Caribbean South America

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Caribbean South America is a region of South America consisting of the nations that border the Caribbean Sea, namely:

  • Colombia
  • Venezuela (the country with the largest territory in all Caribbean waters)

But culturally, the Guianas are more similar to the Caribbean than any other countries in South America:

Due to the region's closeness to the equator, its climate is very tropical. Overview Caribbean South America Essay

Caribbean South America has a very diverse country. Lush rainforests and flat plains are framed by the cordilleras at the tip of the Andes Mountain Range. Ecosystems of all kinds thrive in this environment. The fight for independence was fierce, but was it as fierce as political conflict in the Venezuelan Government? In Caribbean South America the land has many physical features. Mountains tower over villages and great plains and rainforests stretch as far as the eyes can see. In the coastal country of Colombia, the Andes Mountains split into three separate mountain ranges. These are called cordilleras. In the deep ravines between the cordilleras, two large rivers flow, the Cauca and the Magdalena. The rivers will eventually reach the Caribbean Sea. Toward the East, in the countries of Colombia and Venezuela, the Andes Mountains give way to flat, lowland plains, or Llanos. It is home to many diverse ecosystems. In the Southeast, the Amazon Rainforest extends slightly over the border of Brazil and into Colombia. In the Orinoco River Basin, in Venezuela, savannas and tropical rainforests cover the surrounding areas. The Orinoco river is one of the longest rivers in South America. The climate in Caribbean South America is very hot because it is near to the Equator. In Colombia there is a tropical wet climate, especially around the West coast and the Southeastern corner. The rest of Colombia is a tropical wet dry climate. Venezuela also has a tropical wet dry climate, this affects neighboring countries such as Guyana, Suriname, and French Guiana. In the far North of Venezuela and Colombia, lies an arid desert. The climate in the Andes changes according to elevation. The higher you get, the colder and wetter the climate. Many diverse ecosystems cover Caribbean South America. Vegetation differs with the climate of the area, as do animals. Along the Pacific coast of Colombia, lush rainforests thrive. Many unique species of plants and animals call this place their home. Jaguars, coatimundi, giant anteaters, and tapirs all live in this warm, wet climate. The Andes Mountains divide the Western rainforests and one of the largest ecosystems in the region, the Llanos. Grasslands and wetlands support a variety of plants and animals. The Llanos and Orinoco River Basin are home to many animals, including the Orinoco crocodile, the giant armadillo, the giant otter, and the black and chestnut eagle. The Orinoco River Basin itself is home to over 1,000 species of fish. People in Caribbean South America have had an effect on the landscape. In Colombia, on the Caribbean coast, human settlement and advancing farming and the growing of illegal crops have all helped destroy 72 percent of the area’s original forests. Streams and rivers are also being choked by erosion caused by deforestation. However, people also have benefited from the landscape too. Rich soil in the Andes provide fertile grounds to grow coffee and other staple crops. The Llanos of Venezuela and Colombia are among the largest grasslands in South America. The main threats to the Llanos are extensive cattle ranching, the growth of farms and farming in the area, logging, oil and gas fields, and invasive grasses. But, the people of South America also use the Llanos for good by not using agricultural chemicals and insecticides on their farms and plantations. The area of Caribbean South America has a very rich history. Cultures collided when Spanish conquistadors arrived in Venezuela and what would become present day Colombia. The Spanish wanted gold, and when their leader heard the story of El Dorado from a native tribe they came across, the Spaniards set off across hundreds of miles of deep jungle. Hoping to find the legendary gold city. After being around the Spanish for so long, the natives caught sicknesses from the Spaniards, and because their bodies were not immune to the illnesses the Spanish carried, many of them died off. The Spanish continued to treat the indigenous people horribly up until the fight for independence. The fight for independence in the Caribbean South America started in 1811 and ended in 1825. Simón Bolívar led the South American forces against the Spanish army. At the time, Criollos resented the mercantilist policies of Spain. Trade was allowed only in Pacific ports, this was a terrible burden for the Caribbean colonies because they could not trade anywhere but other countries in their region. While places like Cuba and Puerto Rico were allowed free trade. Simón Bolívar and Francisco de Paula Santander both wanted for Venezuela and the other Caribbean countries to be able to have free trade too. A civil war started between those who supported the freedom of trade, and eventually independence, and royalists who wanted to maintain the union with Spain. However, the war did end in 1825, with Spain being forced to separate Caribbean South America from their many colonies. After independence, Caribbean South America began to settle down. Despite the knowledge of the existence of oil reserves in Caribbean South America for centuries, the first oil wells of importance were not drilled until the early 1910s. Oil boomed all over the Northwest coast of South America. By 1929, Venezuela was the second largest oil producing country and the largest oil exporter in the world. With such a dramatic development of the industry, the oil sector had begun to dominate all other economic sectors in the country, however, agricultural production began to decrease dramatically. This sudden increase of attention to oil and neglect of the agrarian sector caused the economy to suffer from a phenomenon known to economists as the Dutch Disease. This "disease" occurs when a product brings a substantial increase of money to one sector of the economy, causing a strengthening of currency which in turn harms exports of manufacturing and other sectors. Farming accounted for about one-third of economic production in the 1920s, but by the 1950s this fraction dramatically reduced to one-tenth. This sudden increase of oil production restricted Venezuela’s overall ability to create and maintain other industries. The government had ignored serious social problems, including education, health, infrastructure, agriculture, and domestic industries, causing Venezuela to fall well behind other industrialized countries. Political conflict broke out among the Venezuelan Government. Caribbean South America broke into chaos as more and more money was wasted. Eventually Venezuela started to take steps in the direction of nationalization of its oil industry. In August 1971, under the presidency of Rafael Caldera, a law was passed that nationalized the country's natural gas industry. Also in 1971 the law of reversion was passed which stated that all the assets, plant, and equipment belonging to concessionaires within or outside the concession areas would revert to the nation without compensation upon the expiration of the grant.

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