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Flag of Colombia

Country Profile

Capital City: Bogotá formerly Santa Fe de Bogotá, (pop. about 6 million)

Other Cities: Medellín, Cali, Barranquilla, Cartagena.

Local Time: UTC -5h

Location: Northern South America, bordering the Caribbean Sea, between Panama and Venezuela, and bordering the North Pacific Ocean, between Ecuador and Panama.
Area: 1.14 million sq. km. (440,000 sq. mi.), fourth-largest country in South America.
Terrain: Flat coastal areas, with extensive coastlines on the Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea, three rugged parallel mountain chains, central highlands, and flat eastern grasslands.
Border countries: Brazil, Ecuador, Panama, Peru, Venezuela

Climate: Tropical on coast and eastern plains, cooler in highlands.


Type: Republic
Independence: 20 July 1810.

Nationality: Noun and adjective--Colombian(s).
Population: 42 million.
GNI per capita PPP: $ 7 303 (year) Ethnic groups: Mestizo 58%, white 20%, mulatto 14%, black 4%, mixed black-Amerindian 3%, Amerindian 1% Religion: Roman Catholic 90%.
Language: Spanish Literacy: 93% in urban areas, 67% in rural areas.


Currency: Colombian Peso (COP)

Natural resources: Coal, petroleum, natural gas, iron ore, nickel, gold, silver, copper, platinum, emeralds.

Agriculture products: Coffee, cut flowers, bananas, rice, tobacco, corn, sugarcane, cocoa beans, oilseed, vegetables; forest products; shrimp.

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

Exports partners:
USA 47.1%, Ecuador 6%, Venezuela 5.3% (2003)

Imports partners: USA 29.6%, Brazil 5.5%, Mexico 5.4%, Venezuela 5.2%, China 5%, Japan 4.6%, Germany 4.4% (2003)

Internet Links

Official Sites of Colombia


Senado de la República


Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores

Diplomatic Missions
Permanent Mission of Colombia to the United Nations

Embassy of Colombia in the U.S.

Foreign Missions in Colombia

Colombian Missions Abroad

Departamento Administrativo Nacional de Estadistica - DANE

Map of Colombia

Map of Central America and the Caribbean

Map of South America



Background:  Colombia was one of the three countries that emerged from
the collapse of Gran Colombia in 1830 (the others being Ecuador and
Venezuela). A 40-year insurgent campaign to overthrow the Colombian
Government escalated during the 1990s, undergirded in part by funds
from the drug trade.  Although the violence is deadly and large swaths
of the countryside are under guerrilla influence, the movement lacks
the military strength or popular support necessary to overthrow the
government.  An anti-insurgent army of paramilitaries has grown to be
several thousand strong in recent years, challenging the insurgents for
control of territory and illicit industries such as the drug trade and
the government's ability to exert its dominion over rural areas. While
Bogota continues to try to negotiate a settlement, neighboring countries
worry about the violence spilling over their borders.

Geography Colombia

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

Area:  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 the 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

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 territorial sea: 12 NM exclusive economic zone: 200 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:
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% other: 96% (1998 est.)  permanent crops: 2%

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 the Sea, Marine Dumping

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

People Colombia

Population:  41,008,227 (July 2002 est.)

Age structure:   31.6% (male 6,552,961; female 6,399,666) 15-64 years:
(male 886,921; female 1,098,961) (2002 est.)

Population growth rate:  1.6% (2002 est.)

Birth rate:  21.99 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Death rate:  5.66 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Net migration rate:  -0.32 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 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:
0.81 male(s)/female total population: 0.97 male(s)/female (2002 est.)

Infant mortality rate:  23.21 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:   74.83 years (2002 est.)  male: Total fertility
rate:  2.64 children born/woman (2002 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:  0.31% (1999 est.)

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:  71,000 (1999 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths:  1,700 (1999 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 90%

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 Colombia

Country name:   Republic of Colombia conventional short form: Government
type:  republic; executive branch dominates government structure

Capital:  Bogota

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

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 Andres PASTRANA (since
7 August 1998); Vice President Gustavo BELL Lemus (since 7 August
1998); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of
government head of government:  BELL Lemus (since 7 August 1998);
note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
cabinet: Cabinet consists of a coalition of the two dominant parties -
the PL and PSC - and independents elections:  election last held 26
May 2002 (next to be held NA May 2006) election results: on 26 May
2002, President-elect Alvaro URIBE Velez received 53% of the vote;
Vice President-elect Francisco SANTOS was elected on the same ticket;
they will take office in August 2002

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:  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 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); Higher
Council of Justice (administers and disciplines the civilian judiciary;
members of the 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 [Horatio SERPA Uribe]; Patriotic Union or
UP is a legal political party formed by Revolutionary Armed Forces of
Colombia or FARC and 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:  BCIE, CAN, Caricom (observer),
UN Security Council (temporary), UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNU, UPU,

Diplomatic representation in the 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): Diplomatic representation from the 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 the flag of Ecuador, which is longer and bears
the Ecuadorian coat of arms superimposed in the center

Economy Colombia

Economy - overview:  Colombia's economy suffered from weak domestic
demand, austere government budgets, and a difficult security situation. A
new president takes office in 2002 and will face economic challenges
ranging from pension reform to reduction of 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. Problems in public security are a
concern for Colombian business leaders, who are calling for progress in
the government's peace negotiations with insurgent groups. Colombia is
looking for continued support from the international community to boost
economic and peace prospects.

