Quick Facts

  • Officially known as the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela
  • Gained independence from Spain on July 5, 1811
  • Location:  northern South America, bordering the Carribean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, between Columbia and Guyana
  • Area:  353,841 sq. miles, slightly more than twice the size of California
  • Population:  28,047,938
  • Capital:  Caracus – approximately 3 million people
  • Climate:  tropical; hot, humid, more moderate in highlands
  • Terrain:  Andes Mountains and Marcaibo Lowlands in northwest; central plains (llanos), Guiana Highlands in southeast – Angel Falls in the Guiana Highlands is the world highest waterfall
  • Nationality:  Venezuelan
  • Ethnic groups:  Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Arab, German, African, others
  • Language:  Spanish (official), other dialects
  • Religions:  Roman Catholic 96%, Protestant, 2%, others
  • Literacy:  93% over the age of 15 can read and write
  • Economy:  highly dependent on oil reserves, which account for roughly 95% of export earnings, about 40% of Federal budget revenues and around 12% of GDP.  Venezuela wrestles with a housing crisis, high inflation, an electricity crisis and rolling food and goods shortages – all of whcih are fallout from the governments unorthodox economic policies.  About 30% of the population lives on less than US $2 a day.
  • Current weather conditions –  www.weather.com
  • Tips for Travel in country – www.travel.state.gov
  • Currency exchange rates –  www.xe.com

Government in Power

  • The Venezuelan government is a Federal constiutional republic
  • Chief of State and Head of Government:  President Nicolas Maduro – elected by popular vote



Healthcare Statistics

  • Life expectancy:  74.08 years
  • Physicians density:  1.94 physicians/1,000 population
  • Hospital bed density:  1.36 beds/1,000 population
  • Major infectious diseases – degree of risk – high
  • Food or waterborne diseaes:  bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A, typhoid fever
  • Vectorborne diseases:  dengue fever and malaria
  • Children under the age of 5 underweight:  3.7% – some reports as high as 17%
  • Venezuela has a national universal healthcare system that is free of charge
  • According to the United Nations, 32% of Venezuelans lack adequate sanitation
  • Infectious disease updates:  http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/list.htm


Images From the Field

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Area Agencies

Field Stories

In November of 2014, I found myself, very spontaneously, on a mission trip to Ethiopia.  I have no medical experience, nor have I ever been on a mission trip, or even left the United States. I had always been moved to help others, and gravitated towards experiences that allow me to learn about other cultures. […]


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