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Colombia - Glossary Index
Sources: The Library of Congress Country Studies; CIA World Factbook

      Glossary -- Colombia

      Literally, copaternity. A system of ritual coparenthood that links parents, children, and godparents in a close social or economic relationship.
      consumer price index (CPI)
      A statistical measure of sustained change in the price level weighted according to spending patterns.
      A diplomatic initiative launched by a January 1983 meeting on Contadora Island off the Pacific coast of Panama, by which the "Core Four" mediator countries of Mexico, Venezuela, Colombia, and Panama sought to prevent through negotiations a regional conflagration among the Central American states of Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica. In September 1984, the negotiating process produced a draft treaty, the Contadora Acta, which was judged acceptable by the government of Nicaragua but rejected by the other four Central American states concerned. The governments of Peru, Uruguay, Argentina, and Brazil formed the Contadora Support Group in 1985 in an effort to revitalize the faltering talks. The process was suspended unofficially in June 1986 when the Central American governments refused to sign a revised Acta. The Contadora process was effectively superseded by direct negotiations among the Central American states.
      An hierarchical conception of society that assigns to elites the guiding roles of maintaining social harmony and identifying the general will of the nation.
      "crawling peg"
      A system of marginal and frequent adjustments of the exchange rate in order to enhance the attractiveness of a nation's exports.
      fiscal year (FY)
      Calendar year.
      gross domestic product (GDP)
      A measure of the total value of goods and services produced by the domestic economy during a given period, usually one year. Obtained by adding the value contributed by each sector of the economy in the form of profits, compensation to employees, and depreciation (consumption of capital). The income arising from investments and possessions owned abroad is not included. Hence, the term domestic is used to distinguish GDP from GNP (q.v.).
      gross national product (GNP)
      Total market value of all final goods and services produced by an economy during a year. Obtained by adding GDP (q.v.) and the income received from abroad by residents less payments remitted abroad to nonresidents.
      International Monetary Fund (IMF)
      Established along with the World Bank (q.v.) in 1945, the IMF is a specialized agency affiliated with the United Nations that takes responsibility for stabilizing international exchange rates and payments. The main business of the IMF is the provision of loans to its members when they experience balance of payments difficulties. These loans often carry conditions that require substantial internal economic adjustments by the recipients.
      import substitution industrialization
      A pattern of economic development encouraging the local production of previously imported manufactured goods. Governments typically institute high tariffs to protect the infant domestic industries. Employed widely in Latin America in the wake of disruption of trading patterns during World War I and the Great Depression.
      liberation theology
      An activist movement led by Roman Catholic clergy who trace their inspiration to Vatican Council II (1965), where some church procedures were liberalized, and the Second Latin American Bishops' Conference in Medellín (1968), which endorsed greater direct efforts to improve the lot of the poor. Advocates of liberation theology--sometimes referred to as "liberationists"--work mainly through Christian Base Communities (Comunidades Eclesiásticas de Base--CEBs). Members of CEBS meet in small groups to reflect on scripture and discuss its meaning in their lives. They are introduced to a radical interpretation of the Bible, one that employs Marxist terminology to analyze and condemn the wide disparities between the wealthy elite and the impoverished masses in most underdeveloped countries. This reflection often leads members to organize to improve their living standards through cooperatives and civic improvement projects.
      open market operations
      The process by which the central bank buys or sells securities in the open market to control monetary growth or interest rates. By selling securities, the central bank absorbs excess money, whereas by buying securities it adds to the money supply.
      Colombia's unit of currency. In keeping with Colombia's adoption of the "crawling peg" (q.v.) system, the government pursued a policy of frequent marginal devaluations of the peso against major traded currencies. The exchange rate averaged Col$142.3=US$1 in 1985, Col$194.3=US$1 in 1986, Col$242.6=US$1 in l987, and Col$299.1=US$1 in 1988.
      secondary recovery
      An artificial means of forcing oil out of rock by repressurizing older oil reservoirs with injections of gas or water.
      value-added tax
      An incremental tax applied to the value added at each stage of the processing of a raw material or the production and distribution of a commodity. It is calculated as the difference between the product value at a given state and the cost of all materials and services purchased as inputs. The value-added tax is a form of indirect taxation, and its impact on the ultimate consumer is the same as that of a sales tax.
      World Bank
      The informal name used to designate a group of three affiliated international institutions: the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), the International Development Association (IDA), and the International Finance Corporation (IFC). The IBRD, established in 1945, has the primary purpose of providing loans to developing countries for productive projects. The IDA, a legally separate loan fund administered by the staff of the IBRD, was set up in 1960 to furnish credits to the poorest of developing countries on much easier terms than those of conventional IBRD loans. The IFC, founded in 1956, supplements the activities of the IBRD through loans and assistance designed specifically to encourage the growth of productive private enterprises in less-developed countries. The president and certain senior officers of the IBRD hold the same positions in the IFC. The three institutions are owned by the governments of the countries that subscribe their capital. To participate in the World Bank group, member states must first belong to the International Monetary Fund (q.v.).

    NOTE: The information regarding Colombia on this page is re-published from The Library of Congress Country Studies and the CIA World Factbook. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of Colombia Glossary information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Colombia Glossary should be addressed to the Library of Congress and the CIA.

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