Glossary -- Venezuela

Andean Common Market (Ancom)
A free-trade association formed in 1969 by Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru. Venezuela joined the organization in 1973. Chile withdrew in 1977. Also known as the Andean Pact or the Andean Group (Grupo Andinó).
bolívar (B)
Venezuela's monetary unit, divided into 100 céntimos. The bolívar traded at a fixed rate of B4.29=US$1 from 1976 to 1983, but was devalued officially several times between 1983 and 1989. The 1989 devaluation established a floating rate at B36=US$1; by late 1990, the rate had reached B4.3=US$1.
Caribbean Basin
Broad geopolitical region encompassing all nations and dependencies in or bordering on the Caribbean Sea, thus including the Caribbean islands, northern South America, Central America, Mexico, and the United States.
Contadora Group
The "core-four" nations--Colombia, Mexico, Panama, and Venezuela--that in a January 1983 meeting on Contadora Island (off the Pacific coast of Panama) launched a diplomatic initiative to prevent through negotiations a regional conflagration among the Central American states of Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica. In September 1984, the negotiating process produced a draft treaty, the Contadora Acta, which was judged acceptable by the government of Nicaragua but rejected by the other four Central American states concerned. The governments of Peru, Uruguay, Argentina, and Brazil formed the Contadora Support Group in 1985 in an effort to revitalize the faltering talks. The process was suspended unofficially in June 1986 when the Central American governments refused to sign a revised Acta. The Contradora process was effectively superseded by direct negotiations among the Central American states.
A system whereby the Spanish crown granted rights over Indian labor and tribute to individual colonists (encomenderos), who in turn undertook to maintain order and to propagate Christianity among the Indians. It ended officially in 1687.
fiscal year (FY)
Calendar year.
General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT)
An international organization established in 1948 and headquartered in Geneva that serves as a forum for international trade negotiations. GATT members pledge to further multilateral trade by reducing import tariffs, quotas, and preferential trade agreements and promise to extend to each other any favorable trading terms offered in subsequent agreements with third parties.
Gran Colombia (Republic of)
Declared independent of Spain in 1821. Consisted of present-day Venezuela, Colombia, and Ecuador. Venezuela seceded from it in 1829.
gross domestic product (GDP)
A measure of the total value of goods and services produced by the domestic economy during a given period, usually one year. Obtained by adding the value contributed by each sector of the economy in the form of profits, compensation to employees, and depreciation (consumption of capital). The income arising from investments and possessions owned abroad is not included. Hence, the term domestic is used to distinguish GDP from gross national product (q.v.).
gross national product (GNP)
Total market value of all final goods and services produced by an economy during a year. Obtained by adding gross domestic product (q.v.) and the income received from abroad by residents less payments remitted abroad to nonresidents.
International Monetary Fund (IMF)
Established along with the World Bank (q.v.) in 1945, the IMF is a specialized agency affiliated with the United Nations that takes responsibility for stabilizing international exchange rates and payments. The main business of the IMF is the provision of loans to its members when they experience balance of payments difficulties. These loans often carry conditions that require substantial internal economic adjustments by the recipients.
liberation theology
An activist movement led by Roman Catholic clergy who trace their inspiration to Vatican Council II (1965), where some church procedures were liberalized, and the Second Latin American Bishops' Conference in Medellín, Colombia (1968), which endorsed greater direct efforts to improve the lot of the poor.
Plains region that runs in a broad band across central Venezuela. Residents referred to as llaneros.
Person(s) of mixed racial origin, including any combination of unmixed Caucasian, Indian, and African antecedents.
An urban shelter, or shanty, constructed of makeshift materials, generally by the occupant.
A three-year period, usually refers to the 1945-48 democratic government.
World Bank
The informal name used to designate a group of three affiliated international institutions: the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), the International Development Association (IDA), and the International Finance Corporation (IFC). The IBRD, established in 1945, has the primary purpose of providing loans to developing countries for productive projects. The IDA, a legally separate loan fund administered by the staff of the IBRD, was set up in 1960 to furnish credits to the poorest of developing countries on much easier terms than those of conventional IBRD loans. The IFC, founded in 1956, supplements the activities of the IBRD through loans and assistance designed specifically to encourage the growth of productive private enterprises in less-developed countries. The president and certain senior officers of the IBRD hold the same positions in the IFC. The three institutions are owned by the governments of the countries that subscribe their capital. To participate in the World Bank group, member states must first belong to the International Monetary Fund (q.v.).