[Country map of Colombia]



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

Map references: South America

total area: 1,138,910 sq km
land area: 1,038,700 sq km
comparative area: slightly less than three times the size of Montana
note: includes Isla de Malpelo, Roncador Cay, Serrana Bank, and Serranilla Bank

Land boundaries: total 7,408 km, 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

International disputes: maritime boundary dispute with Venezuela in the Gulf of Venezuela; territorial dispute with Nicaragua over Archipelago de San Andres y Providencia and Quita Sueno Bank

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

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

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

Land use:
arable land: 4%
permanent crops: 2%
meadows and pastures: 29%
forest and woodland: 49%
other: 16%

Irrigated land: 5,150 sq km (1989 est.)

current issues: deforestation; soil damage from overuse of pesticides; air pollution, especially in Bogota, from vehicle emissions
natural hazards: highlands subject to volcanic eruptions; occasional earthquakes; periodic droughts
international agreements: party to - Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Endangered Species, Marine Life Conservation, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83; signed, but not ratified - Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Climate Change, Desertification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping

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


Population: 36,200,251 (July 1995 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 32% (female 5,784,010; male 5,925,600)
15-64 years: 63% (female 11,642,870; male 11,245,235)
65 years and over: 5% (female 888,358; male 714,178) (July 1995 est.)

Population growth rate: 1.7% (1995 est.)

Birth rate: 21.89 births/1,000 population (1995 est.)

Death rate: 4.69 deaths/1,000 population (1995 est.)

Net migration rate: -0.17 migrant(s)/1,000 population (1995 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 26.9 deaths/1,000 live births (1995 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 72.48 years
male: 69.68 years
female: 75.38 years (1995 est.)

Total fertility rate: 2.4 children born/woman (1995 est.)

noun: Colombian(s)
adjective: Colombian

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

Religions: Roman Catholic 95%

Languages: Spanish

Literacy: age 15 and over can read and write (1985)
total population: 88%
male: 88%
female: 88%

Labor force: 12 million (1990)
by occupation: services 46%, agriculture 30%, industry 24% (1990)


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

Digraph: CO

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, 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 and compulsory

Executive branch:
chief of state and head of government: President Ernesto SAMPER Pizano (since 7 August 1994); election last held 29 May 1994 (next to be held May 1998) and resulted in no candidate receiving more than 50% of the total vote; a run-off election to select a president from the two leading candidates was held on 19 June 1994; results - Ernesto SAMPER Pizano (Liberal Party) 50.4%, Andres PASTRANA Arango (Conservative Party) 48.6%, blank votes 1%; Humberto de la CALLE was elected vice president in a new proceedure that replaces the traditional designation of vice presidents by newly elected presidents.
cabinet: Cabinet

Legislative branch: bicameral Congress (Congreso)
Senate (Senado): elections last held 13 March 1994 (next to be held NA March 1998); preliminary results - percent of vote by party NA; seats - (102 total) Liberal Party 59, conservatives (includes PC, MSN, and NDF) 31, other 12
House of Representatives (Camara de Representantes): elections last held 13 March 1994 (next to be held NA March 1998); preliminary results - percent of vote by party NA; seats - (161 total) Liberal Party 89, conservatives (includes PC, MSN, and NDF) 53, AD/M-19 2, other 17

Judicial branch: Supreme Court of Justice (Corte Suprema de Justical), Constitutional Court, Council of State

Political parties and leaders: Liberal Party (PL), Juan Guillermo ANGEL; Conservative Party (PC), Fabio VALENCIA Cossio; National Salvation Movement (MSN), Alvaro GOMEZ Hurtado; New Democratic Force (NDF), Andres PASTRANA Arango; Democratic Alliance M-19 (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), Carlos ROMERO

Other political or pressure groups: three insurgent groups are active in Colombia - Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), Manuel MARULANDA and Alfonso CANO; National Liberation Army (ELN), Manuel PEREZ; and dissidents of the recently demobilized People's Liberation Army (EPL), Francisco CARABALLO; Francisco CARABALLO was captured by the government in June 1994


Diplomatic representation in US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Carlos LLERAS de la Fuente
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

US diplomatic representation:
chief of mission: Ambassador Myles R. R. FRECHETTE
embassy: Calle 38, No. 8-61, Bogota
mailing address: Apartado Aereo 3831, Bogota; APO AA 34038
telephone: [57] (1) 320-1300
FAX: [57] (1) 288-5687
consulate(s): Barranquilla

