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Countries > Colombia Colombia Flag

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Capital: Bogota
Population: 37,500,000
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Colombia Map


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

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: 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

Land use:
arable land: 2%
permanent crops: 2%
other:96% (1998 est.)

Irrigated land: 8,500 sq km (1998 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, 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, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping

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


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

Age structure:
0-14 years : 31.6% (male 6,552,961; female 6,399,666)
15-64 years:63.6% (male 12,694,293; female 13,375,425)
65 years and over:4.8% (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:
total population: 70.85 years
male:67 years
female :74.83 years (2002 est.)

Total fertility rate:2.64 children born/woman (2002 est.)

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

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


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, 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 procedureswas enacted in 1992-93; judicial review of executive and legislative acts; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction, with reservations

Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal and compulsory

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: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
cabinet: Cabinet consists of a coalition of the two dominant parties - the 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 : Eon 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: 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 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

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, 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 Luis Alberto MORENO Mejia
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 Anne W. PATTERSON
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 - 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.)

Inflation rate - consumer price index: 7.6% (2001)

Labor force:
total: 18.3 million (1999 est.)
by occupation: services 46%, agriculture 30%, industry 24% (1990)

Unemployment rate: 17% (2001 est.)

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 - capacity: 10,583,700 kW (1995)

Electricity - production: 43.342 billion kWh (2000)

Electricity - consumption per capita: 40.348 billion kWh (2000)

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

total value: $12.3 billion (f.o.b., 2001 est.)
commodities: petroleum, coffee, coal, bananas, fresh cut flowers
partners : US 43%, Andean Community of Nations 22%, EU 14%, (2001 est.)

total value: $12.7 billion (c.i.f., 2001 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: $39 billion (2001 est.)

Economic aid:
recipient: $NA

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

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


Telephones: 5,433,565 (December 1997)

Telephone system: 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: 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) (1997)

Televisions:4.59 million (1997)


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.)

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: 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
ships by type:bulk 5, cargo 3, container 1, petroleum tanker 2
note: includes a foreign-owned ship registered here as a flag of convenience: Germany 1 (2002 est.)

Airports: 1,066 (2001)

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

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


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

Military manpower - availability:
males age 15-49: 10,285,806 (2002 est.)

Military manpower - fit for military service:
males : 10,946,932 (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

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

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