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Introduction - Colombia:




Colombia was one of the three countries that emerged from the collapse of Gran Colombia in 1830 (the others are Ecuador and Venezuela). A 40-year conflict between government forces and anti-government insurgent groups and illegal paramilitary groups - both heavily funded by the drug trade - escalated during the 1990s. The insurgents lack the military or popular support necessary to overthrow the government, and violence has been decreasing since about 2002, but insurgents continue attacks against civilians and large swaths of the countryside are under guerrilla influence. More than 32,000 former paramilitaries had demobilized by the end of 2006 and the United Self Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC) as a formal organization had largely ceased to function. Still, some renegades continued to engage in criminal activities. The Colombian Government has stepped up efforts to reassert government control throughout the country, and now has a presence in every one of its municipalities. However, neighboring countries worry about the violence spilling over their borders.

Location - Colombia:


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


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

Area comparative

slightly less than twice the size of Texas

Land boundaries

total: 6,309 km
border countries: Brazil 1,644 km, Ecuador 590 km, Panama 225 km, Peru 1,800 km, Venezuela 2,050 km


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

Maritime claims

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


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 the same elevation

Natural resources

petroleum, natural gas, coal, iron ore, nickel, gold, copper, emeralds, hydropower

Land use

arable land: 2.01%
permanent crops: 1.37%
other: 96.62% (2005)

Irrigated land

9,000 sq km (2003)

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, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: Law of the Sea

Geography note

only South American country with coastlines on both the North Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea

People - Colombia:


44,379,598 (July 2007 est.)

Age structure

0-14 years: 29.8% (male 6,696,471/female 6,539,612)
15-64 years: 64.8% (male 14,012,140/female 14,732,874)
65 years and over: 5.4% (male 1,042,645/female 1,355,856) (2007 est.)

Median age

total: 26.6 years
male: 25.6 years
female: 27.5 years (2007 est.)

Population growth rate

1.433% (2007 est.)

Birth rate

20.16 births/1,000 population (2007 est.)

Death rate

5.54 deaths/1,000 population (2007 est.)

Net migration rate

-0.29 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2007 est.)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.024 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.951 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.769 male(s)/female
total population: 0.961 male(s)/female (2007 est.)

Infant mortality rate

total: 20.13 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 23.86 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 16.28 deaths/1,000 live births (2007 est.)

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 72.27 years
male: 68.44 years
female: 76.24 years (2007 est.)

Total fertility rate

2.51 children born/woman (2007 est.)

Hiv aids adult prevalence rate

0.7% (2003 est.)

Hiv aids people living with hiv aids

190,000 (2003 est.)

Hiv aids deaths

3,600 (2003 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%, other 10%




definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 92.8%
male: 92.9%
female: 92.7% (2004 est.)

Government - Colombia:

Country name

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

Government type

republic; executive branch dominates government structure


name: Bogota
geographic coordinates: 4 36 N, 74 05 W
time difference: UTC-5 (same time as Washington, DC during Standard Time)

Administrative divisions

32 departments (departamentos, singular - departamento) and 1 capital district* (distrito capital); Amazonas, Antioquia, Arauca, Atlantico, 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; amended many times

Legal system

based on Spanish law; a new criminal code modeled after US procedures was enacted into law in 2004 and is gradually being implemented; judicial review of executive and legislative acts


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 - the president is both the 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)
cabinet: Cabinet consists of a coalition of the three largest parties that supported President URIBEs reelection - the PSUN, PC, and CR - and independents
elections: president and vice president elected by popular vote for a four-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held 28 May 2006 (next to be held in May 2010)
election results: President Alvaro URIBE Velez reelected president; percent of vote - Alvaro URIBE Velez 62%, Carlos GAVIRIA Diaz 22%, Horacio SERPA Uribe 12%, other 4%

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 (166 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)
elections: Senate - last held 12 March 2006 (next to be held in March 2010); House of Representatives - last held 12 March 2006 (next to be held in March 2010)
election results: Senate - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - PSUN 20, PC 18, PL 18, CR 15, PDI 10, other parties 21; House of Representatives - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - PL 35, PSUN 33, PC 29, CR 20, PDA 8, other parties 41

