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The historical background, geography, demographics and government and politics of the REPUBLIC OF COLOMBIA.

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  1. 1. Colombia
  2. 2. Background • Colombia was one of the three countries that emerged after the Gran Colombia fell in 1830; the other two were Ecuador and Venezuela. • A decades-long war between government forces, militias, and anti- government rebel groups heavily funded by the drug trade, mainly the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), worsened during the 1990s. • Over 31,000 ex-United Self Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC) paramilitaries were no longer in active military service by late 2006; the AUC as a formal organization thus ended operations. • Following the paramilitary demobilization, criminal armed organizations, whose members include some former paramilitaries, arose.
  3. 3. Background (cont.) • After four years of official peace negotiations, the Colombian Government signed a concluding peace agreement with the FARC in November 2016, which was later approved by the Colombian Congress. • The agreement calls for members of the FARC to demobilize, disarm, and reintegrate into society and politics. • The agreement also obliged the Colombian Government to establish three new institutions for a “comprehensive system for truth, justice, reparation, and non-repetition,” to include a truth commission, a special unit to direct the search for those who vanished during the conflict, and a “Special Jurisdiction for Peace” to oversee justice for conflict-related crimes. • The Colombian Government has stepped up attempts to increase its presence into every one of its governmental districts. • In spite of decades of internal conflict and drug-related security disputes, Colombia preserves fairly strong democratic institutions regarded as peaceful, transparent elections and the protection of civil liberties.
  4. 4. 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 • 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, and Serrana Bank ▫ Country comparison to the world: 27
  5. 5. Geography (cont.) • Area – comparative: slightly less than twice the size of Texas • Land boundaries: ▫ Total: 6,672 km ▫ Border countries (5): Brazil 1,790 km, Ecuador 708 km, Panama 339 km, Peru 1,494 km, Venezuela 2,341 km • Coastline: 3,208 km (Caribbean Sea 1,760 km, North Pacific Ocean 1,448 km) • Maritime claims: ▫ Territorial sea: 12 nautical miles ▫ Exclusive economic zone: 200 nautical miles ▫ Continental shelf: 200-meter depth or to the depth of exploitation • Climate: tropical along coast and eastern plains; cooler in highlands • Terrain: flat coastal lowlands, central highlands, high Andes Mountains, eastern lowland plains (Llanos)
  6. 6. Geography (cont.) • Elevation: ▫ Mean elevation: 593 m ▫ Elevation extremes: lowest point is Pacific Ocean (0 m); highest point is Pico Cristóbal Colón (5,730 m) – note: adjacent Pico Simón Bolívar has the same elevation • Natural resources: petroleum, natural gas, coal, iron ore, nickel, gold, copper, emeralds, hydropower • Land use: ▫ Agricultural land: 37.5% (2011 est.) / arable land: 1.4% (2011 est.) / permanent crops: 1.6% (2011 est.) / permanent pasture: 34.5% (2011 est.) ▫ Forest: 54.4% (2011 est.) ▫ Other: 8.1% (2011 est.) • Irrigated land: 10,900 sq. km (2012) • Population distribution: the majority of Colombians reside in the north and west where agricultural opportunities and natural resources are found; the massive grasslands of the llanos to the south and east, which comprise almost 60% of the country, are sparingly populated
  7. 7. Geography (cont.) Pacific coast, lowest point Pico Cristóbal Colón, highest point
  8. 8. Geography (cont.): Physical map
  9. 9. Geography (cont.) • Natural hazards: highlands vulnerable to volcanic eruptions; irregular earthquakes; sporadic droughts • Volcanism: Galeras (4,276 m) is one of Colombia's most active volcanoes, having erupted in 2009 and 2010, causing major evacuations; it has been considered a Decade Volcano by the International Association of Volcanology and Chemistry of the Earth's Interior, worthy of study due to its explosive history and nearby proximity to human populations; Nevado del Ruiz (5,321 m), 129 km (80 mi) west of Bogotá, erupted in 1985 and generated lahars (mudflows) that killed 23,000 people; the volcano last erupted in 1991; moreover, following 500 years of inactivity, Nevado del Huila reawakened in 2007 and has undergone recurrent eruptions since then; other historically active volcanoes include Cumbal, Doña Juana, Nevado del Tolima, and Puracé • Environment – current issues: deforestation caused by abuse of timber in the jungles of the Amazon and the region of Chocó; illegal drug crops grown by peasants in the national parks; soil erosion; soil and water quality destruction from misuse of insecticides; air pollution, especially in Bogotá, from vehicle discharges
  10. 10. Geography (cont.) • Environment – international agreements: ▫ Party to: Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands ▫ Signed, but not ratified: Law of the Sea • Geography – note: only South American country with coastlines on both the North Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea
  11. 11. People and Society • Population: 48,168,996 (July 2018 est.) – country comparison to the world: 30 • Nationality: ▫ Noun: Colombian(s) ▫ Adjective: Colombian • Ethnic groups: Mestizo and white 84.2%, Afro-Colombian (includes mulatto, Raizal, and Palenquero) 10.4%, Amerindian 3.4%, Romani (2005 est.) • Languages: Spanish (official) • Religion: Roman Catholic 79%, Protestant 14% (includes Pentecostal 6%, mainline Protestant 2%, other 6%), other 2%, unspecified 5%(2014 est.)
