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Colombia

Geography - People - Economy - Government - Communications - Transportation - Military - Transnational Issues

Country information - Colombia
Country name - conventional long form : Republic of Colombia
Country name - conventional short form : Colombia
Country name - local long form : Republica de Colombia
Country name - local short form : Colombia
Government type : republic; executive branch dominates government structure
Capital - name : Bogota
Capital - time difference : UTC-5 (same time as Washington, DC during Standard Time)
National holiday : Independence Day, 20 July (1810)
Population : 45,013,672 (July 2008 est.)
Nationality - noun : Colombian(s)
Nationality - adjective : Colombian
Languages : Spanish
Currency (code) : Colombian peso (COP)
Currency code : COP
Major infectious diseases - degree of risk : high

Colombia is located Northern South America, bordering the Caribbean Sea, between Panama and Venezuela, and bordering the North Pacific Ocean, between Ecuador and Panama. The climate is tropical along coast and eastern plains; cooler in highlands. The terrain is flat coastal lowlands, central highlands, high Andes Mountains, eastern lowland plains.

Background

This entry usually highlights major historic events and current issues and may include a statement about one or two key future trends.
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 40-year conflict between government forces and anti-government insurgent groups and illegal paramilitary groups - both heavily funded by the drug trade - escalated during the 1990s. The insurgents lack the military or popular support necessary to overthrow the government, and violence has been decreasing since about 2002, but insurgents continue attacks against civilians and large swaths of the countryside are under guerrilla influence. More than 32,000 former paramilitaries had demobilized by the end of 2006 and the United Self Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC) as a formal organization had ceased to function. Still, some renegades continued to engage in criminal activities. 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. However, neighboring countries worry about the violence spilling over their borders.



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