Judicial branch

four roughly coequal, supreme judicial organs; Supreme Court of Justice or Corte Suprema de Justicia (highest court of criminal law; judges are selected by their peers from the nominees of the Superior Judicial Council for eight-year terms); Council of State (highest court of administrative law; judges are selected from the nominees of the Superior Judicial Council 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); Superior Judicial Council (administers and disciplines the civilian judiciary; resolves jurisdictional conflicts arising between other courts; members are elected by three sister courts and Congress for eight-year terms)

Political parties and leaders

Colombian Conservative Party or PC [Julio MANZUR Abdala]; Alternative Democratic Pole or PDA [Carlos GAVIRIA Diaz]; Liberal Party or PL [Cesar GAVIRIA Trujillo]; Radical Change or CR [German VARGAS Lleras]; Social National Unity Party or U Party [Carlos GARCIA Orjuela]
note: Colombia has 15 formally recognized political parties, and numerous unofficial parties that did not meet the vote threshold in the March 2006 legislative elections required for recognition

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


Diplomatic representation in the us

chief of mission: Ambassador Carolina BARCO Isakson
chancery: 2118 Leroy Place NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 387-8338
FAX: [1] (202) 232-8643
consulate(s) general: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, San Francisco, San Juan (Puerto Rico), Washington, DC

Diplomatic representation from the us

chief of mission: Ambassador William B. WOOD
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 the flag of Ecuador, which is longer and bears the Ecuadorian coat of arms superimposed in the center

Economy - Colombia:

Economy overview

Colombias economy has experienced positive growth over the past three years despite a serious armed conflict. The economy continues to improve in part because of austere government budgets, focused efforts to reduce public debt levels, an export-oriented growth strategy, an improved security situation in the country, and high commodity prices. Ongoing economic problems facing President URIBE range from reforming the pension system to reducing high unemployment, and to achieving congressional passage of a fiscal transfers reform; furthermore, new exploration is needed to offset declining oil production. However, the governments economic policy, democratic security strategy, and the signing of a free trade agreement with the US have engendered a growing sense of confidence in the economy, particularly within the business sector.

Gdp purchasing power parity

$374.4 billion (2006 est.)

Gdp official exchange rate

$106.8 billion (2006 est.)

Gdp real growth rate

6.8% (2006 est.)

Gdp per capita ppp

$8,600 (2006 est.)

Gdp composition by sector

agriculture: 12%
industry: 35.2%
services: 52.7% (2006 est.)

Labor force

20.81 million (2006 est.)

Labor force by occupation

agriculture: 22.7%
industry: 18.7%
services: 58.5% (2000 est.)

Unemployment rate

11.1% (2006 est.)

Population below poverty line

49.2% (2005)

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: 7.9%
highest 10%: 34.3% (2004)

Distribution of family income gini index

53.8 (2005)

Inflation rate consumer prices

4.3% (2006 est.)

Investment gross fixed

22.8% of GDP (2006 est.)


revenues: $50.7 billion
expenditures: $52.29 billion; including capital expenditures of $NA (2006 est.)

Public debt

45.3% of GDP (2006 est.)

Agriculture products

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


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

Industrial production growth rate

5.8% (2006 est.)

Electricity production

46.93 billion kWh (2004)

Electricity consumption

42.01 billion kWh (2004)

Electricity exports

1.682 billion kWh (2004)

Electricity imports

48 million kWh (2004)

Oil production

512,400 bbl/day (2005 est.)

Oil consumption

269,000 bbl/day (2004 est.)

Oil exports

NA bbl/day

Oil imports

NA bbl/day

Oil proved reserves

1.282 billion bbl (2006 est.)

Natural gas production

6.18 billion cu m (2004 est.)

Natural gas consumption

6.18 billion cu m (2004 est.)

Natural gas exports

0 cu m (2004 est.)

Natural gas imports

0 cu m (2004 est.)

