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Introduction Colombia
Colombia previously one of three countries that emerged from collapse of Gran Colombia in 1830 (the others being Ecuador and Venezuela). A 40-year insurgent campaign to overthrow Colombian Government escalated during 1990s, undergirded in part by funds from drug trade. Although violence is deadly and large swaths of countryside are under guerrilla influence, movement lacks military strength or popular support necessary to overthrow government. An anti-insurgent army of paramilitaries has grown to be several thousand strong in recent years, challenging insurgents for control of territory and illicit industries such as drug trade and government's ability to exert its dominion over rural areas. While Bogota steps up efforts to reassert government control throughout country, neighboring countries worry about violence spilling over their borders.
Geography Colombia
Northern South America, bordering Caribbean Sea, between Panama and Venezuela, and bordering North Pacific Ocean, between Ecuador and Panama
Geographic coordinates:
4 00 N, 72 00 W
Map references:
South America
total: 1,138,910 sq km
land: 1,038,700 sq km
note: includes Isla de Malpelo, Roncador Cay, Serrana Bank, and Serranilla Bank
water: 100,210 sq km
Area - comparative:
slightly less than three times size of Montana
Land boundaries:
total: 6,004 km
border countries: Brazil 1,643 km, Ecuador 590 km, Panama 225 km, Peru 1,496 km (est.), Venezuela 2,050 km
3,208 km (Caribbean Sea 1,760 km, North Pacific Ocean 1,448 km)
Maritime claims:
continental shelf: 200-m depth or to depth of exploitation
territorial sea: 12 NM
exclusive economic zone: 200 NM
tropical along coast and eastern plains; cooler in highlands
flat coastal lowlands, central highlands, high Andes Mountains, eastern lowland plains
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point: Pico Cristobal Colon 5,775 m
note: nearby Pico Simon Bolivar also has same elevation
Natural resources:
petroleum, natural gas, coal, iron ore, nickel, gold, copper, emeralds, hydropower
Land use:
arable land: 1.9%
other: 96.14% (1998 est.)
permanent crops: 1.96%
Irrigated land:
8,500 sq km (1998 est.)
Natural hazards:
highlands subject to volcanic eruptions; occasional earthquakes; periodic droughts
Environment - current issues:
deforestation; soil and water quality damage from overuse of pesticides; air pollution, especially in Bogota, from vehicle emissions
Environment - international agreements:
party to: Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Marine Life Conservation, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Law of Sea, Marine Dumping
Geography - note:
only South American country with coastlines on both North Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea
People Colombia
Total Population:
41,662,073 (July 2003 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 31.3% (male 6,601,581; female 6,447,679)
15-64 years: 63.7% (male 12,931,093; female 13,626,333)
65 years and over: 4.9% (male 913,798; female 1,141,589) (2003 est.)
Median age:
total: 25.6 years
male: 24.8 years
female: 26.4 years (2002)
Population growth rate:
1.56% (2003 est.)
Birth rate:
21.59 births/1,000 population (2003 est.)
Death rate:
5.63 deaths/1,000 population (2003 est.)
Net migration rate:
-0.32 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2003 est.)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.95 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.8 male(s)/female
Population: 0.96 male(s)/female (2003 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
total: 22.47 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 18.34 deaths/1,000 live births (2003 est.)
male: 26.46 deaths/1,000 live births
Life Expectancy:
Population: 71.14 years
male: 67.29 years
female: 75.12 years (2003 est.)
Total fertility rate:
2.61 children born/woman (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
0.4% (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
140,000 (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
5,600 (2001 est.)
noun: Colombian(s)
adjective: Colombian
Ethnic groups:
mestizo 58%, white 20%, mulatto 14%, black 4%, mixed black-Amerindian 3%, Amerindian 1%
Roman Catholic 90%
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
Population: 92.5%
male: 92.4%
female: 92.6% (2003 est.)
