Venezuela Children’s Encyclopedia

By | December 16, 2021

When oil is not enough

Venezuela is one of the first oil producing countries in the world, a large exporter of minerals and tropical products, rich in good agricultural land and pastures, not without industries: yet the country has experienced a series of serious socio-economic crises for decades. policies. The history of Venezuela represents a typical case of development held back and distorted by a bad distribution of wealth and a heavy dependence on foreign countries.

An immense prairie

For the most part, the territory of Venezuela consists of an immense grassland (llanos) crossed by the Orinoco River and its tributaries. To the west, the Cordillera de Mérida (5,007 m) surrounds the lagoon of Maracaibo; the central-eastern area is occupied by the ancient reliefs of the Guiana massif (almost 3,000 m); to the south, finally, a stretch of the Amazon basin opens up. The climate is hot and humid; forest vegetation is dense in the Center-South. The population is concentrated instead in the North, in the coastal strip. Here are the capital Caracas (3,266,000 residents), The ports, the industries and the main cities: Valencia (1,196,000) and above all Maracaibo (1,609,000), in the center of one of the country’s large oil areas. Venezuela is rich in precious minerals, grows coffee, cocoa, sugar cane and tropical fruits, has a fairly developed industry (textiles, chemicals, engineering), but the living conditions of the residents are not very good. The resource of the oil represents for the country a perennial promise of well-being, which, however, social inequalities have been disappointing for decades. For Venezuela 2009, please check

A long series of military dictatorships

The territory of present-day Venezuela was reached by Christopher Columbus in 1498 and around the middle of the sixteenth century it became a domain of the Spanish Crown. Exploited above all for its agricultural resources, it was governed according to a rigidly hierarchical scheme that placed the Spanish aristocracy and the Creole landowners at the top and at the base the mestizos, black slaves and Indians. The struggle for independence began between the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries under the leadership of Francisco de Miranda and continued in the following years with Simón Bolívar. In 1821 Venezuela emancipated itself from Spain and became part of Greater Colombia. In 1830 it became a fully sovereign and independent state. Ruled by narrow oligarchies linked to large landed property and the army, the country was torn apart by two bitter civil wars between the 1950s and 1960s.

In the first half of the 20th century, a series of military dictatorships followed one another which, also thanks to the discovery of important oil fields and the arrival of foreign capital, primarily from the United States, promoted the growth of the country, but to the advantage of the privileged classes. In 1945 Rómulo Betancourt came to power, who started a new democratic and social reform course. In 1948, however, he was overthrown by a military coup, which again established an authoritarian and repressive regime. In 1958 democracy was restored and Betancourt returned to power. From 1964 onwards he was succeeded by representatives of his party (Democratic Action) and of the Catholic party (Copei), who in the 1970s nationalized the oil industry.

Dantesque Encyclopedia

Also due to the peripheral nature of the culture and literature of Venezuela, references to the work of D. in that country have been scarce and of little importance. However, already in the vast work of the writer and philologist Andrés Bello (1781-1865), we not only find numerous references and references to the Comedy and the literary personality of D., but above all a detailed analysis of Dante’s triplet and hendecasyllable in the Principios de ortología y métrica, first published in 1835 (1850²; 1859³), and now gathered in the first volume of the Estudios filológicos, in the Obras completas (Caracas 1954).

Later, only a few partial translations from Dante appear. In 1865 the “Revista literaria” of Caracas published the prose version of the seventeenth canto of Hell, a work of the romantic poet Juan Vicente González (1811-1866), of little literary value. Equally not very relevant are the poetic translations by the scholar Ermelindo Rivodó, published towards the end of the last century, and the one carried out by the Parnassian writer Udón Pérez (1871-1926).

A good contribution to the knowledge of D. in Venezuela is also due to the work of the Italian scholar and writer Edoardo Crema (Montagnano 1892), who has taught and worked in Caracas since 1927. Apart from numerous scattered articles, his work as a dantist is all included in the two books, D., un desconocido (Caracas 1959; 1965²) then expanded with some new chapters and accompanied by a vast anthology of translations of the Commedia title is Dante, 1265-1321, ibid. 1966); and La leyenda de un D. izlamizado (ibid. 1966); and finally in an essay, The symbology of the primer canto de la DC, printed on issue no. 91 of the magazine “Cultura Universitaria” (ibid. 1966). While the first book appears as a useful guide to reading the Comedy for the public it addresses, the second brings – also in the opinion of F. Gabrieli, who wrote the presentation – good confirmation of Cerulli’s theses regarding the relative and certainly not decisive influence of some Muslim eschatological texts (see ASÍN PALACIOS, miguel; book of the staircase) on Dante’s work. As for the essay on the symbology of the first canto of Hell, it is a study that relates the symbols of the three beasts with the impediments that stand in the way of men in the conquest of the “status felicitatis”, as they are indicated in the Convivio.

Venezuela military dictatorships