for the production and distribution of scarce goods to the military and to local socialist party member committees. The Venezuelan Government has maintained strict currency controls since 2003. On 17 February 2016, the Venezuelan Government announced a change from three official currency exchange mechanisms to only two official rates for the sale of dollars to private-sector firms and individuals, with rates based on the government's import priorities. The official exchange rate used for food and medicine imports was devalued to 10 bolivars per dollar from 6.3 bolivars per dollar. The second rate moved to a managed float. These currency controls present significant obstacles to trade with Venezuela because importers cannot obtain sufficient dollars to purchase goods needed to maintain their operations. Meting out access to the multiple exchange rates has created opportunities for arbitrage and corruption. MADURO has used decree powers to enact legislation to deepen the state’s role as the primary buyer and distributor of imports, further tighten currency controls, cap business profits, and extend price controls.
Colombia’s economy benefits from free trade and sound fiscal policies but it has slowed in 2016 because of falling global oil prices, a strong dollar, and moderate inflation. Colombia heavily depends on energy and mining exports, making it vulnerable to a drop in commodity prices. Colombia is the world's fourth largest coal exporter, the world’s second largest coffee and cut flowers exporter, and Latin America’s fourth largest oil producer. Economic development is hampered by inadequate infrastructure, poverty, narcotrafficking, and an uncertain security situation.

Although real GDP growth averaged 4.7% for the past decade, growth fell to 2.0% in 2016. The El Ni?o weather pattern in early 2016 and a 40 day truckers strike caused food and energy prices to rise, with inflation spiking to a high of nearly 9% in July 2016. Declining oil prices have reduced government revenues. Colombia received about $1 billion in oil revenue in 2016, compared with $6 billion in 2014; oil accounts for 20% of government revenues. President Juan Manuel SANTOS signed into law a tax reform bill in December 2016 aimed at offsetting lost revenue from the drop in oil prices by decreasing corporate taxes to incentivize investment and by increasing the value added tax. The enactment of the tax reform bill was key to maintaining Colombia’s BBB investment-grade credit rating. Foreign investment has been hampered by Colombia’s struggle to address its fiscal problems. As of September 2016, FDI in Colombia had risen to $10.2 billion, up from $9.3 billion over the same period in 2015.

