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Panama-The Government of Torrijos and the National Guard

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The overthrow of Arias provoked student demonstrations and rioting in some of the slum areas of Panama City. The peasants in Chiriquí Province battled guardsmen sporadically for several months, but the Guard retained control. Urrutia was initially arrested but was later persuaded to join in the two-man provisional junta headed by Pinilla. Vallarino remained in retirement. The original cabinet appointed by the junta was rather broad based and included several Samudio supporters and one Arias supporter. After the first three months, however, five civilian cabinet members resigned, accusing the new government of dictatorial practices.

The provisional junta moved swiftly to consolidate government control. Several hundred actual or potential political leaders were arrested on charges of corruption or subversion. Others went into voluntary or imposed exile, and property owners were threatened with expropriation. The National Assembly and all political parties were disbanded, and the University of Panama was closed for several months while its faculty and student body were purged. The communications media were brought under control through censorship, intervention in management, or expropriation.

Pinilla, who assumed the title of president, had declared that his government was provisional and that free elections were to be scheduled. In January 1969, however, power actually rested in the hands of Omar Torrijos and Boris Martínez, commander and chief of staff, respectively, of the Guard. In early March, a speech by Martinez promising agrarian reform and other measures radical enough to alarm landowners and entrepreneurs provoked a coup within the coup. Torrijos assumed full control, and Martinez and three of his supporters in the military government were exiled.

Torrijos stated that "there would be less impulsiveness" in government without Martinez. Torrijos did not denounce the proposed reforms, but he assured Panamanian and United States investors that their interests were not threatened.

Torrijos, now a brigadier general, became even more firmly entrenched in power after thwarting a coup attempted by Colonels Amado Sanjur, Luis Q. Nentzen Franco, and Ramiro Silvera in December 1969. While Torrijos was in Mexico, the three colonels declared him deposed. Torrijos rushed back to Panama, gathered supporters at the garrison in David, and marched triumphantly into the capital. The colonels followed earlier competitors of Torrijos into exile. Because the governing junta (Colonel Pinilla and his deputy, Colonel Urrutia) had not opposed the abortive coup, Torrijos replaced them with two civilians, Demetrio B. Lakas, an engineer well liked among businessmen, and Arturo Sucre, a lawyer and former director of the national lottery. Lakas was designated "provisional president," and Sucre was appointed his deputy.

In late 1969 a close associate of Torrijos announced the formation of the New Panama Movement. This movement was originally intended to organize peasants, workers, and other social groups and was patterned after that of Mexico's Institutional Revolutionary Party. No organizational structure was established, however, and by 1971 the idea had been abandoned. The government party was revived under a different name, the Democratic Revolutionary Party (Partido Revolucionario Democrático--PRD) in the late 1970s.

A sweeping cabinet reorganization and comments of high-ranking officials in 1971 portended a shift in domestic policy. Torrijos expressed admiration for the socialist trends in the military governments of Peru and Bolivia. He also established a mutually supportive relationship with Cuba's Fidel Castro. Torrijos carefully distanced himself from the Panamanian Marxist left. The political label he appeared to wear most comfortably was "populist." In 1970 he declared, "Having finished with the oligarchy, the Panamanian has his own worth with no importance to his origin, his cradle, or where he was born."

Torrijos worked on building a popular base for his government, forming an alliance among the National Guard and the various sectors of society that had been the objects of social injustice at the hands of the oligarchy, particularly the long-neglected campesinos. He regularly traveled by helicopter to villages throughout the interior to hear their problems and to explain his new programs.

In addition to the National Guard and the campesinos, the populist alliance that Torrijos formed as a power base included students, the People's Party (Partido del Pueblo--PdP), and portions of the working classes. Support for Torrijos varied among interest groups and over time. The alliance contained groups, most notably the Guard and students, that were traditionally antagonistic toward one another and groups that traditionally had little concern with national politics, e.g., the rural sector. Nationalism, in the form of support of the efforts of the Torrijos regime to obtain control over the canal through a new treaty with the United States, provided the glue for maintaining political consensus.

In the early 1970s, the strength of the alliance was impressive. Disloyal or potentially disloyal elements within the National Guard and student groups were purged; increased salaries, perquisites, and positions of political power were offered to the loyal majority. The adherence of the middle classes was procured partly through more jobs. In return for its support, the PdP was allowed to operate openly when all other political parties were outlawed.

The Torrijos effort to secure political support in the rural sector was an innovation in Panamanian politics. With the exception of militant banana workers in the western provinces of Chiriquí and Bocas del Toro, the campesinos traditionally have had little concern with national political issues. Unlike much of Latin America, in Panama the elite is almost totally urban based, rather than being a landed aristocracy (see Urban Society , ch. 2).

