World Travelling Guide
World Travelling Guide

Accommodation in Southern Africa and South Africa including accommodation in Western Cape, Eastern Cape, Northern Cape, Gauteng, Limpopo Province, North West Province, Free State, Kwazulu-Natal, Mpumalanga

List of Countries
Map of South America

Colombia Travelling Guide
Colombia Travelling Guide

General background: Colombia was one of the three countries that emerged from the collapse of Gran Colombia in 1830 (the others being Ecuador and Venezuela). A 40-year insurgent campaign to overthrow the Colombian Government escalated during the 1990s, undergirded in part by funds from the drug trade. Although the violence is deadly and large swaths of the countryside are under guerrilla influence, the movement lacks the military strength or popular support necessary to overthrow the government. An anti-insurgent army of paramilitaries has grown to be several thousand strong in recent years, challenging the insurgents for control of territory and illicit industries such as the drug trade and the government's ability to exert its dominion over rural areas. While Bogota continues to try to negotiate a settlement, neighboring countries worry about the violence spilling over their borders.

Area comparative:
Slightly less than three times the size of Montana

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

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

Population: 41,008,227 (July 2002 est.)

Ethnic groups: Mestizo 58%, White 20%, Mulatto 14%, Black 4%, Mixed Black-Amerindian 3%, Amerindian 1%

Religions: Roman Catholic 90%

Language: Spanish

Government type: Republic; executive branch dominates government structure

Capital: Bogota

Legal system: Based on Spanish law; a new criminal code modelled after US procedures was enacted in 1992-93; judicial review of executive and legislative acts; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction, with reservations.

Economic overview: Colombia's economy suffered from weak domestic demand, austere government budgets, and a difficult security situation. A new president takes office in 2002 and will face economic challenges ranging from pension reform to reduction of unemployment. Two of Colombia's leading exports, oil and coffee, face an uncertain future; new exploration is needed to offset declining oil production, while coffee harvests and prices are depressed. Problems in public security are a concern for Colombian business leaders, who are calling for progress in the government's peace negotiations with insurgent groups. Colombia is looking for continued support from the international community to boost economic and peace prospects.

Communication/Telephone system: Modern system in many respects, nationwide microwave radio relay system; domestic satellite system with 41 earth stations; fiber-optic network linking 50 cities. Satellite earth stations - 6 Intelsat, 1 Inmarsat; 3 fully digitalized international switching centers; 8 submarine cables.

Places of interest: With dramatically beautiful rainforests, mountains and beaches, lovely cities and enchanting people, Colombia should be among the world's most attractive and intoxicating destinations.

Travel tips: The US State Department and the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs both warn their citizens not to travel to Colombia at this time. The UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office warns that 'violence and kidnapping are serious problems, and all foreign nationals are potential targets.