Flag: 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


Overview: Colombia's economy has grown steadily since 1991, when the government implemented sweeping economic reform measures. President SAMPER, who took office in August 1994, has pledged to maintain those reforms while expanding government assistance for poor Colombians, who continue to make up about 40% of the population. In an effort to bring down inflation, SAMPER has arranged a "social pact" with business and labor to curtail price hikes and trim inflation to 18%. The rapid development of oil, coal, and other nontraditional industries, along with copious inflows of capital and strengthening of prices for coffee, have helped keep growth at 5%-6%. Development of the massive Cusiana oilfield provides the means to sustain this level over the next several years. Exporters say, however, that their sales have been hampered by the appreciation of the Colombian peso, and farmers have sought government help in adjusting to greater foreign competition. Moreover, increased foreign investment and even greater domestic growth have been hindered by an inadequate energy and transportation infrastructure and by violence stemming from drug trafficking and persistent rural insurgency.

National product: GDP - purchasing power parity - $172.4 billion (1994 est.)

National product real growth rate: 5.7% (1994 est.)

National product per capita: $4,850 (1994 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 22.6% (1994 est.)

Unemployment rate: 7.9% (1994 est.)

revenues: $16 billion (1995 est.)
expenditures: $21 billion (1995 est.)

Exports: $8.3 billion (f.o.b., 1994 est.)
commodities: petroleum, coffee, coal, bananas, fresh cut flowers
partners: US 39%, EC 25.7%, Japan 2.9%, Venezuela 8.5% (1992)

Imports: $10.6 billion (c.i.f., 1994 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)

External debt: $12.6 billion (1994 est.)

Industrial production: growth rate 5% (1994 est.); accounts for about 20% of GDP

capacity: 10,220,000 kW
production: 33 billion kWh
consumption per capita: 890 kWh (1993)

Industries: textiles, food processing, oil, clothing and footwear, beverages, chemicals, metal products, cement; mining - gold, coal, emeralds, iron, nickel, silver, salt

Agriculture: growth rate 3.8% (1994 est.); accounts for about 15% of GDP; crops make up two-thirds and livestock one-third of agricultural output; climate and soils permit a wide variety of crops, such as coffee, rice, tobacco, corn, sugarcane, cocoa beans, oilseeds, vegetables; forest products and shrimp farming are becoming more important

Illicit drugs: illicit producer of coca, opium poppies, and cannabis; about 45,000 hectares of coca under cultivation; the world's largest processor of coca derivatives into cocaine; supplier of cocaine to the US and other international drug markets; active eradication program against narcotics crop

Economic aid:
recipient: US commitments, including Ex-Im (FY70-89), $1.6 billion; Western (non-US) countries, ODA and OOF bilateral commitments (1970-89), $3.3 billion; Communist countries (1970-89), $399 million

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

Exchange rates: Colombian pesos (Col$) per US$1 - 846.67 (January 1995), 844.84 (1994), 863.06 (1993), 759.28 (1992), 633.05 (1991), 502.26 (1990)

Fiscal year: calendar year


total: 3,386 km
standard gauge: 150 km 1.435-m gauge
narrow gauge: 3,236 km 0.914-m gauge (2,611 km in use)

total: 107,377 km (1991)
paved: 12,778 km
unpaved: gravel/earth 94,599 km

Inland 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: Barranquilla, Buenaventura, Cartagena, Leticia, Puerto Bolivar, San Andres, Santa Marta, Tumaco, Turbo

Merchant marine:
total: 22 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 104,577 GRT/142,617 DWT
ships by type: bulk 6, cargo 9, container 4, oil tanker 3

total: 1,307
with paved runways over 3,047 m: 2
with paved runways 2,438 to 3,047 m: 7
with paved runways 1,524 to 2,437 m: 34
with paved runways 914 to 1,523 m: 31
with paved runways under 914 m: 734
with unpaved runways 1,524 to 2,438 m: 80
with unpaved runways 914 to 1,523 m: 419


Telephone system: 1,890,000 telephones; modern system in many respects
local: NA
intercity: nationwide microwave radio relay system; 11 domestic earth stations
international: 2 INTELSAT (Atlantic Ocean) earth stations

broadcast stations: AM 413, FM 0, shortwave 28
radios: NA

broadcast stations: 33
televisions: NA

Defense Forces

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

Manpower availability: males age 15-49 9,851,980; males fit for military service 6,640,348; males reach military age (18) annually 349,599 (1995 est.)

Defense expenditures: exchange rate conversion - $1.2 billion (1992 est.)