Natural gas proved reserves

114.4 billion cu m (1 January 2005 est.)

Current account balance

-$2.219 billion (2006 est.)


$24.86 billion f.o.b. (2006 est.)

Exports commodities

petroleum, coffee, coal, nickel, emeralds, apparel, bananas, cut flowers

Exports partners

US 35.8%, Venezuela 10.4%, Ecuador 6.6% (2006)


$24.33 billion f.o.b. (2006 est.)

Imports commodities

industrial equipment, transportation equipment, consumer goods, chemicals, paper products, fuels, electricity

Imports partners

US 28.2%, Mexico 8.3%, Brazil 6.5%, China 6.3%, Venezuela 5.9%, Japan 4.3% (2006)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$16.5 billion (2006 est.)

Debt external

$37.21 billion (30 June 2006 est.)

Economic aid recipient


Currency code

Colombian peso (COP)

Exchange rates

Colombian pesos per US dollar - 2,358.6 (2006), 2,320.75 (2005), 2,628.61 (2004), 2,877.65 (2003), 2,504.24 (2002)

Communications - Colombia:

Fiscal year

calendar year

Telephones main lines in use

7.865 million (2006)

Telephones mobile cellular

29.763 million (2006)

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: country code - 57; 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)

Television broadcast stations

60 (1997)

Internet country code


Internet hosts

581,877 (2006)

Internet users

6.705 million (2006)

Transportation - Colombia:


984 (2006)

Airports with paved runways

total: 101
over 3,047 m: 2
2,438 to 3,047 m: 9
1,524 to 2,437 m: 38
914 to 1,523 m: 40
under 914 m: 12 (2006)

Airports with unpaved runways

total: 883
over 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 35
914 to 1,523 m: 275
under 914 m: 572 (2006)


2 (2006)


gas 4,360 km; oil 6,140 km; refined products 3,158 km (2006)


total: 3,304 km
standard gauge: 150 km 1.435-m gauge
narrow gauge: 3,154 km 0.914-m gauge (2006)


total: 112,988 km
paved: 16,270 km
unpaved: 96,718 km (2004)


18,000 km (2006)

Merchant marine

total: 17 ships (1000 GRT or over) 42,413 GRT/58,737 DWT
by type: cargo 13, liquefied gas 1, petroleum tanker 3
registered in other countries: 7 (Antigua and Barbuda 2, Panama 5) (2006)

Ports and terminals

Barranquilla, Buenaventura, Cartagena, Muelles El Bosque, Puerto Bolivar, Santa Marta, Turbo

Military - Colombia:

Military branches

National Army (Ejercito Nacional), National Navy (Armada Nacional, includes naval aviation, marine corps, and coast guard), Colombian Air Force (Fuerza Aerea de Colombia, FAC) (2007)

Military service age and obligation

18-24 years of age for compulsory and voluntary military service; service obligation - 18 months (2004)

Manpower available for military service

males age 18-49: 10,212,456
females age 18-49: 10,561,562 (2005 est.)

Manpower fit for military service

males age 18-49: 6,986,228
females age 18-49: 8,794,465 (2005 est.)

Manpower reaching military service age annually

males age 18-49: 389,735
females age 18-49: 383,146 (2005 est.)

Refugees and internally displaced persons

IDPs: 1.8-3.8 million (conflict between government and illegal armed groups and FARC factions; drug wars) (2006)

Military expenditures percent of gdp

3.4% (2005 est.)

Disputes international

memorials and countermemorials were filed by the parties in Nicaraguas 1999 and 2001 proceedings against Honduras and Colombia at the ICJ over the maritime boundary and territorial claims in the western Caribbean Sea - final public hearings are scheduled for 2007; dispute with Venezuela over maritime boundary and Venezuelan-administered Los Monjes Islands near the Gulf of Venezuela; Colombian-organized illegal narcotics, guerrilla, and paramilitary activities penetrate all of its neighbors borders and have caused over 300,000 persons to flee the country, mostly into neighboring states

This page was last updated on 16 September, 2007
Source: CIA >>>

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