Colombia has signed or is negotiating Free Trade Agreements (FTA) with more than a dozen countries; the US-Colombia FTA went into force in May 2012. The US and Colombia have benefitted from the FTA, but Colombia’s ability to take full advantage of its enhanced access to American markets continues to be constrained by lack of export diversification. Nontariff measures remain a point of contention for bilateral trade relations. The Colombian government acted in 2016 to address several bilateral trade irritants with the US, including truck scrappage, distilled spirits, pharmaceuticals, ethanol imports, and labor rights. US and industry stakeholders are still evaluating the implementation of recent reforms. Colombia is a founding member of the Pacific Alliance - a regional trade block formed in 2012 by Chile, Colombia, Mexico, and Peru to promote regional trade and economic integration. In 2013, Colombia began its accession process to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
GDP (purchasing power parity)$468.6 billion (2016 est.)
$520.7 billion (2015 est.)
$555.2 billion (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars
$688 billion (2016 est.)
$674.5 billion (2015 est.)
$654.2 billion (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars
GDP - real growth rate-10% (2016 est.)
-6.2% (2015 est.)
-3.9% (2014 est.)
2% (2016 est.)
3.1% (2015 est.)
4.4% (2014 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP)$15,100 (2016 est.)
$17,000 (2015 est.)
$18,400 (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars
$14,100 (2016 est.)
$13,800 (2015 est.)
$13,400 (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars
GDP - composition by sectoragriculture: 4%
industry: 36.1%
services: 59.9% (2016 est.)
agriculture: 6.8%
industry: 34%
services: 59.2% (2015 est.)
Population below poverty line19.7% (2015 est.)
27.8% (2015 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage sharelowest 10%: 1.7%
highest 10%: 32.7% (2006)
lowest 10%: 1.1%
highest 10%: 42.2% (2014 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices)720% (2016 est.)
121.7% (2015 est.)
5.8% (2016 est.)
6.8% (2015 est.)
Labor force14.12 million (April 2016 est.)
24.43 million (2016 est.)
Labor force - by occupationagriculture: 7.3%
industry: 21.8%
services: 70.9% (4th quarter, 2011)
agriculture: 17%
industry: 21%
services: 62% (2011 est.)
Unemployment rate10.5% (2016 est.)
6.8% (2015 est.)
9.2% (2016 est.)
8.9% (2015 est.)
Distribution of family income - Gini index39 (2011)
49.5 (1998)
53.5 (2014)
56.9 (1996)
Budgetrevenues: $95.62 billion
expenditures: $228.8 billion (2016 est.)
revenues: $78.1 billion
expenditures: $88 billion (2016 est.)
Industriesagricultural products, livestock, raw materials, machinery and equipment, transport equipment, construction materials, medical equipment, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, iron and steel products, crude oil and petroleum products
textiles, food processing, oil, clothing and footwear, beverages, chemicals, cement; gold, coal, emeralds
Industrial production growth rate-8% (2016 est.)
1.9% (2016 est.)
Agriculture - productscorn, sorghum, sugarcane, rice, bananas, vegetables, coffee; beef, pork, milk, eggs; fish
coffee, cut flowers, bananas, rice, tobacco, corn, sugarcane, cocoa beans, oilseed, vegetables; shrimp; forest products
Exports$28.07 billion (2016 est.)
$38.45 billion (2015 est.)
$32.7 billion (2016 est.)
$35.7 billion (2015 est.)
Exports - commoditiespetroleum and petroleum products, bauxite and aluminum, minerals, chemicals, agricultural products
petroleum, coal, emeralds, coffee, nickel, cut flowers, bananas, apparel
Exports - partnersUS 24.5%, China 14.1%, Colombia 10.8%, Netherlands 9.3%, Brazil 6.8%, Cuba 4.2% (2015)
US 27.5%, Panama 7.2%, China 5.2%, Spain 4.4%, Ecuador 4% (2015)
Imports$27.13 billion (2016 est.)
$36.46 billion (2015 est.)
$44.89 billion (2016 est.)
$54.06 billion (2015 est.)
Imports - commoditiesagricultural products, livestock, raw materials, machinery and equipment, transport equipment, construction materials, medical equipment, petroleum products, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, iron and steel products
industrial equipment, transportation equipment, consumer goods, chemicals, paper products, fuels, electricity
Imports - partnersUS 24%, China 18.3%, Brazil 8.9%, Colombia 5.1%, Mexico 4.4%, Argentina 4% (2015)
US 28.8%, China 18.6%, Mexico 7.1%, Germany 4.2% (2015)
Debt - external$91.99 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$101.9 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$109.6 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$110.5 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Exchange ratesbolivars (VEB) per US dollar -
56.57 (2016 est.)
13.72 (2015 est.)
13.72 (2014 est.)
6.284 (2013 est.)
4.29 (2012 est.)
Colombian pesos (COP) per US dollar -
3,051.1 (2016 est.)
2,741.8 (2015 est.)
2,001 (2014 est.)
2,001.1 (2013 est.)
1,798 (2012 est.)
Fiscal yearcalendar year
calendar year
Public debt36.7% of GDP (2016 est.)
49.9% of GDP (2015 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
44.6% of GDP (2016 est.)
41.3% of GDP (2015 est.)
note: data cover general government debt, and includes debt instruments issued (or owned) by government entities other than the treasury; the data include treasury debt held by foreign entities; the data include debt issued by subnational entities
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold$10.43 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$16.37 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$46.7 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$46.7 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Current Account Balance-$6.942 billion (2016 est.)
-$20.36 billion (2015 est.)
-$12.54 billion (2016 est.)
-$18.78 billion (2015 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate)$333.7 billion (2016 est.)
$274.1 billion (2016 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home$33.78 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$32.18 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$161.7 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$163.2 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad$30.79 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$30.04 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$50.3 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$47.3 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares$25.3 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
$5.143 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
$3.991 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
$85.96 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$146.7 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
$202.7 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
Central bank discount rate29.5% (2015)

7.5% (31 December 2016)
6.5% (31 December 2014)
Commercial bank prime lending rate22.5% (31 December 2016 est.)
19.4% (31 December 2015 est.)
14.5% (31 December 2016 est.)
11.45% (31 December 2015 est.)
Stock of domestic credit$260.8 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$331.3 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$140.3 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$140.3 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Stock of narrow money$216.1 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$273.8 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$38.29 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$34.43 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Stock of broad money$360 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
$196 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
$138.2 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$123.7 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
Taxes and other revenues28.7% of GDP (2016 est.)
28.5% of GDP (2016 est.)
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)-39.9% of GDP (2016 est.)
-3.6% of GDP (2016 est.)
Unemployment, youth ages 15-24total: 14.7%
male: NA
female: NA (2014 est.)
total: 18.7%
male: 14.6%
female: 24.3% (2014 est.)
GDP - composition, by end usehousehold consumption: 71.1%
government consumption: 18.8%
investment in fixed capital: 16.7%
investment in inventories: 1.4%
exports of goods and services: 5.6%
imports of goods and services: -13.6% (2016 est.)
household consumption: 63.3%
government consumption: 18.8%
investment in fixed capital: 26.3%
investment in inventories: 0.9%
exports of goods and services: 13.5%
imports of goods and services: -22.8% (2016 est.)
Gross national saving24.2% of GDP (2016 est.)
40% of GDP (2015 est.)
9.1% of GDP (2014 est.)
21.8% of GDP (2016 est.)
21.3% of GDP (2015 est.)
21.1% of GDP (2014 est.)

