President: Nicolás Maduro (2013)
Land area: 340,560 sq mi (882,050 sq km); total area: 352,144 sq mi (912,050 sq km)
Population (2014 est.): 28,868,486 (growth rate: 1.42%); birth rate: 19.42/1000; infant mortality rate: 19.33/1000; life expectancy: 74.39; density per sq mile: 77
Capital (2014 est.): Caracas, 5,243,301 (metro. area), 2,013,366 (city proper)
Largest cities (2011): Maracaibo, 2.31 million; Valencia, 1.866 million; Barquisimeto, 1.245 million; Maracay, 1.115 million; Ciudad Guayana, 799,000
Monetary unit: Bolivar
Venezuela, a third larger than Texas, occupies most of the northern coast of South America on the Caribbean Sea. It is bordered by Colombia to the west, Guyana to the east, and Brazil to the south. Mountain systems break Venezuela into four distinct areas: (1) the Maracaibo lowlands; (2) the mountainous region in the north and northwest; (3) the Orinoco basin, with the llanos (vast grass-covered plains) on its northern border and great forest areas in the south and southeast; and (4) the Guiana Highlands, south of the Orinoco, accounting for nearly half the national territory.