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COLOMBIA
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Geography

Location: Northern South America, bordering the Caribbean Sea, between Panama and Venezuela, and bordering the North Pacific Ocean, between Ecuador and Panama

Geographic coordinates: 4 00 N, 72 00 W

Map references: South America, Central America and the Caribbean

Area:
total: 1,138,910 sq km
land: 1,038,700 sq km
water: 100,210 sq km
note: includes Isla de Malpelo, Roncador Cay, Serrana Bank, and Serranilla Bank

Area—comparative: slightly less than three times the size of Montana

Land boundaries:
total: 7,408 km
border countries: Brazil 1,643 km, Ecuador 590 km, Panama 225 km, Peru 2,900 km, Venezuela 2,050 km

Coastline: 3,208 km (Caribbean Sea 1,760 km, North Pacific Ocean 1,448 km)

Maritime claims:
continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
territorial sea: 12 nm

Climate: tropical along coast and eastern plains; cooler in highlands

Terrain: flat coastal lowlands, central highlands, high Andes Mountains, eastern lowland plains

Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point: Nevado del Huila 5,750 m

Natural resources: petroleum, natural gas, coal, iron ore, nickel, gold, copper, emeralds

Land use:
arable land: 4%
permanent crops: 1%
permanent pastures: 39%
forests and woodland: 48%
other: 8% (1993 est.)

Irrigated land: 5,300 sq km (1993 est.)

Natural hazards: highlands subject to volcanic eruptions; occasional earthquakes; periodic droughts

Environment—current issues: deforestation; soil damage from overuse of pesticides; air pollution, especially in Bogota, from vehicle emissions

Environment—international agreements:
party to: Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Marine Life Conservation, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94
signed, but not ratified: Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Desertification, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping

Geography—note: only South American country with coastlines on both North Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea

 
People

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Population: 38,580,949 (July 1998 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 33% (male 6,474,927; female 6,321,404)
15-64 years: 62% (male 11,725,078; female 12,333,982)
65 years and over: 5% (male 780,486; female 945,072) (July 1998 est.)

Population growth rate: 1.89% (1998 est.)

Birth rate: 24.93 births/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Death rate: 5.69 deaths/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Net migration rate: -0.34 migrant(s)/1,000 population (1998 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: 0.83 male(s)/female (1998 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 25.44 deaths/1,000 live births (1998 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 70.06 years
male: 66.15 years
female: 74.11 years (1998 est.)

Total fertility rate: 2.9 children born/woman (1998 est.)

Nationality:
noun: Colombian(s)
adjective: Colombian

Ethnic groups: mestizo 58%, white 20%, mulatto 14%, black 4%, mixed black-Amerindian 3%, Amerindian 1%

Religions: Roman Catholic 95%

Languages: Spanish

Literacy:
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 91.3%
male: 91.2%
female: 91.4% (1995 est.)

 
Government

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Country name:
conventional long form: Republic of Colombia
conventional short form: Colombia
local long form: Republica de Colombia
local short form: Colombia

Data code: CO

Government type: republic; executive branch dominates government structure

National capital: Bogota

Administrative divisions: 32 departments (departamentos, singular—departamento) and 1 capital district* (distrito capital); Amazonas, Antioquia, Arauca, Atlantico, 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, Distrito Capital de Santa Fe de Bogota*, Santander, Sucre, Tolima, Valle del Cauca, Vaupes, Vichada

Independence: 20 July 1810 (from Spain)

National holiday: Independence Day, 20 July (1810)

Constitution: 5 July 1991

Legal system: based on Spanish law; a new criminal code modeled after US procedures was enacted in 1992-93; judicial review of executive and legislative acts; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction, with reservations

Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal

Executive branch:
chief of state: President Ernesto SAMPER Pizano (since 7 August 1994); note—the president is both the chief of state and head of government
head of government: President Ernesto SAMPER Pizano (since 7 August 1994); note—the president is both the chief of state and head of government
cabinet: Cabinet
elections: president elected by popular vote for a four-year term; election last held 29 May 1994 (next to be held May 1998); vice president elected by popular vote for a four-year term in a new procedure that replaces the traditional designation of vice presidents by newly elected presidents
election results: Ernesto SAMPER Pizano elected president; percent of vote—no candidate received more than 50% of the total vote, therefore, a run-off election to select a president from the two leading candidates was held 19 June 1994; percent of vote—Ernesto SAMPER Pizano (Liberal Party) 50.4%, Andres PASTRANA Arango (Conservative Party) 48.6%, blank votes 1%; Humberto de la CALLE Lombana elected vice president; percent of vote—NA

Legislative branch: bicameral Congress or Congreso consists of the Senate or Senado (102 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms) and the House of Representatives or Camara de Representantes (161 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)
elections: Senate—last held 13 March 1994 (next to be held March 1998); House of Representatives—last held 13 March 1994 (next to be held March 1998)
election results: Senate—percent of vote by party—NA; seats by party—Liberal Party 59, conservatives (includes PC and NDF) 31, other 12; House of Representatives - percent of vote by party—NA; seats by party—Liberal Party 89, conservatives (includes PC and NDF) 53, AD/M-19 2, other 17

Judicial branch: Supreme Court of Justice (Corte Suprema de Justical), highest court of criminal law, judges are selected from the nominees of the Higher Council of Justice for eight-year terms; Council of State, highest court of administrative law, judges are selected from the nominees of the Higher Council of Justice for eight-year terms; Constitutional Court, guards integrity and supremacy of the constitution, rules on constitutionality of laws, amendments to the constitution, and international treaties

