A. THE COUNTRY
The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela is in northern South America.
About 80% of the population live along the Caribbean coastal belt. The
government is a federal presidential republic with an authoritarian
president who aligns himself with Cuba, Iran and other states opposed to
the U.S.A. Living standards are still dropping (60% of urbanites live
in slums) while there are widespread investments in social and economic
programmes. The nation is regarded as the second most corrupt in Latin
America, and is increasingly used as a transshipment point for
trafficking primarily drugs but also people. Venezuela is the world’s
fourth-largest producer of oil and the economy is deeply dependent on
the price of oil.
B. THE PEOPLE
The population is ~29,044,000 and the official language Spanish.
~96.5% are Hispanic (mixed Spanish, indigenous and African background
and include Colombian, Cuban and others),
~2.7% Other groups (European, Middle Eastern, Asia).
C. RELIGIONS AND CHRISTIANITY/PENTECOSTALISM
A secular, materialistic mindset prevails in public life. Religious
freedom is guaranteed in the constitution. The official recognition of
the Catholic Church is under threat due to criticism by the president
and growth among evangelicals. ~84.54% claim to be Christian, ~12.17%
Non-religious, ~1.42% Other, ~0.7% Ethnoreligionist. ~0.47% Baha’i,
~0.4% Muslim, ~0.1% Jewish, ~0.1% Chinese, ~0.1% Buddhist.
In the Christian category:
~71.16% are Catholic (only 10% attend mass), ~10.51% Unaffiliated,
~6.74% Independent, ~5.45% Protestant, ~0.12% Orthodox, <0.01% Anglican.
Many of those claiming to be Christian have to some degree
dabbled with Spiritism.
Groups originating in Western society considered ‘marginal’ are ~1.75%.
Evangelicals represent ~10% of the population.
Charismatics represent ~10% and of those ~6.3% are Pentecostals.
Operation World, Jason Mandryk. Colorado Springs: Biblica Publishing, 2010.