Colombia - education
The Colombian education system includes a 1-2-year pre-school for the
4-5-year-olds, a 9-year primary school for the 6-15-year-olds and a 2-year
secondary education for the 15-17-year-olds. This is followed by higher
education of 2-10 years duration. There is a close connection between the
education system and the Catholic Church. The language of instruction is
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The pre-school is private, while the primary school, which is divided into
primary education (1st-5th grade) and secondary education (6th-9th grade),
includes both public (60%) and private schools (40%). Tuition in public and in
some private schools is free. In the youth educations - both public and private
- great emphasis is placed on vocational education, but also general study
preparation lines can be chosen. The higher education takes place at approximately 235
institutions, of which 30% are public and 70% private.
According to the 1991 Constitution, education is compulsory for
5-15-year-olds, but although efforts have been made in recent decades to involve
all children in primary school education, only just over 90% of a year group
begins in 1st Class; 40% do not complete primary education, and only 46%
participate in secondary education (1990). The quality of teaching has been
sought to be improved through the so-called Escuela nueva method, which
combines non-class-based teaching with both individual considerations and
OFFICIAL NAME: Colombia
CAPITAL CITY: Bogotá
POPULATION: 47,400,000 (Source: COUNTRYaah)
AREA: 1,140,000 km²
OFFICIAL LANGUAGE (S): Spanish, approximately 80 Native American languages
RELIGION: Catholics 90%, others 10%
CURRENCY CODE: COP
ENGLISH NAME: Colombia
POPULATION COMPOSITION: mestizer 58%, white 20%, mulattoes 14%, blacks 4%, Indians 1%, others 3%
GDP PER residents: 8150 USD (2014)
LIFE EXPECTANCY: men 70 years, women 76 years (2007)
INDEX OF LIVING CONDITIONS, HDI: 0.790
INDEX OF LIVING CONDITIONS, POSITION: 70
INTERNET DOMAIN NAME: .co
Colombia, Republic of South America, named after Christoffer Columbus. The
western parts of the country are intersected by a series of parallel mountain
ranges in the Andes system; the vast majority of the population lives here in a
series of valleys between the chains. The eastern part of the country lies in
the Amazon and Orinoco basins and is covered by tropical rainforest; the area is
largely uninhabited. Colombia also includes a number of small islands in the
Caribbean Sea (San Andrés, Roncador, etc.) and Malpelo in the Pacific Ocean.
Colombia is among the world's largest producers of coffee and probably the
largest producer of cocaine. Since World War II, the country has been marked by
great contradictions and political and criminal violence. A 50-year civil war
between the government and the left-wing guerrilla movement FARC ended with a
ceasefire agreement in 2016.
Colombia - Constitution
In 1991, the 1888 Constitution was replaced by a new one. The president, who
cannot be re-elected, and the two chambers of Congress are elected by direct
election for four years. The president appoints the government. A vice
presidential post and two other posts were created by the constitutional
amendment to support the president in the exercise of government. Out of the
Senate's 102 seats, two are reserved for Indians; The House of Representatives
has 161 seats, of which each of the 32 departments occupies two. Congress can
fire ministers. A constitutional court monitors compliance with the
Colombia - economy
The economic policy of Colombia has traditionally been characterized by state
control and protection of domestic production. However, the change of government
in 1990 meant a radical break with this pattern, and Colombia is now pursuing a
free trade policy.
Trade liberalization came after a period of solid growth, driven in
particular by investment in the mining industry and rising oil exports. Although
Colombia is rich in natural resources, the country has throughout the ages been
very dependent on coffee exports and therefore also very sensitive to
fluctuations in coffee prices. This led to a desire for a broader-based export
base, and in 1990, oil exports exceeded coffee exports for the first time; oil
exports have since quadrupled (2003). Another important export item is
cocaine; Colombia is considered to be the world's largest producer by far,
although great efforts are being made to hamper the sector, e.g. by destruction
of coca fields from the air. Conflicts between the authorities and, on the one
hand, right-wing paramilitary groups and, on the other hand, Western-oriented
rebels (FARC) is nourished by the drug economy and has for decades shaped the
country's politics and economy.
Colombia, however, has been less burdened by foreign debt than most Latin
American states, just as the country has not been plagued by hyperinflation
either. This is partly due to a generally tight fiscal and monetary policy,
which, however, is hampered by the influx of drug money. Privatizations and cuts
in public spending have provided the country with loans from the IMF around
2000, but not abolished unemployment (12% recorded in 2005), and Colombia, like
other Latin American countries, is characterized by economic inequality.