Energy

VenezuelaColombia
Electricity - production124 billion kWh (2014 est.)
68 billion kWh (2014 est.)
Electricity - consumption78 billion kWh (2014 est.)
60 billion kWh (2014 est.)
Electricity - exports705 million kWh (2012 est.)
800 million kWh (2014 est.)
Electricity - imports700 million kWh (2013 est.)
47 million kWh (2014 est.)
Oil - production2.5 million bbl/day (2015 est.)
1.019 million bbl/day (2015 est.)
Oil - imports0 bbl/day (2013 est.)
0 bbl/day (2016 est.)
Oil - exports1.548 million bbl/day (2013 est.)
859,000 bbl/day (2016 est.)
Oil - proved reserves300 billion bbl (1 January 2016 est.)
2.3 billion bbl (1 January 2016 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves5.617 trillion cu m (1 January 2016 es)
134.7 billion cu m (1 January 2016 es)
Natural gas - production21.88 billion cu m (2014 est.)
11.86 billion cu m (2015 est.)
Natural gas - consumption23.72 billion cu m (2014 est.)
10.9 billion cu m (1 June 2015 est.)
Natural gas - exports0 cu m (2014 est.)
1.102 billion cu m (2015 est.)
Natural gas - imports1.839 billion cu m (2014 est.)
0 cu m (2013 est.)
Electricity - installed generating capacity31 million kW (2014 est.)
16 million kW (2014 est.)
Electricity - from fossil fuels44.3% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
28.4% of total installed capacity (2013 est.)
Electricity - from hydroelectric plants55.6% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
68.5% of total installed capacity (2013 est.)
Electricity - from nuclear fuels0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
0% of total installed capacity (2013 est.)
Electricity - from other renewable sources0.1% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
3.1% of total installed capacity (2013 est.)
Refined petroleum products - production999,400 bbl/day (2013 est.)
323,700 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Refined petroleum products - consumption776,000 bbl/day (2014 est.)
299,000 bbl/day (2014 est.)
Refined petroleum products - exports390,900 bbl/day (2013 est.)
97,820 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Refined petroleum products - imports41,530 bbl/day (2013 est.)
76,180 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy188 million Mt (2013 est.)
74 million Mt (2013 est.)
Electricity accesspopulation without electricity: 100,000
electrification - total population: 99.7%
electrification - urban areas: 99.8%
electrification - rural areas: 98.6% (2013)
population without electricity: 1,200,000
electrification - total population: 97%
electrification - urban areas: 100%
electrification - rural areas: 88% (2013)

Telecommunications

VenezuelaColombia
Telephones - main lines in usetotal subscriptions: 7,780,096
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 27 (July 2015 est.)
total subscriptions: 7,109,254
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 15 (July 2015 est.)
Telephones - mobile cellulartotal: 29.094 million
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 99 (July 2015 est.)
total: 57.327 million
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 123 (July 2015 est.)
Telephone systemgeneral 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 about 125 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)
general assessment: modern system in many respects with a nationwide microwave radio relay system, a domestic satellite system with 41 earth stations, and a fiber-optic network linking 50 cities; telecommunications sector liberalized during the 1990s; multiple providers of both fixed-line and mobile-cellular services
domestic: fixed-line connections stand at about 15 per 100 persons; mobile cellular telephone subscribership is about 120 per 100 persons; competition among cellular service providers is resulting in falling local and international calling rates and contributing to the steep decline in the market share of fixed-line services
international: country code - 57; multiple submarine cable systems provide links to the US, parts of the Caribbean, and Central and South America; satellite earth stations - 10 (6 Intelsat, 1 Inmarsat, 3 fully digitalized international switching centers) (2011)
Internet country code.ve
.co
Internet userstotal: 18.113 million
percent of population: 61.9% (July 2015 est.)
total: 26.128 million
percent of population: 55.9% (July 2015 est.)
Broadcast mediagovernment 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)
combination of state-owned and privately owned broadcast media provide service; more than 500 radio stations and many national, regional, and local TV stations (2007)