GDP:  purchasing power parity - $255 billion (2001 est.)

GDP - real growth rate:  1.5% (2001 est.)

GDP - per capita:  purchasing power parity - $6,300 (2001 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:  agriculture: 19% industry: 26% services:
55% (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):  7.6% (2001)

Labor force:  18.3 million (1999 est.)

Labor force - by occupation:  services 46%, agriculture 30%, industry 24%

Unemployment rate:  17% (2001 est.)

Budget:  revenues: $24 billion expenditures: $25.6 billion, including
capital expenditures of $NA (2001 est.)

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

Industrial production growth rate:  4% (2001 est.)

Electricity - production:  43.342 billion kWh (2000)

Electricity - production by source:  fossil fuel: 25.93% hydro: 73.09%
other: 0.98% (2000) nuclear: 0%

Electricity - consumption:  40.348 billion kWh (2000)

Electricity - exports:  37 million kWh (2000)

Electricity - imports:  77 million kWh (2000)

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

Exports:  $12.3 billion (f.o.b., 2001 est.)

Exports - commodities:  petroleum, coffee, coal, apparel, bananas,
cut flowers

Exports - partners:  US 43%, Andean Community of Nations 22%, EU 14%,
(2001 est.)

Imports:  $12.7 billion (c.i.f., 2001 est.)

Imports - commodities:  industrial equipment, transportation equipment,
consumer goods, chemicals, paper products, fuels, electricity

Imports - partners:  US 35%, EU 16%, Andean Community of Nations 15%,
Japan 5% (2001 est.)

Debt - external:  $39 billion (2001 est.)

Economic aid - recipient:  $NA

Currency:  Colombian peso (COP)

Currency code:  COP

Exchange rates:  Colombian pesos per US dollar - 2,275.89 (January 2002),
2,299.63 (2001), 2,087.90 (2000), 1,756.23 (1999), 1,426.04 (1998),
1,140.96 (1997)

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)

Radios:  21 million (1997)

Television broadcast stations:  60 (includes seven low-power stations)

Televisions:  4.59 million (1997)

Internet country code:  .co

Internet Service Providers (ISPs):  18 (2000)

Internet users:  878,000 (2001)

Transportation Colombia

Railways:  total: 3,304 km standard gauge: 150 km 1.435-m gauge (connects
Cerrejon coal mines to maritime port at Bahia de Portete) narrow gauge:
3,154 km 0.914-m gauge (major sections not in use) (2000 est.)

Highways:  total: 110,000 km paved: 26,000 km unpaved: 84,000 km (2000)

Waterways:  18,140 km (navigable by river boats) (April 1996)

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

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

Merchant marine:  total: 11 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 32,438
GRT/43,126 DWT
 bulk 5, cargo 3, container 1, petroleum tanker 2 note:  Germany 1
 (2002 est.)

Airports:  1,066 (2001)

Airports - with paved runways:  total: 93 over 3,047 m: 2 2,438 to 3,047
m: 9 914 to 1,523 m: 36 under 914 m: 9 (2001) 1,524 to 2,437 m: 37

Airports - with unpaved runways:  total: 973 2,438 to 3,047 m: 1 1,524
to 2,437 m: 58 under 914 m: 602 (2001) 914 to 1,523 m: 312

Heliports:  1 (2001)

Military Colombia

Military branches:  Army (Ejercito Nacional), Navy (Armada Nacional,
including Marines and Coast Guard), Air Force (Fuerza Aerea Colombiana),
National Police (Policia Nacional)

Military manpower - military age:  18 years of age (2002 est.)

Military manpower - availability:  males age 15-49: 10,946,932 (2002 est.)

Military manpower - fit for military service:  males age 15-49: 7,308,703
(2002 est.)

Military manpower - reaching military age annually:  males: 379,295
(2002 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 the ICJ over disputed maritime
boundary involving 50,000 sq km in the Caribbean Sea, including the
Archipelago de San Andres y Providencia and Quita Sueno Bank; maritime
boundary dispute with Venezuela in the Gulf of Venezuela; Colombian drug
activities penetrate Peruvian border area

Illicit drugs:  illicit producer of coca, opium poppies, and cannabis;
world's leading coca cultivator (cultivation of coca in 2000 - 136,200
hectares, an 11% increase over 1999); potential production of opium
since 1995 has remained relatively stable at 66 metric tons; potential
production of heroin has averaged 6.5 metric tons; the world's largest
processor of coca derivatives into cocaine; supplier of about 90%
of the cocaine to the US and the great majority of cocaine to other
international drug markets, and an important supplier of heroin to the
US market; active aerial eradication program

This page was last updated on 1 January 2002

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