The United States is Colombia's most important trading partner and also
accounts for the majority of foreign investment in the country. Colombia
participates in a number of regional trade agreements, including The Andean
Pact (with Bolivia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela) and the so-called G-3
cooperation with Mexico and Venezuela. It has been an associate member of
Mercosur since 2003. Relations with Mexico and the United States are sought to
be strengthened through a formal application for membership in the North
American Free Trade Association, NAFTA.
In 2005, Denmark's exports to Colombia amounted to DKK 226 million. DKK,
while imports amounted to 605 mill. kr.
Colombia - drugs
The Colombian drug cartels control an estimated 80% of the world market
for cocaine, and they play a significant role in Colombian society. It was not
until the 1970's that criminals discovered the potential of refining and
smuggling cocaine to the United States and, to a lesser extent, to Western
Europe. The activities were brought together in loose, mafia-like family
associations such as the Medellín and Cali cartels, which soon gained a dominant
role. The refining took place in laboratories hidden in the large, almost
uninhabited rainforest areas. In several places, the cartels had to enter into
"production agreements" with the left-wing guerrilla.
In the early 1980's, trade expanded sharply, and in 1983 the government
launched a fight against the cartels, who had otherwise lived in peace and
luxury. In 1984, security forces gained control of the so-called Tranquilandia ('Roligland'),
which was considered the world's largest drug laboratory; an entire city in the
jungle with its own airport, electricity and water supply, etc. Most leaders
fled to Panama and offered against a peace agreement the government to invest
their capital in Colombia's development programs or even to pay the country's
foreign debt - but to no avail.
In the following years, the war between the cartels and the authorities
intensified with killings of judges, politicians and police officers. In
1993, police killed the leader of the Medellín cartel, Pablo Emilio
Escobar. This meant that the Cali cartel became more important. Several
reputable families, politicians and police officers continue to be linked to the
The drug trade grew in parallel with the political violence, because the
rebel groups in return for money protected many coca farmers. In the first half
of the 1990's, the leading cocaine cartels in Medellín and Cali were
cracked. Nevertheless, according to the UN 1995-2000, coca cultivation grew from
45,000 ha to 135,000 ha. In response, the United States supported the anti-drug
campaign Plan Colombia with 1.6 billion. dollars. Thousands of hectares of coca
were sprayed from the air and destroyed without much effect on the supply, but
the Colombian army was well supplied with American weapons and combat
Colombia - social conditions
The white Colombian upper class is in power in the majority of the nation's
leading institutions. The country is plagued by poverty and great social
inequalities, and the judiciary and police are powerless in the face of the
widespread violence and corruption that also abounds in these agencies. Colombia
is the most violent country in Latin America. In the early 1990's, approximately 30,000
murders, which is the total number for the United States. Representatives and
activists of the CUT, the Colombian LO, are persecuted by certain employers and
by paramilitary groups; in 1992 alone, 170 were murdered.
With approximately 1/4 of those older than 60 years are
covered by retirement plans and payouts are usually low.
Upon his inauguration in 1994, President Samper promised a large-scale
"social solidarity network" from 1996 for the most disadvantaged third of the
Colombia - health conditions
Life expectancy has increased from 58 years to 69 years since 1960. Colombian
women get on average. 2.7 children, halving from 1970 to 1991. During the same
period, mortality in the first year of life has decreased from 77 ‰ to 38 ‰.
Mortality due to cancer and cardiovascular disease is with resp. 13% and
approximately 22% of all deaths are only half as large as in Denmark. approximately 15% of
deaths in men are due to accidents, and other violent deaths in men are also
frequent. approximately 20 mio. of the population is exposed to malaria infection, and
up to 100,000 get the disease annually. The state of health is poorest in rural
areas, where only approximately 20% of the population has organized water supply
against 80% in the cities.
The country spends 5.7% of GDP on health care; of which a little less than
half are public spending. The health service has approximately 1.5 hospital beds, 1.1
doctor and 0.5 nurse per. 1000 residents The distribution of health care
resources is very unequal with a clear favoritism of the urban population.
Colombia - military
The armed forces are (2006) at 207,000, of which about 75,000 conscripts. The
army has 178,000, the navy 22,000, the air force 7,000. In addition, 129,000 in
paramilitary police. The period of service for conscripts is 24 months. The
guards have something new as well as older, but still usable and relatively
light equipment. The units are well adapted to the demanding internal security
tasks and the geographical conditions of the country.
Colombia - mass media
The oldest and one of the largest of Colombia's approximately 30 existing dailies,
El Espectador, switched to a weekly newspaper in 2001. El Espectador was founded
in 1887 as a liberal mouthpiece. This influential and reputable newspaper, along
with the liberal-conservative daily El Tiempo (founded 1911), has especially won
recognition for its courageous and persistent coverage of the country's drug
trade. However, constitutional freedom of expression has been repeatedly
violated under the changing governments.