No elections were held under the military government until April 1970, when the town of San Miguelito, incorporated as the country's sixty-fourth municipal district, was allowed to elect a mayor, treasurer, and municipal council. Candidates nominated by trade groups and other nonpartisan bodies were elected indirectly by a council that had been elected by neighborhood councils. Subsequently, the new system was extended throughout the country, and in 1972 the 505-member National Assembly of Municipal Representatives met in Panama City to confirm Torrijos's role as head of government and to approve a new constitution. The new document greatly expanded governmental powers at the expense of civil liberties. The state also was empowered to "oversee the rational distribution of land" and, in general, to regulate or initiate economic activities. In an obvious reference to the Canal Zone, the Constitution also declared the ceding of national territory to any foreign country to be illegal.

The governmental initiatives in the economy, legitimated by the new Constitution, were already underway. The government had announced in early 1969 its intention to implement 1962 legislation by distributing 700,000 hectares of land within 3 years to 61,300 families. Acquisition and distribution progressed much more slowly than anticipated, however (see Land Tenure and Agrarian Reform , ch. 3).

Nevertheless, major programs were undertaken. Primary attention and government assistance went to farmers grouped in organizations that were initially described as cooperatives but were in fact commercial farming operations by state-owned firms. The government also established companies to operate banana plantations--partly because a substantial amount of the land obtained under the land- reform laws was most suited to banana cultivation and had belonged to international fruit companies.

Educational reforms instituted by Torrijos emphasized vocational and technical training at the expense of law, liberal arts, and the humanities. The programs introduced on an experimental basis in some elementary and secondary schools resembled the Cuban system of "basic schools in the countryside." New schools were established in rural areas in which half the student's time was devoted to instruction in farming. Agricultural methods and other practical skills were taught to urban students as well, and ultimately the new curriculum was to become obligatory even in private schools. Although the changes were being instituted gradually, they met strong resistance from the upper-middle classes and particularly from teachers.

Far-reaching reforms were also undertaken in health care. A program of integrated medical care became available to the extended family of anyone who had been employed for the minimal period required to qualify for social security. A wide range of services was available not only to the worker's spouse and children, but to parents, aunts, uncles, cousins--to any dependent relative. Whereas in the past medical facilities had been limited almost entirely to Panama City, under Torrijos hospitals were built in several provincial cities. Clinics were established throughout the countryside. Medical-school graduates were required to spend at least two years in a rural internship servicing the scattered clinics.

Torrijos also undertook an ambitious program of public works. The construction of new roads and bridges contributed particularly to greater prosperity in the rural areas. Although Torrijos showed greater interest in rural development than in urban problems, he also promoted urban housing and office construction in Panama City. These projects were funded, in part, by both increased personal and corporate taxes and increased efficiency in tax collection. The 1972 enactment of a new labor code attempted to fuse the urban working class into the populist alliance. Among other things the code provided obligatory collective agreements, obligatory payroll deduction of union fees, the establishment of a superior labor tribunal, and the incorporation of some 15,000 additional workers, including street vendors and peddlers, into labor unions. At the same time, the government attempted unsuccessfully to unite the nation's three major labor confederations into a single, government-sponsored organization.

Meanwhile, Torrijos lured foreign investment by offering tax incentives and provisions for the unlimited repatriation of capital. In particular, international banking was encouraged to locate in Panama, to make the country a regional financial center. A law adopted in 1970 facilitated offshore banking (see Glossary). Numerous banks, largely foreign owned, were licensed to operate in Panama; some were authorized solely for external transactions. Funds borrowed abroad could be loaned to foreign borrowers without being taxed by Panama (see Finance , ch. 3).

Most of the reforms benefiting workers and peasants were undertaken between 1971 and 1973. Economic problems beginning in 1973 led to some backtracking on social programs. A new labor law passed in 1976, for example, withdrew much of the protection provided by the 1972 labor code, including compulsory collective bargaining. The causes of these economic difficulties included such external factors as the decline in world trade, and thus canal traffic. Domestic problems included a decline in agricultural production that many analysts attributed to the failure of the economic measures of the Torrijos government. The combination of a steady decline in per capita gross national product (GNP--see Glossary), inflation, unemployment, and massive foreign debts adversely affected all sectors of society and contributed heavily to the gradual erosion of the populist alliance that had firmly supported Torrijos in the early 1970s.

Increasingly, corruption in governing circles and within the National Guard also had become an issue in both national and international arenas. Torrijos's opponents were quick to note that his relatives appeared in large numbers on the public payroll.

Data as of December 1987

BackgroundExplored and settled by the Spanish in the 16th century, Panama broke with Spain in 1821 and joined a union of Colombia, Ecuador, and Venezuela - named the Republic of Gran Colombia. When the latter dissolved in 1830, Panama remained part of Colombia. With US backing, Panama seceded from Colombia in 1903 and promptly signed a treaty with the US allowing for the construction of a canal and US sovereignty over a strip of land on either side of the structure (the Panama Canal Zone). The Panama Canal was built by the US Army Corps of Engineers between 1904 and 1914. In 1977, an agreement was signed for the complete transfer of the Canal from the US to Panama by the end of the century. Certain portions of the Zone and increasing responsibility over the Canal were turned over in the subsequent decades. With US help, dictator Manuel NORIEGA was deposed in 1989. The entire Panama Canal, the area supporting the Canal, and remaining US military bases were transferred to Panama by the end of 1999. In October 2006, Panamanians approved an ambitious plan to expand the Canal. The project, which began in 2007 and could double the Canal's capacity, is expected to be completed in 2014-15.
LocationCentral America, bordering both the Caribbean Sea and the North Pacific Ocean, between Colombia and Costa Rica
Area(sq km)total: 75,420 sq km
land: 74,340 sq km
water: 1,080 sq km
Geographic coordinates9 00 N, 80 00 W
Land boundaries(km)total: 555 km
border countries: Colombia 225 km, Costa Rica 330 km

Coastline(km)2,490 km

Climatetropical maritime; hot, humid, cloudy; prolonged rainy season (May to January), short dry season (January to May)

Elevation extremes(m)lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point: Volcan Baru 3,475 m
Natural resourcescopper, mahogany forests, shrimp, hydropower
Land use(%)arable land: 7.26%
permanent crops: 1.95%
other: 90.79% (2005)

Irrigated land(sq km)430 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources(cu km)148 cu km (2000)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural)total: 0.82 cu km/yr (67%/5%/28%)
per capita: 254 cu m/yr (2000)
Natural hazardsoccasional severe storms and forest fires in the Darien area
Environment - current issueswater pollution from agricultural runoff threatens fishery resources; deforestation of tropical rain forest; land degradation and soil erosion threatens siltation of Panama Canal; air pollution in urban areas; mining threatens natural resources
Environment - international agreementsparty to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: Marine Life Conservation
Geography - notestrategic location on eastern end of isthmus forming land bridge connecting North and South America; controls Panama Canal that links North Atlantic Ocean via Caribbean Sea with North Pacific Ocean
Population3,360,474 (July 2009 est.)
Age structure(%)0-14 years: 29.3% (male 501,950/female 481,750)
15-64 years: 63.9% (male 1,085,435/female 1,061,530)
65 years and over: 6.8% (male 106,934/female 122,875) (2009 est.)
Median age(years)total: 27 years
male: 26.6 years
female: 27.3 years (2009 est.)
Population growth rate(%)1.503% (2009 est.)
Birth rate(births/1,000 population)20.18 births/1,000 population (2009 est.)
Death rate(deaths/1,000 population)4.66 deaths/1,000 population (July 2009 est.)

Net migration rate(migrant(s)/1,000 population)-0.49 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2009 est.)
Urbanization(%)urban population: 73% of total population (2008)
rate of urbanization: 2.7% annual rate of change (2005-10 est.)
Sex ratio(male(s)/female)at birth: 1.04 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.87 male(s)/female
total population: 1.02 male(s)/female (2009 est.)
Infant mortality rate(deaths/1,000 live births)total: 12.67 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 13.53 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 11.77 deaths/1,000 live births (2009 est.)

Life expectancy at birth(years)total population: 77.25 years
male: 74.47 years
female: 80.16 years (2009 est.)

Total fertility rate(children born/woman)2.53 children born/woman (2009 est.)
Nationalitynoun: Panamanian(s)
adjective: Panamanian
Ethnic groups(%)mestizo (mixed Amerindian and white) 70%, Amerindian and mixed (West Indian) 14%, white 10%, Amerindian 6%

Religions(%)Roman Catholic 85%, Protestant 15%
Languages(%)Spanish (official), English 14%; note - many Panamanians bilingual

Country nameconventional long form: Republic of Panama
conventional short form: Panama
local long form: Republica de Panama
local short form: Panama
Government typeconstitutional democracy
Capitalname: Panama City
geographic coordinates: 8 58 N, 79 32 W
time difference: UTC-5 (same time as Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions11 provinces (provincias, singular - provincia) and 1 territory* (comarca); Bocas del Toro, Comarca Kuna Yala, Comarca Ngobe-Bugle, Chiriqui, Cocle, Colon, Darien, Herrera, Los Santos, Panama, San Blas* (Kuna Yala), and Veraguas
Constitution11 October 1972; revised in 1978, 1983, 1994, and 2004

Legal systembased on civil law system; judicial review of legislative acts in the Supreme Court of Justice; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations

Suffrage18 years of age; universal and compulsory
Executive branchchief of state: President Ricardo MARTINELLI Berrocal (since 1 July 2009); Vice President Juan Carlos VARELA (since 1 July 2009); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
head of government: President Ricardo MARTINELLI Berrocal (since 1 July 2009); Vice President Juan Carlos VARELA (since 1 July 2009)
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president
elections: president and vice president elected on the same ticket by popular vote for five-year terms (not eligible for immediate reelection; president and vice president must sit out two additional terms (10 years) before becoming eligible for reelection); election last held 3 May 2009 (next to be held in 2014)
election results: Ricardo MARTINELLI Berrocal elected president; percent of vote - Ricardo MARTINELLI Berrocal 60%, Balbina HERRERA 38%, Guillermo ENDARA Galimany 2%
note: government coalition - PRD (Democratic Revolutionary Party), PP (Popular Party)
Legislative branchunicameral National Assembly or Asamblea Nacional (71 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)
elections: last held 3 May 2009 (next to be held May 2014)
election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - PRD 26, Panamenista 22, CD 14, PU 4, Independent 2, MOLIRENA 2, PP 1
note: legislators from outlying rural districts are chosen on a plurality basis while districts located in more populous towns and cities elect multiple legislators by means of a proportion-based formula

Judicial branchSupreme Court of Justice or Corte Suprema de Justicia (nine judges appointed for 10-year terms); five superior courts; three courts of appeal

Political pressure groups and leadersChamber of Commerce; National Civic Crusade; National Council of Organized Workers or CONATO; National Council of Private Enterprise or CONEP; National Union of Construction and Similar Workers (SUNTRACS); Panamanian Association of Business Executives or APEDE; Panamanian Industrialists Society or SIP; Workers Confederation of the Republic of Panama or CTRP
International organization participationBCIE, CACM, CAN (observer), CSN (observer), FAO, G-77, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC, LAES, LAIA (observer), MIGA, NAM, OAS, OPANAL, OPCW, PCA, RG, SICA, UN, UNASUR (observer), UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, Union Latina, UNWTO, UPU, WCL, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
Flag descriptiondivided into four, equal rectangles; the top quadrants are white (hoist side) with a blue five-pointed star in the center and plain red; the bottom quadrants are plain blue (hoist side) and white with a red five-pointed star in the center

Economy - overviewPanama's dollarized economy rests primarily on a well-developed services sector that accounts for 80% of GDP. Services include operating the Panama Canal, banking, the Colon Free Zone, insurance, container ports, flagship registry, and tourism. Economic growth will be bolstered by the Panama Canal expansion project that began in 2007 and is scheduled to be completed by 2014 at a cost of $5.3 billion - about 25% of current GDP. The expansion project will more than double the Canal's capacity, enabling it to accommodate ships that are now too large to transverse the transoceanic crossway, and should help to reduce the high unemployment rate. Strong economic performance has reduced the national poverty level to 29% in 2008; however, Panama has the second most unequal income distribution in Latin America. The government has implemented tax reforms, as well as social security reforms, and backs regional trade agreements and development of tourism. Not a CAFTA signatory, Panama in December 2006 independently negotiated a free trade agreement with the US, which, when implemented, will help promote the country's economic growth.
GDP (purchasing power parity)$38.92 billion (2008 est.)
$35.64 billion (2007 est.)
$31.96 billion (2006 est.)
note: data are in 2008 US dollars
GDP (official exchange rate)$23.09 billion (2008 est.)
GDP - real growth rate(%)9.2% (2008 est.)
11.5% (2007 est.)
8.5% (2006 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP)$11,800 (2008 est.)
$10,900 (2007 est.)
$10,000 (2006 est.)
note: data are in 2008 US dollars
GDP - composition by sector(%)agriculture: 6.4%
industry: 17.2%
services: 76.4% (2008 est.)
Labor force1.392 million
note: shortage of skilled labor, but an oversupply of unskilled labor (2008 est.)

Labor force - by occupation(%)agriculture: 15%
industry: 18%
services: 67% (2006)
Unemployment rate(%)5.6% (2008 est.)
6.4% (2007 est.)
Population below poverty line(%)28.6% (2006 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share(%)lowest 10%: 0.8%
highest 10%: 41.4% (2006)
Distribution of family income - