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Background | Political | History

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

Colombia covers an area of 1,138,910 sq km, 100,210 sq km og which is water. Natural resourses include; petroleum, natural gas, coal, iron ore, nickel, gold, copper, emeralds, hydropower. Natural hazards include; highlands subject to volcanic eruptions; occasional earthquakes; periodic droughts.

Current enviromental issues: deforestation; soil and water quality damage from overuse of pesticides; air pollution, especially in Bogota, from vehicle emissions

Location: Colombia ChildCare

In area north of Cartagena are all of the CCC(UK) projects.


Background

Colombia is a country of significant natural resources, and has a diverse culture reflecting the indigenous Indian, Spanish and African origins of its people.

But it has also been ravaged by a decades-long violent conflict, involving guerrilla insurgencies, drug cartels and gross violations of human rights.

The fourth largest country in South America and one of the continent's most populous nations, Colombia is endowed with substantial oil reserves and is a major producer of gold, silver, emeralds, platinum and coal.

It also has a highly stratified society where the traditionally rich families of Spanish descent have benefited from this wealth to a far greater degree than the greatest portion of the population, who are mostly of mixed race. With few avenues for social mobility, this provided a natural constituency for left-wing insurgents.

But the lucrative returns from drugs and kidnapping now dominate the rebels' agenda, and have largely replaced ideological motivations.

At the other end of the political spectrum are right-wing paramilitary groups, who are sometimes in the pay of drug cartels and landowners, and backed by elements in the army and the police. The paramilitaries have sprung up everywhere, in particular in the northwestern regions, and target human rights workers and peasants suspected of helping left-wing guerrillas, street children and other marginal groups.

Alongside politically-motivated blood-letting is drug-related crime, which has become the most common cause of death after cancer and has given Colombia the world's highest kidnap rate. Together with the political violence, this has made Colombia one of the most violent countries in the world, deterring investors and tourists alike.

Facts

  • Population: 45.6 million (UN, 2005)
  • Capital: Bogota
  • Area: 1.14 million sq km (440,831 sq miles)
  • Major language: Spanish
  • Major religion: Christianity
  • Life expectancy: 69 years (men), 75 years (women) (UN)
  • Monetary unit: 1 Colombian peso = 100 centavos
  • Main exports: Petroleum, coffee, coal, gold, bananas, cut flowers, chemicals, emeralds, cotton products, sugar, livestock
  • GNI per capita: US $1,810 (World Bank, 2003)
  • Standard time zone: UTC/GMT -5 hours

(Many thanks to bbc.co.uk for this information)

Additional Information
Background | Political | History
 

 




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