Elections in Venezuela

Hugo Chavez won the presidential elections in Venezuela. He has been the president of Venezuela for two terms since 1999. With this win, he will be the president of the country for another term which is of 6 years. The Venezuelan law allowed a person to be the president for just two terms. However, in 2009,  the people of Venezuela voted to remove limits on how often politicians can stand for office. With this new law, Chavez can be the leader for as long as Venezuelans vote for him.

Venezuela’s name comes from the translation of “little Venice”. This is because the early European visitors to Venezuela first ran into natives who lived in homes built on stilts over the water, reminding them of Venice, Italy. Venezuela was ruled by the Spanish for almost 300 years. Simón Bolívar, a political leader born in Caracas, the capital of Venezuela, helped several South American countries get their independence from Spain. Venezuela got its independence in 1811, and it went on to become part of a nation called Gran Colombia. Venezuela broke away from Gran Colombia in 1830.

Bolivar is considered a national hero and the Venezuelan currency, the bolivar fuerte, is named after him. Bolivar died in 1830 at the age of 47. He died of a disease called tuberculosis, but some believe that he was murdered. Two years ago, his coffin was opened up to investigate the cause of his death.  Last year, scientists who studied his remains said that there is no proof that points towards a murder. There is an American man who recently sued the government of Venezuela. This American claims that the Venezuelan government borrowed some items from him that belonged to Bolivar (hair and letters), and hasn’t returned them.

Angel Falls in Venezuela is the highest waterfall in the world. It is 3,212 feet (979 meters) tall. Are you wondering how high that is? Imagine three Eiffel Towers stacked up on top of each other. Angel Falls gets its name from an American pilot, Jimmie Angel, who was the first person to fly over the falls in 1933 while he was looking for gold.

The most popular sport in the country is baseball. A food staple of Venezuela is the “arepa”, a bread made of cornflour. Spanish is the official language of the country. Venezuela is one of the world’s large oil producers and exporters.

Did you know?

Hugo Chavez is often seen wearing something red (like a red tie or a red shirt).


Image Credits:  Agência Brasil for Chavez’s image; Steven Depolo from Grand Rapids, MI, USA for arepa’s image