Background:   Colombia was one of the three countries that emerged from the collapse of Gran Colombia in 1830 (the others are Ecuador and Venezuela). A nearly five-decade long conflict between government forces and anti-government insurgent groups, principally the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) heavily funded by the drug trade, escalated during the 1990s. More than 31,000 former paramilitaries had demobilized by the end of 2006 and the United Self Defense Forces of Colombia as a formal organization had ceased to function. In the wake of the paramilitary demobilization, emerging criminal groups arose, whose members include some former paramilitaries. The insurgents lack the military or popular support necessary to overthrow the government, but continue attacks against civilians. Large areas of the countryside are under guerrilla influence or are contested by security forces. In November 2012, the Colombian Government started formal peace negotiations with the FARC aimed at reaching a definitive bilateral ceasefire and incorporating demobilized FARC members into mainstream society and politics. The Colombian Government has stepped up efforts to reassert government control throughout the country, and now has a presence in every one of its administrative departments. Despite decades of internal conflict and drug related security challenges, Colombia maintains relatively strong democratic institutions characterized by peaceful, transparent elections and the protection of civil liberties.

Colombia       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: 6,672 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

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, hydropower

Land use:    arable land: 1.84%
permanent crops: 1.66%
other: 96.5% (2011)

Irrigated land:    10,870 sq km (2011)

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, 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

Colombia       People

Population:   46,245,297 (July 2014 est.)

Age structure:    0-14 years: 25.3% (male 5,998,645/female 5,720,229)
15-64 years: 18% (male 4,243,251/female 4,099,299)

25-54 years: 41.6% (male 9,515,723/female 9,720,894)
55-64 years: 8.3% (male 1,796,050/female 2,051,948)

65 years and over: 6.5% (male 1,293,258/female 1,806,000) (2014 est.)

Population growth rate:  1.07% (2014 est.)

Birth rate:    16.73 births/1,000 population (2014 est.)

Death rate:    5.36 deaths/1,000 population (2014 est.)

Net migration rate:  -0.65 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2014 est.)

Sex ratio:    at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female

at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 0.98 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.98 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.72 male(s)/female
total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2014 est.)

Infant mortality rate:    total: 15.02 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 18.22 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 11.62 deaths/1,000 live births (2014 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:    total population: 75.25 years
male: 72.08 years
female:78.61 years (2014 est.)

Total fertility rate:   2.07 children born/woman (2014 est.)

HIV/AIDS – adult prevalence rate:    0.5% (2012 est.)

HIV/AIDS – people living with HIV/AIDS:   146,500 (2012 est.)

HIV/AIDS – deaths:    6,500 (2012 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%, other 10%

Languages:    Spanish(official)

Literacy:    definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 93.6%
male: 93.5%
female: 93.7% (2011 est.)

Colombia       Government

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

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, amended many times, last in 2011 (2013)

Legal system:   civil law system influenced by the Spanish and French civil codes

Suffrage:    18 years of age; universal

Executive branch:    chief of state: President Juan Manuel SANTOS Calderon (since 7 August 2010); Vice President Angelino GARZON (since 7 August 2010); note – the president is both chief of state and head of government
head of government: President Juan Manuel SANTOS Calderon (since 7 August 2010); Vice President Angelino GARZON (since 7 August 2010)

cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president
elections: president and vice president elected by popular vote for a four-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held on 30 May 2010 with a runoff election 20 June 2010 (next to be held on 25 May 2014)

election results: Juan Manuel SANTOS Calderon elected president in runoff election; percent of vote – Juan Manuel SANTOS Calderon 69.06%, Antanas MOCKUS 27.52%

Legislative branch:    bicameral Congress or Congreso consists of the Senate or Senado (102 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms) and the Chamber of Representatives or Camara de Representantes (166 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)

elections: Senate – last held on 9 March 2014 (next to be held in March 2018); Chamber of Representatives – last held on 9 March 2014 (next to be held in March 2018)
election results: Senate – percent of vote by party – NA; seats by party – U Party 21, PC 19, CD 19, PL 17, CR 9, PDA 5, Green Party 5, other parties 7; Chamber of Representatives – percent of vote by party – NA; seats by party – U Party 39, PL 37, PC 27, CR 16, CD 12, Green Party 6, PDA 3, other parties 26

Judicial branch:    highest court(s): Supreme Court of Justice or Corte Suprema de Justicia (consists of the Civil-Agrarian and Labor Chambers each with 7 judges, and the Penal Chamber with 9 judges); Constitutional Court (consists of 9 magistrates); Council of State (consists of 27 magistrates)

judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court judges appointed by the Congress from candidates submitted by the president; judges appointed for life; Constitutional Court magistrates – 3 nominated by the president, 3 by the Supreme Court, and 3 elected by the Senate; judges elected for individual 2-8 year terms
subordinate courts: Superior Tribunals (appellate courts for each of the judicial districts); regional courts; civil municipal courts; Superior Military Tribunal; first instance administrative courts

Political parties and leaders:   Alternative Democratic Pole or PDA [Clara LOPEZ]

Conservative Party or PC [Omar YEPES Alzate]
Democratic Center Party or CD [Alvaro URIBE Velez]
Green Party [Alfonso PRADA]
Liberal Party or PL [Simon GAVIRIA Munoz]
National Integration Party or PIN [Angel ALIRIO Moreno]
Radical Change or CR [Carlos Fernando GALAN]
Social National Unity Party or U Party [Sergio Diaz GANADOS]
note: Colombia has seven major political parties, and numerous smaller movements

