Santa Elena de Uairén

Santa Elena de Uairén (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈsanta eˈlena ðe wajˈɾen]) is a small Venezuelan city (29,795 inhabitants in 2006) in the state of Bolívar near the border with Brazil and Guyana. It was Founded by Lucas Fernandez Peña in 1923. The city's name originates from the first daughter of Lucas Fernandez Pena Elena, and Uairén by the river that crosses the city.

Santa Elena de Uairén
The City of Santa Elena de Uairén
Santa Elena de Uairen, Bolívar, Venezuela - panoramio (6).jpg
Santa Elena
Santa Elena de Uairén is located in Venezuela
Santa Elena de Uairén
Santa Elena de Uairén
Coordinates: 4°36′7.63″N 61°6′40.3″W / 4.6021194°N 61.111194°W / 4.6021194; -61.111194
Country Venezuela
MunicipalityGran Sabana
FoundedNovember 13, 1923
900 m (3,000 ft)
 • Total29,795
Time zoneUTC−4 (VET)
Postal Code
Area code+58 288

Located in the middle of La Gran Sabana, Santa Elena is home to many travel agencies offering tours in Canaima National Park, flights over Angel Falls, and hiking tours to the famous Monte Roraima.

The town is notable for its influential presence of indigenous peoples; there is even a community called Manakrü (pronounced mah-nah-CREE) populated entirely by indigenous people. The schools in this neighborhood use both Spanish and Pemon, an indigenous language.

Due to its proximity to the Brazilian state of Roraima, Santa Elena sees a busy exchange between the two countries of Brazilian consumer products from Brazil and Venezuelan oil and petrol. Other Brazilian cities that trade with Santa Elena de Uairen are Manaus, Santarém, Macapá, Belém.

Santa Elena is relatively safe compared to other Venezuelan cities.[1]


The language of almost all the indigenous people in the area is Pemón, a language of the Caribbean family related to the extinct Tamanaco and Chaimas. Most of them also speak Spanish. However, there is a large non-indigenous population that speaks Spanish. In Santa Elena de Uairén, it is also common to find that the vast majority of residents speak Portuguese, due to its proximity to Brazil.


Santa Elena was founded in 1923 by Lucas Fernández Peña, attracted by diamond mines found there. In 1999, a free zone was declared in the city, due to its proximity to Brazil, the city is crowded of Brazilians during the weekends seeking low prices such as food, electronics, and hygiene products.

2019 massacreEdit

In 2019, the Venezuelan National Guard shot several Pemon civilians in the city, shortly after they had killed a large number of protesters in San Francisco de Yuruaní.[2] The massacre began at 7:00 AM in the morning and resulted in 11 deaths as well as 31-57 injuries.[3][4] Widespread criticism erupted in response to the attack.[5]

Sister CitiesEdit


  1. ^ "Venezuela on the brink: a journey through a country in crisis". The Guardian. 2016-10-11. Retrieved 2021-11-23.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  2. ^ "GameChangers 2019: Illegal Mining, Latin America's Go-To Criminal Economy". InSight Crime. 2020-01-20. Retrieved 2021-11-23.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  3. ^ AFP. "US vows to take action as Venezuela aid operation turns deadly". Times of Israel. Retrieved 2021-11-23.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  4. ^ "Venezeulan Massacres Investigated | RFK Human Rights". ROBERT F. KENNEDY HUMAN RIGHTS. Retrieved 2021-11-23.
  5. ^ "Venezuela: Authorities must stop attacks against the population". Amnesty International. 2019-02-23. Retrieved 2021-11-23.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)

Gold specimen from Mina Zapata, Santa Elena de Uairén

External linksEdit