Venezuelan Independence Day: 10 Unique Things About Venezuelans

(CNN Spanish) –- Venezuela: Despite the economic and social crisis, the country is a land with beautiful landscapes that have even inspired animated films and true talent ranging from medicine to sports.

This July 5 is the Independence Day of Venezuela, a good time to see 10 things that perhaps you did not know about the country that is north of the south:

1) Venezuela has the highest uninterrupted waterfall in the world:

He has been the protagonist of Disney / Pixar movies. Located in the Canaima National Park, southeast of Venezuela, is the Angel Falls, which according to the Guinness Book of Record, is the highest waterfall in the world. It was discovered in 1933 by the American pilot Jimmie Angel. Angel Falls is 19 times higher than Niagara Falls on the US-Canada border. Canaima National Park is also a World Heritage, declared so by UNESCO in 1994.

The Angel Falls in Canaima National Park in Venezuela. (Credit: THOMAS COEX / AFP / Getty Images)

2) The Catatumbo lightning

In Maracaibo, Zulia state, to the west of Venezuela, an unparalleled meteorological phenomenon occurs. The Lake Maracaibo basin witnesses between April and November a “permanent” electrical storm that paints the skies of this region purple and pink during these months. The Catatumbo received a Guinness record in 2013 by the “greater concentration of lightning”.

Catatumbo lightning in the Maracibo Lake basin. (Credit: Fernando Flores / Flickr)

3) Beauty queens

Venezuela is not only the Latin American country with the most crowns of miss Universe Y miss World, but is the only nation in the world to obtain two consecutive crowns in the Miss Universe. The Guinness record was reached in 2009, when Stefania Fernández was elected the most beautiful woman in the world and Dayana Mendoza, Miss Universe 2008, presented her with the crown. In total, Venezuela has seven Miss Universe crowns and six Miss World crowns.

Moment in which Dayana Mendoza crowns and delivers the Miss Universe band to her Venezuelan compatriot, Stefanía Fernández. (Credit: TIMOTHY A. CLARY / AFP / Getty Images)

4) Venezuela is part of the most biodiverse area in the world

The country is also in the book of Guinness Record for Most Endemic Species of the Tropical Andes, which includes Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia.

The Orinoco river basin in Puerto Ayacucho, Amazonas state. (Credit: Leo Ramírez / AFP / Getty Images)

5) The largest arepa in the world

This is a sensitive issue for Venezuelans and Colombians. Although we are not clear in which country the arepa was really born, we do know that the world record for the largest arepa is precisely held by Venezuela. On March 23, 2011, the brand Harina PAN of Empresas Polar, cooked the largest arepa in the world. It weighed 493.2 kilograms and fed 2,800 people.

Empresas Polar cooks the largest arepa in the world, winner of the Guinness record in 2011. (Credit: JUAN BARRETO / AFP / Getty Images)

6) Baseball players

The king of sports in Venezuela is baseball. Several of the colloquial sayings of Venezuelans are inspired by plays in this discipline. And perhaps it is not surprising that Venezuela is the second Latin American country with the most players in the Major Leagues. In 2018, a total of 74 Venezuelan players they were on the diamond for the start of the season.

7) Top scorer in MLS

If we talk about records, a Venezuelan is also making history in American football. In 2018, Atlanta United player Josef Martinez became the league’s top scorer in one season. Until August 24, 2018, the native of Valencia, Carabobo state, scored a total of 28 goals. Martinez too is the only MLS player to be honored as the “MLS Player of the Month” twice.

8) The leprosy vaccine was invented in Venezuela

The doctor and scientist Jacinto Convit I created the leprosy vaccine in 1987. For this discovery, Convit received in 1987 the Prince of Asturias Award for his life dedicated to scientific research and in 1988 he was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Medicine. Dr. Convit was born in Caracas on September 11, 1913 and died on May 12, 2014 at the age of 100.

Dr. Jacinto Contiv, creator of the polio vaccine. (Credit: Jacinto Convit Foundation)

9) The diamond scalpel, a Venezuelan idea

Humberto Fernández Morán. Venezuelan scientist and pioneer graduated as a physician-surgeon from the Central University of Venezuela. Invented the process for manufacture diamond scalpel, ultramicrotomy diamond scalpel and cryoultramicrotomy, which allows precise cuts at the molecular level. In total, he has 5 patents in the United States. Also, the scientist was hired by the NASA to be part of the Apollo project team. Fernández Morán was born in Maracaibo, Zulia state, on February 18, 1924 and died in Stockholm on March 17, 1999 at the age of 75.

The Venezuelan scientist and doctor, Humberto Fernández Morán, creator of the mechanism to make the diamond scalpel. (Credit: IVIC Department of Scientific Photography)

10) Oil country

Venezuela has the largest oil reserves in the world. According to Energy Information Administration, the Latin American country has a reserve of 298,000 million barrels, which is equivalent to eight times more than the crude oil reserves of the United States.

Oil refinery in Morón, Carabobo state. (Credit: THOMAS COEX / AFP / Getty Images)

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