Political pressure groups and leaders:    Central Union of Workers or CUT

Colombian Confederation of Workers or CTC
General Confederation of Workers or CGT
National Liberation Army or ELN
Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia or FARC
note: FARC and ELN are the two largest insurgent groups active in Colombia

International organization participation:    BCIE, BIS, CAN, Caricom (observer), CD, CDB, CELAC, FAO, G-3, G-24, G-77, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (national committees), ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), LAES, LAIA, Mercosur (associate), MIGA, NAM, OAS, OPANAL, OPCW, Pacific Alliance, PCA, UN, UNASUR, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, Union Latina, UNSC (temporary), UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO

Diplomatic representation in the US:    chief of mission: Ambassador Luis Carlos VILLEGAS Echeverri (since 3 December 2013)
chancery: 2118 Leroy Place NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 387-8338
FAX: [1] (202) 232-8643
consulate(s) general: Atlanta, Beverly Hills (CA), Boston, Chicago, Houston, Miami, New York, San Francisco, San Juan (Puerto Rico)

consulate(s): Newark (NJ)

Diplomatic representation from the US:    chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d’Affaires Benjamin ZIFF
embassy: Calle 24 Bis No. 48-50, Bogota, D.C.
mailing address: Carrera 45 No. 24B-27, Bogota, D.C.
telephone: [57] (1) 275-2000
FAX: [57] (1) 275-4600

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

Colombia       Economy

Economy – overview:    Colombia’s consistently sound economic policies and aggressive promotion of free trade agreements in recent years have bolstered its ability to weather external shocks. Real GDP has grown more than 4% per year for the past three years, continuing almost a decade of strong economic performance. All three major ratings agencies have upgraded Colombia’s government debt to investment grade. Nevertheless, Colombia depends heavily on energy and mining exports, making it vulnerable to a drop in commodity prices. Colombia is the world’s fourth largest coal exporter and Latin America’s fourth largest oil producer. Economic development is stymied by inadequate infrastructure and an uncertain security situation. Moreover, the unemployment rate of 9.7% in 2013 is still one of Latin America’s highest. The SANTOS Administration’s foreign policy has focused on bolstering Colombia’s commercial ties and boosting investment at home. Colombia has signed or is negotiating Free Trade Agreements (FTA) with more than a dozen countries; the US-Colombia FTA went into force on May 2012. Colombia is also a founding member of the Pacific Alliance – a regional grouping formed in 2012 by Chile, Colombia, Mexico, and Peru to promote regional trade and economic integration. In 2013, Colombia began its ascension process to the OECD. The annual level of foreign direct investment – notably in the oil and gas sectors – reached a record high of $16.8 billion in 2013, an increase of 7% over 2012. Inequality, poverty, and narcotrafficking remain significant challenges, and Colombia’s infrastructure requires major improvements to sustain economic expansion.

GDP:   $526.5 billion (2013 est.)

GDP – real growth rate:  4.2% (2013 est.)

GDP – per capita:    $11,100 (2013 est.)

GDP – composition by sector:    agriculture: %17%
industry: 21%
services: 53.3% (2005 est.)

Population below poverty line:    62% (2011 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share:    lowest 10%:  0.9%
highest 10%: 44.4% (2010)

Inflation rate (consumer prices):  2.2% (2013 est.)

Labor force:    23.75 million (2013 est.)

Labor force – by occupation:    agriculture: 17%
industry: 21%
services: 62% (2011 est.)

Unemployment rate:  9.7% (2013 est.)

Electricity – production:
61.82 billion kWh (2011 est.)
Electricity – consumption:
45.35 billion kWh (2010 est.)
Electricity – exports:
1.294 billion kWh (2011 est.)
Electricity – imports:
8.22 billion kWh (2011 est.)
Electricity – installed generating capacity:
13.54 million kW (2010 est.)
Electricity – from fossil fuels:
32.9% of total installed capacity (2010 est.)
Electricity – from nuclear fuels:
0% of total installed capacity (2010 est.)
Electricity – from hydroelectric plants:
66.6% of total installed capacity (2010 est.)
Electricity – from other renewable sources:
0.4% of total installed capacity (2010 est.)
Crude oil – production:
969,100 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Colombia       Transnational Issues

Disputes – international:   in December 2007, ICJ allocated San Andres, Providencia, and Santa Catalina islands to Colombia under 1928 Treaty but did not rule on 82 degrees W meridian as maritime boundary with Nicaragua; managed 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 neighboring borders and have caused Colombian citizens to flee mostly into neighboring countries; Colombia, Honduras, Nicaragua, Jamaica, and the US assert various claims to Bajo Nuevo and Serranilla Bank.

Illicit drugs:    illicit producer of coca, opium poppy, and cannabis; world’s leading coca cultivator with 83,000 hectares in coca cultivation in 2011, a 17% decrease over 2010, producing a potential of 195 mt of pure cocaine; the world’s largest producer of coca derivatives; supplies cocaine to nearly all of the US market and the great majority of other international drug markets; in 2012, aerial eradication dispensed herbicide to treat over 100,549 hectares combined with manual eradication of 30,486 hectares; a significant portion of narcotics proceeds are either laundered or invested in Colombia through the black market peso exchange; important supplier of heroin to the US market; opium poppy cultivation is estimated to have fallen to 1,100 hectares in 2009 while pure heroin production declined to 2.1 mt; most Colombian heroin is destined for the US market (2013)

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