Like its predecessor, this study is an attempt to treat in a compact and objective manner the dominant social, political, economic, and military aspects of contemporary Colombia. Sources of information included scholarly books, journals, and monographs; official reports of governments and international organizations; numerous periodicals; and interviews with individuals having special competence in Colombian and Latin American affairs. Measurements are given in the metric system.
Although there are numerous variations, Spanish surnames generally consist of two parts: the patrilineal name followed by the matrilineal. In the instance of Virgilio Barco Vargas, for example, Barco is his father's name and Vargas is his mother's maiden name. In nonformal use, the matrilineal name is often dropped. Thus, after the first mention, just Barco is used.
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