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Columbia is a country wrought with poverty, corruption, and violence. It has gained notoriety for its drug trafficking and the scandalous dealings by the military. Five percent of Columbia (1.9 million people, 1.1 million of them children) have been displaced due to the fighting in a four decade old civil war. Columbia will need some serious rearranging politically, socially, and overall to get back on their feet.

Columbia is located in the very northern part of South America, it borders the Caribbean Sea between Panama and Venezuela, and it borders the North Pacific Ocean between Ecuador and Panama. The capital city is Bogota. The population, as of July 1999, was estimated to be 39,309,422. As of 1999, their birthrate was estimated at 24.45 per 1,000 people, and their death rate is estimated at 5.59 per 1,000 people. The life expectancy for males is 66.54 years, and for females its 74.54 years. Women live longer because we have to suffer more during everyday life. Columbia has a high literacy rate; (91.3% of those aged fifteen and above can read ad write, compared to the United States 97%).
Columbia government is very similar to ours; in fact the recently enacted criminal code was modeled after U.S. procedures. The original legal system was based on old Spanish law. The New criminal code was set up in 1992- 1993. Elections are open to be on voted by all citizens aged eighteen and above, and there is universal suffrage (capability to vote) for both genders. They elect a president and also a vice president. Unlike the U.S. where a vice president is nominated by the president who is running, the citizens elect vice presidents also?
The present president of Columbia was elected August 7th. His name Is Andres Pastana. He will serve a four-year term, as all presidents in Colombia do.

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The United States is the now has the largest number of corporations involved with trade and with overall investments in Columbia. The most things exported to the United States are oil, coffee, and cut flowers. Illegally, all the real money comes from drug trafficking of copious amounts of cocaine and heroin.
Columbia currently supplies the United States with eighty percent of the cocaine consumed in the United States. The cultivation of coca in 1997 was equal to79, 500 hectares. All that coca could potentially produce 125 metric tons of cocaine.
Narcotics traffickers sponsored assassinations of numerous government officials and politicians. Columbia had had generally good relations with United States. As with other neighboring countries, there have been numerous problems. Border disputes, presence of undocumented Colombians in Venezuela, and activities of Colombian narcotics traffickers and guerrillas have strained Colombias relations with Venezuela and many other neighboring countries.

Liberal and conservative parties have dominated Colombian political institutions since mid-nineteenth century. Many of the political groups had rivalries feuds in the 1980s. The political system was challenged at the end of the 1980s by multiple leftist guerrilla movements and by narcotics traffickers linked to rightist paramilitary groups. Four major guerrilla organizations, Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), National Liberation Army Popular Liberation Army, and 19th of April Movement along with several smaller guerrilla groups were around in the late 1980s.
The United States had contributed billions of dollars to Columbia over the last twenty years. That aid sent by the United States has contributed to Columbias army, which has extensive paramilitary links. Any aid sent there which the intent to help stiffen the drug trade will have little or no effect do to the fact that the paramilitary groups control most of the drug making farms and facilities and organize most of the trade. The United States continues just to fling money at the problem, despite the fact that they are well aware of what they the links that the paramilitary groups have with drug trafficking. Not to mention the thousands of murders and assassinations organized by the groups.

In closing, President Pastrana’s well-respected financial team is working to deal with the multitude of economic problems the country faces, including the highest unemployment rate in years. The government implemented austerity measures, declared emergency measures to protect against a possible banking crisis resulting from their economic slowdown, and is also seeking international assistance to fund a peace plan with the guerrillas. Guerrilla violence and low world oil prices will likely continue to undermine the economy over the following years to come.


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