Government Colombia
Country name:
conventional long form: Republic of Colombia
conventional short form: Colombia
local short form: Colombia
local long form: Republica de Colombia
Government type:
republic; executive branch dominates government structure
Administrative divisions:
32 departments (departamentos, singular - departamento) and 1 capital district* (distrito capital); Amazonas, Antioquia, Arauca, Atlantico, Distrito Capital de Bogota*, Bolivar, Boyaca, Caldas, Caqueta, Casanare, Cauca, Cesar, Choco, Cordoba, Cundinamarca, Guainia, Guaviare, Huila, La Guajira, Magdalena, Meta, Narino, Norte de Santander, Putumayo, Quindio, Risaralda, San Andres y Providencia, Santander, Sucre, Tolima, Valle del Cauca, Vaupes, Vichada
20 July 1810 (from Spain)
National holiday:
Independence Day, 20 July (1810)
5 July 1991
Legal system:
based on Spanish law; a new criminal code modeled after US procedures previously enacted in 1992-93; judicial review of executive and legislative acts; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction, with reservations
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
chief of state: President Alvaro URIBE Velez (since 7 August 2002); Vice President Francisco SANTOS (since 7 August 2002); note - president is both chief of state and head of government
head of government: President Alvaro URIBE Velez (since 7 August 2002); Vice President Francisco SANTOS (since 7 August 2002); note - president is both chief of state and head of government
cabinet: Cabinet consists of a coalition of two dominant parties - PL and PSC - and independents
elections: president and vice president elected by popular vote for a four-year term; election last held 26 May 2002 (next to be held NA May 2006)
election results: President Alvaro URIBE Velez received 53% of vote; Vice President Francisco SANTOS previously elected on same ticket
Legislative branch:
bicameral Congress or Congreso consists of Senate or Senado (102 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms) and House of Representatives or Camara de Representantes (166 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)
elections: Senate - last held 10 March 2002 (next to be held NA March 2006); House of Representatives - last held 10 March 2002 (next to be held NA March 2006)
election results: Senate - percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - PL 28, PSC 13, independents and smaller parties (many aligned with conservatives) 61; House of Representatives - percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - PL 54, PSC 21, independents and other parties 91
Judicial branch:
four coequal, supreme judicial organs; Supreme Court of Justice or Corte Suprema de Justical (highest court of criminal law; judges are selected from nominees of Higher Council of Justice for eight-year terms); Council of State (highest court of administrative law, judges are selected from nominees of Higher Council of Justice for eight-year terms); Constitutional Court (guards integrity and supremacy of constitution, rules on constitutionality of laws, amendments to constitution, and international treaties); Higher Council of Justice (administers and disciplines civilian judiciary; members of disciplinary chamber resolve jurisdictional conflicts arising between other courts; members are elected by three sister courts and Congress for eight-year terms)
Political parties and leaders:
Conservative Party or PSC [Carlos HOLGUIN Sardi]; Liberal Party or PL [Piedad CORDOBA and Juan Manuel LOPEZ Cabrales]; Colombian Communist Party or PCC [Jaime CAICEDO]; 19 of April Movement or M-19 [Antonio NAVARRO Wolff]
note: Colombia has about 60 formally recognized political parties, most of which do not have a presence in either house of Congress
Political pressure groups and leaders:
two largest insurgent groups active in Colombia - Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia or FARC and National Liberation Army or ELN; largest anti-insurgent paramilitary group is United Self-Defense Groups of Colombia or AUC
International organization participation:
Diplomatic representation in US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Luis Alberto MORENO Mejia
chancery: 2118 Leroy Place NW, Washington, DC 20008
consulate(s) general: Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York, San Francisco, San Juan (Puerto Rico), and Washington, DC
consulate(s): Atlanta
FAX: [1] (202) 232-8643
telephone: [1] (202) 387-8338
Diplomatic representation from US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Anne W. PATTERSON
embassy: Calle 22D-BIS, numbers 47-51, Apartado Aereo 3831
mailing address: Carrera 45 #22D-45, Bogota, D.C., APO AA 34038
telephone: [57] (1) 315-0811
FAX: [57] (1) 315-2197
Flag description:
three horizontal bands of yellow (top, double-width), blue, and red; similar to flag of Ecuador, which is longer and bears Ecuadorian coat of arms superimposed in center
Economy Colombia
Economy - overview:
Colombia's economy suffers from weak domestic and foreign demand, austere government budgets, and serious internal armed conflict. Other economic problems facing new president URIBE range from reforming pension system to reducing high unemployment. Two of Colombia's leading exports, oil and coffee, face an uncertain future; new exploration is needed to offset declining oil production, while coffee harvests and prices are depressed. Colombian business leaders are calling for greater progress in solving conflict with insurgent groups. On positive side, several international financial institutions have praised economic reforms introduced by President URIBE and have pledged enough funding to cover Colombia's debt servicing costs in 2003.
buying power parity - $251.6 billion (2002 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
1.5% (2002 est.)
GDP - per capita:
buying power parity - $6,100 (2002 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 13%
industry: 30%
services: 57% (2001 est.)
Population below poverty line:
55% (2001)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 1%
highest 10%: 44% (1999)
Distribution of family income - Gini index:
57.1 (1996)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
6.2% (2002 est.)
Labor force:
18.3 million (1999 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:
services 46%, agriculture 30%, industry 24% (1990)
Unemployment rate:
17.4% (2002 est.)
revenues: $24 billion
expenditures: $25.6 billion, includes capital expenditures of $NA (2001 est.)
textiles, food processing, oil, clothing and footwear, beverages, chemicals, cement; gold, coal, emeralds
Industrial production growth rate:
4% (2001 est.)