  12. 12. People and Society (cont.) • Demographic profile: ▫ Colombia is in the middle of a demographic shift brought about by uninterrupted falls in its fertility, mortality, and population growth rates. ▫ The birth rate has decreased from more than six children for every woman in the 1960s to slightly above replacement level today as a result of improved literacy, family planning services, and urbanization. ▫ However, income disparity is among the worst in the world; more than a third of the population lives below the poverty line. ▫ Colombia suffers significant legal and illegal economic migration and refugee outflows. ▫ Significant labor emigration goes back to the 1960s; the United States and, until recently, Venezuela have been the primary host countries. ▫ Migration to Spain saw an increase in the 1990s because of its economic growth, but this flow has since plunged because of Spain’s struggling economy and high unemployment. ▫ Colombia has also been the largest source of Latin American refugees in Latin America, almost 400,000 of whom live mostly in Venezuela and Ecuador. ▫ Nevertheless, Venezuela’s political and economic crisis since 2015 has produced a reverse tide; many Colombians are thus returning home.
  13. 13. People and Society (cont.) • Involuntary movement remains widespread due to violence among guerrillas, paramilitary groups, and Colombian security forces; Afro- Colombian and indigenous populations are excessively affected. • Despite the Colombian Government’s December 2016 peace agreement with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), displacement is still a major threat as other rebel groups assume the space left by the FARC. • Between 1985 and September 2017, almost 7.6 million persons have been internally evacuated; this is the highest total in the world. • These estimates may undercount definite figures because numerous internally displaced persons are not registered. • Historically, Colombia also has one of the world’s highest instances of compulsory disappearances. • Some 30,000 cases have been documented during the last four decades— although the figure is possibly far higher—including involvement of human rights activists, trade unionists, Afro-Colombians, indigenous people, and farmers in rural conflict areas.
  14. 14. People and Society (cont.) • Because of political violence and economic problems, Colombia received limited numbers of immigrants during the 19th and 20th centuries, primarily from the Middle East, Europe, and Japan. • More recently, development in the oil, mining, and manufacturing sectors has appealed to enlarged labor migration; the key source countries are Venezuela, the U.S., Mexico, and Argentina. • Colombia has also become a passage area for illegal migrants from Africa, Asia, and the Caribbean – especially Haiti and Cuba – who are en route to the U.S. or Canada.
  15. 15. People and Society (cont.) • Age structure: ▫ 0-14 years: 23.89% (male 5,895,637 /female 5,611,298) ▫ 15-24 years: 16.96% (male 4,161,661 /female 4,006,875) ▫ 25-54 years: 41.98% (male 10,043,080 /female 10,177,042) ▫ 55-64 years: 9.44% (male 2,145,031 /female 2,404,090) ▫ 65 years and over: 7.73% (male 1,555,848 /female 2,168,434) (2018 est.)
  16. 16. Government • Official name: Republic of Colombia (República de Colombia) ▫ Etymology: named after Italian explorer Christopher Columbus • Government type: presidential republic • Capital: Bogotá • Independence: 20 July 1810 (from Spain) • National holiday: Independence Day, 20 July (1810) • Constitution: ▫ History: several prior; most recent approved 5 July 1991 (2018) ▫ Amendments: proposed by the government, by Congress, by a constituent assembly, or by public petition; passage requires a majority vote by Congress in each of two successive sessions; passage of amendments to constitutional articles on citizen rights, guarantees, and duties also require consent in a referendum by more than one-half of voters and involvement of more than one-fourth of citizens registered to vote; revised many times, most recently in 2018 (2018)
  17. 17. Government (cont.) • Legal system: civil law system influenced by the Spanish and French civil codes • International law organization participation: has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCt jurisdiction • Citizenship: ▫ Citizenship by birth: no ▫ Citizenship by descent only: at least one parent has to be a citizen or permanent resident of Colombia ▫ Dual citizenship recognized: yes ▫ Residency requirement for naturalization: five years • Suffrage: eighteen years of age; universal
  18. 18. Government (cont.) • President: Iván Duque Márquez (since 7 August 2018; both head of state and head of government) • Vice President: Martha Lucía Ramírez Blanco (since 7 August 2018)
  19. 19. Government (cont.) Iván Duque Márquez, President Martha Lucía Ramírez Blanco, Vice President
  20. 20. Government (cont.) • International organization participation: ▫ BCIE, BIS, CAN, CARICOM (observer), CD, CDB, CELAC, EITI (candidate country), FAO, G-3, G-24, G-77, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (national committees), ICCt, 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, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO • Colombian Ambassador to the U.S.: Francisco Santos Calderón (since 17 September 2018) • U.S. Ambassador to Colombia: Kevin Whitaker (since 11 June 2014)
  21. 21. Government (cont.) • Flag description: three horizontal bands of yellow (top, double-width), blue, and red; the flag preserves the three main colors of the banner of Gran Colombia, the short-lived South American republic that collapsed in 1830; several explanations of the colors exist and include: yellow for the gold in Colombia's land, blue for the seas on its shores, and red for the blood spilled in achieving freedom; the colors have also been described as symbolizing more basic notions such as sovereignty and justice (yellow), devotion and attentiveness (blue), and courage and kindness (red); or merely the values of liberty, equality, and fraternity • Note: similar to the flag of Ecuador, which is longer and displays the Ecuadorian coat of arms positioned in the center • National symbol(s): Andean condor; national colors: yellow, blue, red • National anthem: ▫ Name: “National Anthem of the Republic of Colombia” (Himno Nacional de la República de Colombia) ▫ Lyrics/music: Rafael Núñez Moledo; Oreste Sindici ▫ Note: adopted 1920; the anthem was inspired by an inspirational poem written by Rafael Núñez Moledo (link:
  22. 22. Government (cont.): Colombia and Ecuador flag comparison Colombia Ecuador
  23. 23. References • ons/the-world-factbook/geos/co.html