Venezuela with a difference
Venezuela's market economy is dominated by its principal natural resource: oil. Venezuela's oil reserves were discovered in 1914, and swiftly transformed the country from a poor nation into one of the richest in South America. The biggest boom came in the 1970s when OPEC, an organization co-founded by Venezuela, effected a four hundred per cent increase in oil prices which quadrupled the country's income. GNP grew rapidly, and a steady stream of jobseekers flowed into the country from neighboring nations. In 1982, oil revenue reached its peak. With earnings of US$19.3 billion, it accounted for more than 95 per cent of the country's total exports.