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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 four-decade long conflict between government forces and anti-government insurgent groups, principally the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) heavily funded by the drug trade, escalated during the 1990s. The insurgents lack themilitary or popular support necessary to overthrow the government, and violence has been decreasing since about 2002. However, insurgents continue attacks against civilians and large areas of the countryside are under guerrilla influence or are contested by security forces. More than 31,000 former paramilitaries had demobilized by the end of 2006 and the United Self Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC) asa formal organization had ceased to function. In the wake of the paramilitary demobilization, emerging criminal groups arose, whose members include some former paramilitaries. 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 theviolence spilling over their borders. In January 2011, Colombia assumed a nonpermanent seat on the UN Security Council for the 2011-12 term. |
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Geography ::COLOMBIA |

Location: | |
Northern South America, bordering the Caribbean Sea, between Panama and Venezuela, and bordering the North Pacific Ocean, between Ecuador and Panama |
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Geographic coordinates: | |4 00 N, 72 00 W |
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Map references: | |
South America |
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Area: | |
total: 1,138,910 sq kmcountry comparison to the world: 26land: 1,038,700 sq kmwater: 100,210 sq kmnote: includes Isla de Malpelo, Roncador Cay, and Serrana Bank |
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Area - comparative: | |
slightly less than twice the size of Texas |
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Land boundaries: | |
total: 6,309 kmbordercountries: Brazil 1,644 km, Ecuador 590 km, Panama 225 km, Peru 1,800 km, Venezuela 2,050 km |
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Coastline: | |
3,208 km (Caribbean Sea 1,760 km, North Pacific Ocean 1,448 km) |
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Maritime claims: | |
territorial sea: 12 nmexclusive economic zone: 200 nmcontinental shelf: 200 m depth or to the depth of exploitation |
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Climate: | |
tropical along coast and eastern plains;cooler in highlands |
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Terrain: | |
flat coastal lowlands, central highlands, high Andes Mountains, eastern lowland plains |
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Elevation extremes: | |
lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 mhighest point: Pico Cristobal Colon 5,775 mnote: nearby Pico Simon Bolivar also has the same elevation |
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Natural resources: | |
petroleum, natural gas, coal, iron ore, nickel, gold,copper, emeralds, hydropower |
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Land use: | |
arable land: 2.01%permanent crops: 1.37%other: 96.62% (2005) |
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Irrigated land: | |
9,000 sq km (2003) |
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Total renewable water resources: | |
2,132 cu km (2000) |
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Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural): | |
total: 10.71 cu km/yr (50%/4%/46%)per capita: 235 cu m/yr (2000) |
| |Natural hazards: | |
highlands subject to volcanic eruptions; occasional earthquakes; periodic droughtsvolcanism: Galeras (elev. 4,276 m) is one of Colombia's most active volcanoes, having erupted in 2009 and 2010 causing major evacuations; it has been deemed a "Decade Volcano" by the International Association of Volcanology and Chemistry of the Earth's Interior, worthy of study due to itsexplosive history and close proximity to human populations; Nevado del Ruiz (elev. 5,321 m), 129 km (80 mi) west of Bogota, erupted in 1985 producing lahars that killed 23,000 people; the volcano last erupted in 1991; additionally, after 500 years of dormancy, Nevado del Huila reawakened in 2007 and has experienced frequent eruptions since then; other historically active volcanoes include Cumbal,...
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