Transportation

VenezuelaColombia
Railwaystotal: 447 km
standard gauge: 447 km 1.435-m gauge (41.4 km electrified) (2014)
total: 2,141 km
standard gauge: 150 km 1.435-m gauge
narrow gauge: 1,991 km 0.914-m gauge (2015)
Roadwaystotal: 96,189 km (2014)
total: 204,855 km (2015)
Waterways7,100 km (Orinoco River (400 km) and Lake de Maracaibo navigable by oceangoing vessels) (2011)
24,725 km (18,300 km navigable; the most important waterway, the River Magdalena, of which 1,488 km is navigable, is dredged regularly to ensure safe passage of cargo vessels and container barges) (2012)
Pipelinesextra heavy crude 981 km; gas 5,941 km; oil 7,588 km; refined products 1,778 km (2013)
gas 4,991 km; oil 6,796 km; refined products 3,429 km (2013)
Ports and terminalsmajor seaport(s): La Guaira, Maracaibo, Puerto Cabello, Punta Cardon
oil terminal(s): Jose terminal
major seaport(s): Atlantic Ocean (Caribbean) - Cartagena, Santa Marta, Turbo; Pacific Ocean - Buenaventura
river port(s): Barranquilla (Rio Magdalena)
oil terminal(s): Covenas offshore terminal
dry bulk cargo port(s): Puerto Bolivar (coal)
container port(s) (TEUs): Cartagena (1,853,342)
Merchant marinetotal: 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)
total: 12
by type: cargo 9, chemical tanker 1, petroleum tanker 2
registered in other countries: 4 (Antigua and Barbuda 1, Panama 2, Portugal 1) (2010)
Airports444 (2013)
836 (2013)
Airports - with paved runwaystotal: 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)
total: 121
over 3,047 m: 2
2,438 to 3,047 m: 9
1,524 to 2,437 m: 39
914 to 1,523 m: 53
under 914 m: 18 (2013)
Airports - with unpaved runwaystotal: 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)
total: 715
over 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 25
914 to 1,523 m: 201
under 914 m: 488 (2013)
Heliports3 (2013)
3 (2013)

Military

VenezuelaColombia
Military branchesBolivarian 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), Bolivarian Militia (Milicia Bolivariana, NMB) (2016)
National Army (Ejercito Nacional), Republic of Colombia Navy (Armada Republica de Colombia, ARC, includes Naval Aviation, Naval Infantry (Infanteria de Marina, IM), and Coast Guard), Colombian Air Force (Fuerza Aerea de Colombia, FAC) (2012)
Military service age and obligationall citizens of military service age (18-60 years old) are obligated to register for military service, though mandatory recruitment is forbidden; the minimum service obligation is 12 months (2016)
18-24 years of age for compulsory and voluntary military service; service obligation is 18 months (2012)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP1% of GDP (2015)
1.16% of GDP (2014)
1.43% of GDP (2013)
1.3% of GDP (2012)
0.75% of GDP (2011)
3.24% of GDP (2016)
3.38% of GDP (2015)
3.13% of GDP (2014)
3.29% of GDP (2013)
3.17% of GDP (2012)

Transnational Issues

VenezuelaColombia
Disputes - internationalclaims 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 UN 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
in December 2007, ICJ allocated San Andres, Providencia, and Santa Catalina islands to Colombia under 1928 Treaty but did not rule on 82 degrees W meridian as maritime boundary with Nicaragua; managed dispute with Venezuela over maritime boundary and Venezuelan-administered Los Monjes Islands near the Gulf of Venezuela; Colombian-organized illegal narcotics, guerrilla, and paramilitary activities penetrate all neighboring borders and have caused Colombian citizens to flee mostly into neighboring countries; Colombia, Honduras, Nicaragua, Jamaica, and the US assert various claims to Bajo Nuevo and Serranilla Bank
Illicit drugssmall-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
illicit producer of coca, opium poppy, and cannabis; world's leading coca cultivator with 83,000 hectares in coca cultivation in 2011, a 17% decrease over 2010, producing a potential of 195 mt of pure cocaine; the world's largest producer of coca derivatives; supplies cocaine to nearly all of the US market and the great majority of other international drug markets; in 2012, aerial eradication dispensed herbicide to treat over 100,549 hectares combined with manual eradication of 30,486 hectares; a significant portion of narcotics proceeds are either laundered or invested in Colombia through the black market peso exchange; important supplier of heroin to the US market; opium poppy cultivation is estimated to have fallen to 1,100 hectares in 2009 while pure heroin production declined to 2.1 mt; most Colombian heroin is destined for the US market (2013)
Refugees and internally displaced personsrefugees (country of origin): 171,920 (Colombia) (2016)
IDPs: 7,401,031 (conflict between government and illegal armed groups and drug traffickers since 1985; about 300,000 new IDPs each year since 2000) (2017)
stateless persons: 11 (2016)

Source: CIA Factbook