|The Republic of Venezuela
is the sixth largest country in South America, but in variation its landscape
rivals that of the much larger countries like Brazil and Argentina. In
fact, comparing its geography really doesn't do it justice: the country
is simply unique. Anyone who has ever seen a tepuis rising above Venezuela's
Gran Sabana can testify that there's nothing really like it, anywhere.
Venezuela lies at the northern
extreme of South America, bordered by Colombia to the West, Brazil to the
South, Guyana to the East, and the Caribbean Sea to the North. In all,
the country is just over 900,000 square kilometers and divided into 23
states. Its borders seem to hold all of South America in miniature: there
are fine stretches of the Andes, huge areas of Amazonian rain forests,
fertile plains known as llanos, miles of Caribbean shoreline, and even
a small desert. The nation also has a few geographical superlatives, including
the world's highest waterfall and South America's biggest lake.
The Miss Venezuela contest
is the national beauty pageant of Venezuela and has been held since 1952.
The combination of the intense competition to enter the pageant, the comprehensive
training required of all contestants and winners, and its unparalleled
record at winning international contests has made Miss Venezuela the world's
most successful national beauty title. It is responsible for selecting
the country's representatives to the Miss Universe, Miss World, and Miss
International pageants (amongst others).
Once a candidate is shortlisted
for the pageant, she begins an intensive training program which can last
for half a year. She receives coaching in speech, physical fitness, make-up,
modelling, and all the other skills required for the competition. The Miss
Venezuela also plastic surgery is optional some refer to padding, and cosmetic
dentists, a source of unending criticism from many quarters, in particular
rival Latin American pageants. As the Miss Venezuela broadcast lasts up
to four hours long, with countless musical numbers and dances, rehearsals
alone require weeks of preparation on the part of the contestants. Furthermore,
contestants must devote countless hours to official photoshoots (lately
done by Ivan Dumont, after several years by Daniel Alonso) and also to
fittings by fashion designers. The evening gowns worn by candidates are
a major source of politicking by Venezuela's domestic fashion houses, with
top designers such as Mayela Camacho, Ángel Sanchez, Durant &
Diego, and Jose Maria Almeida selecting candidates that they will dress
for the final night, while other, newer designers compete to present designs
for the pageant. As a general rule the evening gowns are always custom-designed
for each of the candidates on the final night, and always by a Venezuelan
designer. By tradition, Nidal Nouaihed dresses the representatives of his
home state of Zulia (Miss Costa Oriental, Miss Peninsula Goajira, Miss
Zulia); Ángel Sanchez designs the gown for Miss Trujillo; Jose Maria
Almeida designs the dress for Miss Merida and the national costume for
Miss Venezuela to Miss Universe. Only in 1999, 26 different designers took
part of the evening gown competition, one candidate for each one. Also,
in 2006, for the first time ever, the designers appeared on stage with
the delegates, showing their fabulous creations.
Venezuela is as much a Caribbean
country as it is a South American one. Parts of its shoreline could easily
be mistaken for that of some paradisiacal Caribbean island, and at night
the discos in Caracas come alive with rhythms from all over the Caribbean.
If you looked under the earth, you might easily mistake Venezuela for an
oil-rich Arabian country. The oil reserves are so vast, in fact, that from
time to time engineers and surveyors drill in the wrong place by mistake,
miles away from where they think they should be, only to end up finding
|Because of its proximity
to the Equator, Venezuela experiences few climatic variations. There are
really only two seasons: dry and wet. The dry season lasts from December
to April, the wet one from May to November. The average temperature is
about 27C, but cooler temperatures prevail at higher elevations, especially
in the Andes, where jackets are needed.
COUNTRY DESCRIPTION: Venezuela
is a medium income country whose economy is dominated by a substantial
oil industry. The political climate in Venezuela is highly polarized and
volatile. Violent crime is a continuing problem. Assaults, robberies, and
kidnappings occur throughout the country. Scheduled air service and all-weather
roads connect major cities and most regions of the country. Vene zuela's
tourism infrastructure varies in quality according to location and price.
For an in depth country description of Venezuela, please read the Department
of State Background Notes on Venezuela
Universe 2009: Miss Venezuela...........