Radio and television are the main sources of news for the population. In the
field of television, RCN and Caracol dominate. Both channels are formerly state
but now private. In addition to the state-run Radio Nacional de Colombia, there
are several hundred radio stations.
Colombia - art and architecture
Among Colombia's earliest known cultures, Chibcha and Quimbayá stand out for
their unique jewelery, ceramics and sculptures.
Near the Magdalena River, the enigmatic San Agustín culture has left behind
huge human-like stone figures. See also Indians (art).
The religious construction of the colonial era is characterized by a simple
baroque style with a touch of Iberian mudéjar style, such as the San Francisco
church in Bogotá, the Rosário chapel in Tunja and the colonial district in
Cartagena. The Cathedral of Bogotá was rebuilt in the 19th century under the
influence of the strict Spanish classicism that replaced the Baroque.
Painting had its center in Bogotá in the 17th century and culminated with
Gregório Vásquez Ceballos (1628-1711). The 19th century was dominated by a
romantic predilection for miniatures and naive genre images.
In the 1930's, a socially realistic trend is traced, inspired by Mexican
murals. It was replaced by abstract expressionist and constructivist directions,
represented by Enrique Grau (1920-2004), Carlos Rojas (1933-97), Omar Rayo
(1928-2010) and the sculptors Edgar Negret (1920-2012) and Eduardo Ramírez
Villamizar (1923). -2004).
The new figurative painting, with Fernando Botero and Santiago Cárdenas (b.
1937) in particular, has gained international recognition.
Colombia - literature
A real national literature did not appear until the middle of the 1900's. due
to the geography and history of the country, which had hindered the creation of
a national unity. The all-dominating genres of Colombian literature until 1960
have been the poetry and essay cultivated by a spirit-aristocratic intellectual
elite. The language is a characteristically perfect Spanish, partly
characterized by the two well-known linguists Rufino J. Cuervo (1844-1911) and
Miguel A. Caro (1843-1909). Caro was also a poet and served as the country's
president from 1892-96. Until the novelist Gabriel García Márquez became world
famous, no publisher published novels to any appreciable degree. From 1867 to
1967, only three Colombian novels are known: the romantic novel Maria(1867)
by Jorge Isaacs (1837-95), the violent La vorágine (1924) by José
Eustasio Rivera (1888-1928) on rubber extraction in the primeval forest and One
Hundred Years of Solitude (1967) by García Marquez. Before 1950, one cannot
speak of a Colombian novel tradition; the narrative literature was regional,
i.e. linked to different parts of the country and their strong oral narrative
traditions. Realism was cultivated by many writers, Ricardo Carrasquilla
(1827-86), especially under the popular Spanish and Latin American form
"costumbrismo": a light, festive and sometimes ironic depiction of people's
lives. The Latin American modernismo(approximately 1875-1916), on the other hand,
was inspired by contemporary French literature and had in the Colombian José
Asunción Silva (1865-96) one of its supreme representatives. The movement was
cultivated in Colombia especially in a subdued and cool version, which
harmonized with the local neoclassical tradition dating from the late
1700's. This subduedness even characterizes the poetry of the interwar
In recent times, Nobel laureate García Márquez has made Colombia's literature
world famous. He does not belong to Bogota's literary elite, but is partly
associated with the oral culture of the Caribbean coast, and partly with modern
international currents. However, a new generation of writers has freed itself
from his shadow, including Fanny Buitrago, Manuel Zapata, Héctor Rojas and
Gustavo Alvarez Gardezábal. Several of them thematize the social and political
violence that has characterized Colombian society for the past many decades. The
more sophisticated postmodern fiction has in RH Moreno-Durán with his
trilogy Femina Suite (1977-83) a brilliant representative.
In the field of drama, the theatre's plays have been less cultivated than the
television short story, which continues to enjoy widespread success in both the
commercial and the more literary versions.
Colombia - music
Colombian music has mainly roots in Spanish music, in the coastal characters,
however, with a strong African touch. Afro-Colombian music has become the best
known. Cumbia in the north, with its rolling rhythm in a simpler
version, has become one of the most popular dance forms in Latin America since
the 1970's, along with the related porro and vallenato. Vallenato
is popular both because of the tradition of narrative and commentary lyrics and
because of the very special rhythm with a bass line, which some claim is related
to reggae. From the Pacific coast comes the rolling currulao. Highland
music is more Spanish, but especially in the south clearly contains Native
American elements. It is especially known and treasured for the flattering
polyrhythmic bambuco, which is considered by many to be a national dance,
and the slightly simpler guabina as well as the pasillo,
which is a fast waltz. The dominant instrument in the music from the savannah
plain between the Andes and the Amazon jungle is the harp. The lively joropo,
is the best known music from the area, are common in Venezuela, where it is
considered the national dance.