Chapter 1 - Condensed Information About the Republic of Venezuela

Chapter 1 - Condensed Information About the Republic of Venezuela

“Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields” John 4:35
VENEZUELA lies on the north coast of South America between latitudes 0 45’ and 12 12’, and longitudes 59 45’ and 73 09’, its shores washed by the azure waters of the Caribbean sea. It is bordered on the east by Guyana, on the west by Colombia, on the south by Brazil, and the island of Trinidad lies not far from its northeast shore. It has a superficial area of 352,150 square miles and is the sixth largest country in South America. The Orinoco River is 1,600 miles long and is the seventh largest river in America. Besides this, there are more than 1,000 other rivers. The Angel Falls, situated in the Guayana highlands, are the highest in the world, having a fall of 3,212 feet, more than twice the height of the Empire State Building of New York. Bolivar Peak in the Sierra Nevada range is 16,411 feet high.

On August 1, 1498 Christopher Columbus went ashore on the Peninsula of Paria, Venezuela, so that it was actually the first part of the mainland of the western hemisphere that he set foot upon when discovering the New World. Lake Maracaibo is the largest in South America, with a superficial area of 6,300 square miles. It is the chief center of oil production in the country, the wells of which yield about 3,000,000 barrels of oil per day.

When the Spanish explorers crossed the sandbar on the north coast of Venezuela and sailed down Lake Maracaibo, they were impressed with the sight of an Indian village with its huts built on stilts in the water near the edge of the lake, and the natives paddling their frail canoes from one hut to another. It reminded them of what they had seen in Venice where canals take the place of streets and gondolas instead of vehicles carry passengers from place to place, so they coined the name Venezuela, which means “Little Venice.” They didn’t dream that their “Little Venice” was of so vast an area, with a coast line of 1,750 miles! How true this is of the believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, whose first impressions of God’s salvation are so limited; but which gradually expand in the measure that he reads and meditates on the Word and “grows in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” The fervent prayer of Paul for the Ephesian saints was that they “May be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:18-19.

Today the face of the lake has been, marvelously transformed: instead of Indian villages there is a forest of giant oil derricks and floating platforms, with super oil tankers transporting crude oil to refineries in different parts of the world. Another and greater transformation has taken place: the absolute spiritual darkness of ignorance and superstition which prevailed when Venezuela was dominated by Spain, and the Bible in the language of the people was a prohibited book, has now given way largely to the light of the Gospel, and the knowledge of the truth through the circulation of the Scriptures. With the emancipation of the country from the thraldom of Spain came freedom of conscience and liberty of worship. The Constitution of the Republic guarantees these privileges, although at times some sections of the Roman clergy in their ignorance have bitterly opposed this constituted freedom. A few Indian villages on stilts can still be seen in the Lake Maracaibo area.

In the month of June 1971, great celebrations took place to commemorate 150 years since the decisive battle of CARABOBO, which procured independence for the Venezuelans. Delegations and representatives were invited from all the Latin American countries, as well as from Great Britain, Spain, etc. The principal celebrations took place around the colossal national monument in Campo Carabobo with its almost life-sized tableaux of battle scenes, giving pre-eminence to the heroic General Simon Bolivar and including a bronze sculpture of the British Legion going into action and helping to rout the Spanish battalions.

Although the great Venezuelan Liberator accomplished such a stupendous triumph for his country, his end was a sad one. His life’s span shortened by a malignant disease and his last days were spent high up in a coffee plantation called St. Pedro Alejandrin in Colombia. History records that when he was breathing his last the French doctor who had devotedly stayed at his side, requested the man servant to bring a clean shirt, to prepare the body for interment. The servant replied: “The only shirt he possesses, Doctor, is the one he is wearing” ! Years later the remains of Simon Bolivar were exhumed and taken to Caracas, the Capital of Venezuela, and birth place of the Liberator, where a national monument has been built to preserve them and perpetuate the glorious memory of the “Padre de la Patria.”

Is not this a faint picture of our Lord Jesus Christ Who, “though He was rich, for our sakes He became poor, that we through His poverty might be rich”? He fought and gained the mighty triumph, but all alone, at Calvary. Thus He has brought deliverance from Satan’s cruel dominion, to all who will come to Him, yet the great majority spurn His love and have deliberately forgotten Him; but the day will come when He is going to be honored and glorified; when “His Name shall endure for ever: His name shall be continued as long as the sun” Psalm 72:17. In that day will my reader be amongst those that love His name, or amongst His enemies who would not believe on Him?