Brain Food: Us and Them - Venezuela

Venezuela ranks sixth in world oil reserves, possessing 75 billion barrels of the black stuff. Oil accounts for about 30% of GDP, 80% of export earnings and more than 50% of government operating revenues. So the national strike of December 2002, when oil production temporarily stopped, caused a crippling economic depression. However, things are on the up - first-quarter 2004 figures show year-on-year GDP growth of 29.8% and industrial production up by 24.6%.

Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010


Almost two-thirds of Venezuela's land is protected, the most of any country. Of its burgeoning population, which has increased five-fold over the past 40 years, 6.6% of people are over 60 and 34% are under 15 - compared with 20.7% and 19.1% respectively in the UK. Venezuela is the world's second-largest beer consuming country, with 76.7 litres sold per person. The UK comes a piffling 23rd, with 31.7 litres, although the Brits remain second behind Ireland in overall alcohol consumption.

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