- POPULATION: 27.6 Million
- RELIGION: 2% Protestant
- KNOWN FOR: Angel Falls, oil, chamos, Simón Bolívar
- LAM PRESENCE SINCE: 1923
The Latin America Mission community in Venezuela is focused on theological education and reaching out to at-risk street children. LAM first began work there with evangelism campaigns in 1923, which carried missionaries through countryside on foot and in dugout canoes.
Located on the northern coast of South America, Venezuela was one of three countries that emerged from the collapse of Gran Colombia in 1830 (the others being Ecuador and Colombia). The Latin American liberator Simón Bolívar is a proud part of Venezuelan heritage. Most chamos, as Venezuelans are called, speak Spanish. But there are more than 40 languages used by other inhabitants that include indigenous people, Arabs, Chinese and Anglos. Most of the population is Roman Catholic.
For most of the first half of the 20th century, Venezuela was ruled by generally benevolent military strongmen, who promoted the oil industry and allowed for some social reforms. Democratically elected governments have held sway since 1959. Hugo Chavez, president since 1999, seeks to implement his "21st Century Socialism," with the goal of alleviating social ills while at the same time attacking capitalist globalization.
Current concerns include: political polarization, a politicized military, drug-related violence along the Colombian border, overdependence on the petroleum industry with its price fluctuations, and irresponsible mining operations that are endangering the rain forest and indigenous peoples.
Interested in serving with us in Venezuela?