Venezuela – focus on the long-term

Venezuela – focus on the long-term

Venezuela is a country on the northern coast of South America with a population of approximately 29 million. Venezuela is considered a state with extremely high biodiversity, with habitats ranging from the Andes mountains in the west to the Amazon Basin rainforest in the south, via extensive plains and Caribbean coast, and the Orinoco River Delta in the east.

90% of the population is Roman Catholic. Some indigenous people still practice their traditional religion but most have converted to Roman Catholicism.

Venezuela is among the most urbanised countries in Latin America; the vast majority of Venezuelans live in the cities of the north, especially in the capital, Caracas, which is also the largest city in Venezuela. Since the discovery of oil in the early 20th century, Venezuela has the world’s largest oil reserves and been one of the world’s leading exporters of oil.

Venezuela literally means “little Venice” and the country is said to have been named by the Italian explorer Amerigo Vespucci in 1499 – the houses on stilts reminded him of Venice.

In business, networking is important. Like many Latin-American cultures, Venezuelans are risk-averse and prefer to know and trust the people with whom they do business. Senior positions are held primarily by the upper class so it is vital to pay attention to the hierarchy and show appropriate deference and respect to those in positions of authority.

Meetings on a Friday afternoon should be avoided as many Venezuelans leave early for the weekend. Spanish is the language of business and it is advisable to have all materials printed in Spanish and English, including business cards (do not write on someone’s business card as it is considered very rude). Be aware that it may take several meetings to come to an agreement; negotiation and time for consultation are necessary. Focus is on long-term goals rather than short-term benefits.

Share your Venezuelan business experiences

Sources: Wikipedia, Kwintessential

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