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SPECIAL REGIONAL CONSIDERATIONS - COLOMBIA


INTRODUCTION 1

Colombia is a country of 45 million people located in northwestern South America. Colombia is bordered to the east by Venezuela and Brazil; to the south by Ecuador and Peru; to the north by the Caribbean Sea; to the northwest by Panama; and to the west by the Pacific Ocean. Colombia also shares maritime borders with Venezuela, Jamaica, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Honduras, Nicaragua and Costa Rica. Colombia has the 29th largest population in the world and the second largest in South America, after Brazil. Colombia has the fourth largest Spanish-speaking population in the world after Mexico, the United States, and Spain.

Colombia is very ethnically diverse, and the interaction between descendants of the original native inhabitants, Spanish colonists, Africans brought as slaves and twentieth-century immigrants from Europe and the Middle East has produced a rich cultural heritage. The majority of the population (58%) is Mestizo, (a mixture of European and South American Indian ancestry). Approximately 20% of the population is of European ancestry (predominantly Spanish, partly Italian, Portuguese, and German). Fourteen percent of Colombia's total population is of mixed African and European ancestry, with 3% being of mixed African and Amerindian ancestry, and 4% having primarily African ancestry.

Colombia's diversity has also been influenced by its varied geography. The majority of the urban centers are located in the highlands of the Andes mountains, but Colombian territory also encompasses Amazon rainforest, tropical grassland and both Caribbean and Pacific coastlines. The population is concentrated in the Andean highlands and along the Caribbean coast.

The government of Colombia is a liberal democracy with separation of powers into executive, judicial and legislative branches. Its legislature has a congress, its judiciary has a supreme court, and its executive branch has a president. The citizens of Colombia cast votes concerning their government, and they employ a public sector office for an inspector general to oversee the public interface of the government. Colombia has "control institutions" which mix government and public officials, who work alongside one another.

1 Colombia, From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colombia

 

 

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