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Colombia’s Economy 160 kilometers) took as long as an Atlantic crossing by ship! As recently as a ­half-­century ago, surface travel between Bogotá and Cartagena could take up to two weeks. The Magdalena River is navigable to river steamers for several hundred miles. It forms a huge barrier to ­ east-­west travel, though, because no bridge spans the huge river for a distance of about 700 miles (1,126 kilometers). Colombia simply lacks the financial resources to construct a ­well-­integrated transportation ­network. Even today, it can take days if not weeks to travel between various cities and regions within the country. There are approximately 70,207 miles (112,988 kilometers) of roads, but only about 10,110 miles (16,270 kilometers) are paved. The situation with railroads is even worse. Some 2,053 miles (3,304 kilometers) of track is divided by several gauges (width between tracks). One means of travel that is well developed in Colombia is by air. In fact, the national airline, Avianca, has flown commercial routes since 1919. It is the world’s second-oldest carrier after the Dutch KLM and the third-largest airline in Latin America. The country has nearly 1,000 airports, at least 35 of which can accommodate large commercial aircraft. Large sections of Colombia, particularly in the Llanos (eastern lowlands), are accessible only by air. In addition to scheduled carriers, many “bush pilots” provide charter service to remote ­areas. Communications are fairly ­ well-­developed in Colombia. Cellular phones are very popular. In fact, there are nearly three times as many of them as there are traditional line phones! With about 22 million in use, there is one cell phone for every two people in the country. Approximately 5 million people are Internet users. Nearly 500 radio and 60 television stations provide service to most of the ­population. Colombia and the Global ­Economy Colombia must play ­ catch-­up in its attempt to become a major player in the rapidly expanding global economy. Other than coffee, can you find any item in your home that is from



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