Colombia

Columbia is a country wrought with poverty, corruption, and violence. It has gained notoriety for its drug trafficking and the scandalous dealings by the military. Five percent of Columbia (1.9 million people, 1.1 million of them children) have been displaced due to the fighting in a four decade old civil war. Columbia will need some serious rearranging politically, socially, and overall to get back on their feet.

Columbia is located in the very northern part of South America, it borders the Caribbean Sea between Panama and Venezuela, and it borders the North Pacific Ocean between Ecuador and Panama. The capital city is Bogota. The population, as of July 1999, was estimated to be 39,309,422. As of 1999, their birthrate was estimated at 24.45 per 1,000 people, and their death rate is estimated at 5.59 per 1,000 people. The life expectancy for males is 66.54 years, and for females its 74.54 years. Women live longer because we have to suffer more during everyday life. Columbia has a high literacy rate; (91.3% of those aged fifteen and above can read ad write, compared to the United States 97%).
Columbia government is very similar to ours; in fact the recently enacted criminal code was modeled after U.S. procedures. The original legal system was based on old Spanish law. The New criminal code was set up in 1992- 1993. Elections are open to be on voted by all citizens aged eighteen and above, and there is universal suffrage (capability to vote) for both genders. They elect a president and also a vice president. Unlike the U.S. where a vice president is nominated by the president who is running, the citizens elect vice presidents also?
The present president of Columbia was elected August 7th. His name Is Andres Pastana. He will serve a four-year term, as all presidents in Colombia do.

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The United States is the now has the largest number of corporations involved with trade and with overall investments in Columbia. The most things exported to the United States are oil, coffee, and cut flowers. Illegally, all the real money comes from drug trafficking of copious amounts of cocaine and heroin.
Columbia currently supplies the United States with eighty percent of the cocaine consumed in the United States. The cultivation of coca in 1997 was equal to79, 500 hectares. All that coca could potentially produce 125 metric tons of cocaine.
Narcotics traffickers sponsored assassinations of numerous government officials and politicians. Columbia had had generally good relations with United States. As with other neighboring countries, there have been numerous problems. Border disputes, presence of undocumented Colombians in Venezuela, and activities of Colombian narcotics traffickers and guerrillas have strained Colombias relations with Venezuela and many other neighboring countries.

Liberal and conservative parties have dominated Colombian political institutions since mid-nineteenth century. Many of the political groups had rivalries feuds in the 1980s. The political system was challenged at the end of the 1980s by multiple leftist guerrilla movements and by narcotics traffickers linked to rightist paramilitary groups. Four major guerrilla organizations, Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), National Liberation Army Popular Liberation Army, and 19th of April Movement along with several smaller guerrilla groups were around in the late 1980s.
The United States had contributed billions of dollars to Columbia over the last twenty years. That aid sent by the United States has contributed to Columbias army, which has extensive paramilitary links. Any aid sent there which the intent to help stiffen the drug trade will have little or no effect do to the fact that the paramilitary groups control most of the drug making farms and facilities and organize most of the trade. The United States continues just to fling money at the problem, despite the fact that they are well aware of what they the links that the paramilitary groups have with drug trafficking. Not to mention the thousands of murders and assassinations organized by the groups.

In closing, President Pastrana’s well-respected financial team is working to deal with the multitude of economic problems the country faces, including the highest unemployment rate in years. The government implemented austerity measures, declared emergency measures to protect against a possible banking crisis resulting from their economic slowdown, and is also seeking international assistance to fund a peace plan with the guerrillas. Guerrilla violence and low world oil prices will likely continue to undermine the economy over the following years to come.

Colombia

COLOMBIA GEOGRAPHY:
Colombia stretches over approximately 1,140,000 sq. km, roughly equal to the area of Portugal, Spain, and France put together. Colombia occupies the northwestern end of South America, and is the only country there with coasts on both the Pacific (1350 km long), and the Atlantic (over 1600 km.) Three Andean ranges run north and south through the western half of the country (about 45% of the total territory.) The eastern part is a vast lowland which can be generally divided into two regions: a huge open savannah on the north, and the amazon in the south (400,000 sq. km approx.).Colombia is a country of geographical contrasts and extremes. As well as the features mentioned, it has such curiosities as the desert of La Guajira, the peninsula in the most north-eastern tip of the country; the jungle of the pacific coast which holds one of the world’s rainfall records; and the Serrana de la Macarena, an isolated mountain formation about 120 km. long, rising abruptly from the eastern plains to some 2500 meters. Colombia also has several small islands. The major ones are the archipelago of San Andrs and Providencia in the Caribbean Sea, the Islas del Rosario and San Bernardo along the Caribeian coast, and Gorgona and Malpelo in the Pacific Ocean.
HISTORY:
Spaniards founded Santa Maria la Antigua del Darien in 1510, the first permanent European settlement on the American mainland. In 1538 the Spaniards established the colony of New Granada, the area’s name until 1861. After a 14-year struggle, in which Simn Bolvar’s troops won the battle of Boyac in Colombia on Aug. 7, 1819, independence was attained in 1824. Bolvar united Colombia, Venezuela, Panama, and Ecuador in the Republic of Greater Colombia (1810-1830), but lost Venezuela and Ecuador to separatists.
Bolvar’s Vice President, Francisco de Paula Santander, founded the Liberal Party as the Federalists while Bolvar established the Conservatives as the Centralists. Santander’s presidency (1832-1936) re-established order, but later periods of Liberal dominance (1849-1857 and 1861-1880), when the Liberals sought to disestablish the Roman Catholic Church, were marked by insurrection and even civil war. Rafael Nuez, in a 15-year-presidency, restored the power of the central government and the church, which led in 1899 to a bloody civil war and the loss in 1903 of Panama over ratification of a lease to the U.S of the canal zone.

POPULATION:
The racial makeup of the Colombian population is diversified. About half the people are mestizo (of mixed Spanish and Native American ancestry), about 20 percent are of unmixed European ancestry, and about 14 percent are mulatto (of mixed black and white ancestry). The remaining 8 percent is made up of blacks, Native Americans, and people of mixed race. The population of Colombia (1993 estimate) was 34,942,767, giving the country an overall population density of about 30 persons per sq km (about 79 per sq mi). About 70 percent of the population was classified as urban in the late 1980s. CULTURE : The heritage of the Spanish colonial period is more noticeably preserved in Colombia than in any other South American country, and family life and dress often still conform to traditional norms. Although Colombia is a country of many racial mixtures, its culture is diversified more by region than by ethnicity. The Native American civilization was rapidly assimilated into that of the Spanish settlers, whose language nearly all Colombians speak today.
Distinguished Colombian writers include the 19th-century novelist Jorge Isaacs and, in the 20th century, the poet Germn Pard Garca and the Nobel Prize-winning novelist Gabriel Garcia Marquez.
The National Library in Bogot (1777) contains more than 680,000 volumes; it also administers town and village libraries throughout the country. The leading museums are located in Bogot. The National Museum contains collections relating to the Spanish conquest and the colonial period. The National Archaeological Museum exhibits utensils, stone carvings, textiles, gold works, and other materials found at sites throughout the country. The famous Gold Museum features a noted collection of pre-Columbian gold objects.

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