Electricity - production:
42.99 billion kWh (2001)
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 26%
hydro: 72.7%
other: 1.3% (2001)
nuclear: 0%
Electricity - consumption:
39.81 billion kWh (2001)
Electricity - exports:
210 million kWh (2001)
Electricity - imports:
40 million kWh (2001)
Oil - production:
614,400 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - consumption:
252,000 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - exports:
NA (2001)
Oil - imports:
NA (2001)
Oil - proved reserves:
1.8 billion bbl (37257)
Natural gas - production:
5.7 billion cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - consumption:
5.7 billion cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - exports:
0 cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - imports:
0 cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves:
132 billion cu m (37257)
Agriculture - products:
coffee, cut flowers, bananas, rice, tobacco, corn, sugarcane, cocoa beans, oilseed, vegetables; forest products; shrimp
$12.9 billion f.o.b. (2002 est.)
Exports - commodities:
petroleum, coffee, coal, apparel, bananas, cut flowers
Exports - partners:
US 44.8%, Venezuela 9.4%, Ecuador 6.8% (2002)
$12.5 billion f.o.b. (2002 est.)
Imports - commodities:
industrial equipment, transportation equipment, consumer goods, chemicals, paper products, fuels, electricity
Imports - partners:
US 32.6%, Venezuela 7%, Mexico 5.3%, Japan 5.3%, Brazil 5.2%, Germany 4.2% (2002)
Debt - external:
$38.4 billion (2002 est.)
Economic aid - recipient:
Colombian peso (COP)
Currency code:
Exchange rates:
Colombian pesos per US dollar - 2,504.24 (2002), 2,299.63 (2001), 2,087.9 (2000), 1,756.23 (1999), 1,426.04 (1998)
Fiscal year:
calendar year
Communications Colombia
Telephones - main lines in use:
5,433,565 (December 1997)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
1,800,229 (December 1998)
Telephone system:
general assessment: modern system in many respects
domestic: nationwide microwave radio relay system; domestic satellite system with 41 earth stations; fiber-optic network linking 50 cities
international: satellite earth stations - 6 Intelsat, 1 Inmarsat; 3 fully digitalized international switching centers; 8 submarine cables
Radio broadcast stations:
AM 454, FM 34, shortwave 27 (1999)
21 million (1997)
Television broadcast stations:
60 (includes seven low-power stations) (1997)
4.59 million (1997)
Internet country code:
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
18 (2000)
Internet users:
1.15 million (2002)
Transportation Colombia
total: 3,304 km
standard gauge: 150 km 1.435-m gauge
narrow gauge: 3,154 km 0.914-m gauge (2002)
total: 110,000 km
paved: 26,000 km
unpaved: 84,000 km (2000)
18,140 km (navigable by river boats) (April 1996)
gas 4,360 km; oil 6,134 km; refined products 3,140 km (2003)
Ports and harbors:
Bahia de Portete, Barranquilla, Buenaventura, Cartagena, Leticia, Puerto Bolivar, San Andres, Santa Marta, Tumaco, Turbo
Merchant marine:
total: 15 ships (1,000 GRT or over) 51,445 GRT/55,930 DWT
ships by type: bulk 5, cargo 6, container 1, petroleum tanker 3
note: includes a foreign-owned ship registered here as a flag of convenience: Germany 1 (2002 est.)
1,050 (2002)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 96
over 3,047 m: 2
2,438 to 3,047 m: 9
914 to 1,523 m: 36
under 914 m: 11 (2002)
1,524 to 2,437 m: 38
Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 954
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 51
under 914 m: 587 (2002)
914 to 1,523 m: 315
1 (2002)
Military Colombia
Military branches:
Army (Ejercito Nacional), Navy (Armada Nacional, includes Marines and Coast Guard), Air Force (Fuerza Aerea Colombiana), National Police (Policia Nacional)
Military manpower - military age:
18 years of age (2003 est.)
Military manpower - availability:
males age 15-49: 11,101,719 (2003 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service:
males age 15-49: 7,403,433 (2003 est.)
Military manpower - reaching military age annually:
males: 392,468 (2003 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
$3.3 billion (FY01)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
3.4% (FY01)
Transnational Issues Colombia
Disputes - international:
Nicaragua filed a claim against Honduras in 1999 and against Colombia in 2001 at ICJ over disputed maritime boundary involving 50,000 sq km in Caribbean Sea, includes Archipelago de San Andres y Providencia and Quita Sueno Bank; maritime boundary dispute with Venezuela in Gulf of Venezuela; Colombian drug activities penetrate Peruvian border area
Illicit drugs:
illicit producer of coca, opium poppy, and cannabis; world's leading coca cultivator (cultivation of coca in 2002 previously 144,450 hectares, a 15% decline since 2001); potential production of opium between 2001 and 2002 declined by 25% to 91 metric tons; potential production of heroin declined to 11.3 metric tons; world's largest processor of coca derivatives into cocaine; supplier of about 90% of cocaine to US market and great majority of cocaine to other international drug markets; important supplier of heroin to US market; active aerial eradication program; a significant portion of non-US narcotics proceeds are either laundered or invested in Colombia through black market peso exchange