Political parties and leaders: Liberal Party or PL [Emilio LEBOLO Castellanos]; Conservative Party or PC [Hugo ESCOBAR Sierra]; New Democratic Force or NDF [Andres PASTRANA Arango]; Democratic Alliance M-19 or AD/M-19 is a coalition of small leftist parties and dissident liberals and conservatives; Patriotic Union (UP) is a legal political party formed by Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and Colombian Communist Party (PCC)

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

International organization participation: AG, CCC, CDB, ECLAC, FAO, G- 3, G-11, G-24, G-77, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO (pending member), ILO, IMF, IMO, Inmarsat, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO, ITU, LAES, LAIA, MINUGUA, NAM, OAS, OPANAL, PCA, RG, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNU, UPU, WCL, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO

Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Juan Carlos ESGUERRA Portocarrero
chancery: 2118 Leroy Place NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 387-8338
FAX: [1] (202) 232-8643
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 and Tampa

Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Curtis Warren KAMMAN
embassy: Calle 22D-BIS, No. 47-51, Apartado Aereo 3831
mailing address: 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 the flag of Ecuador, which is longer and bears the Ecuadorian coat of arms superimposed in the center

 
Economy

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Economy—overview: Columbia is recovering from a short recession that began in late 1996 - resulting from tight monetary policy to drive down inflation, declining business confidence related to President SAMPER's political difficulties, and a slowdown in exports stemming from an appreciation of the peso and a recession in neighboring Venezuela. Although 1997's 3.1% GDP growth rate represented an improvement over 1996, it ranked among the lowest in Latin America and was substantially lower than the average annual growth rate exceeding 4% that Colombia posted for several decades prior to SAMPER's election. Colombia's next president will inherit a variety of economic problems. Most notably, the unemployment rate is at its highest level this decade, risks for the export sector and foreign investors are rising as a result of increasing guerrilla violence and a volatile exchange rate, and the fiscal deficit has more than tripled since 1994.

GDP: purchasing power parity—$231.1 billion (1997 est.)

GDP—real growth rate: 3.1% (1997 est.)

GDP—per capita: purchasing power parity—$6,200 (1997 est.)

GDP—composition by sector:
agriculture: 19%
industry: 26%
services: 55% (1996)

Inflation rate—consumer price index: 17.7% (1997 est.)

Labor force:
total: 16.8 million (1997 est.)
by occupation: services 46%, agriculture 30%, industry 24% (1990)

Unemployment rate: 12.2% (1997 est.)

Budget:
revenues: $26 billion (1996 est.)
expenditures: $30 billion including capital expenditures of $NA (1996 est.)

Industries: textiles, food processing, oil, clothing and footwear, beverages, chemicals, cement; gold, coal, emeralds

Industrial production growth rate: -1.2% (1996)

Electricity—capacity: 10.781 million kW (1995)

Electricity—production: 47 billion kWh (1995)

Electricity—consumption per capita: 1,307 kWh (1995)

Agriculture—products: coffee, cut flowers, bananas, rice, tobacco, corn, sugarcane, cocoa beans, oilseed, vegetables; forest products; shrimp farming

Exports:
total value: $11.4 billion (f.o.b., 1997 est.)
commodities: petroleum, coffee, coal, bananas, fresh cut flowers
partners: US 39%, EC 25.7%, Japan 2.9%, Venezuela 8.5% (1992)

Imports:
total value: $13.5 billion (c.i.f., 1997 est.)
commodities: industrial equipment, transportation equipment, consumer goods, chemicals, paper products
partners: US 36%, EC 18%, Brazil 4%, Venezuela 6.5%, Japan 8.7% (1992)

Debt—external: $17.1 billion (1997 est.)

Economic aid:
recipient: ODA, $30 million (1993)

Currency: 1 Colombian peso (Col$) = 100 centavos

Exchange rates: Colombian pesos (Col$) per US$1—1345.0 (February 1998), 1,140.96 (1997), 1,036.69 (1996), 912.83 (1995), 844.84 (1994), 863.06 (1993)

Fiscal year: calendar year

 
Communications

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Telephones: 1.89 million (1986 est.)

Telephone system: modern system in many respects
domestic: nationwide microwave radio relay system; domestic satellite system with 11 earth stations
international: satellite earth stations—2 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean)

Radio broadcast stations: AM 413 (licensed), FM 217 (licensed), shortwave 28

Radios: NA

Television broadcast stations: 33

Televisions: 5.5 million (1993 est.)

 
Transportation

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Railways:
total: 3,386 km
standard gauge: 150 km 1.435-m gauge (connects Cerrejon coal mines to maritime port at Bahia Portete)
narrow gauge: 3,236 km 0.914-m gauge (1,830 km in use) (1995)

Highways:
total: 107,000 km
paved: 12,733 km
unpaved: 94,267 km (1996 est.)

Waterways: 14,300 km, navigable by river boats

Pipelines: crude oil 3,585 km; petroleum products 1,350 km; natural gas 830 km; natural gas liquids 125 km

Ports and harbors: Barranquilla, Buenaventura, Cartagena, Leticia, Puerto Bolivar, San Andres, Santa Marta, Tumaco, Turbo

Merchant marine:
total: 19 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 70,775 GRT/94,677 DWT
ships by type: bulk 5, cargo 8, container 1, multi-function large load carrier 2, oil tanker 3 (1997 est.)

Airports: 1,136 (1997 est.)

Airports—with paved runways:
total: 86
over 3,047 m: 2
2,438 to 3,047 m: 10
1,524 to 2,437 m: 36
914 to 1,523 m: 31
under 914 m: 7 (1997 est.)

Airports—with unpaved runways:
total: 1,050
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 65
914 to 1,523 m: 348
under 914 m: 636 (1997 est.)

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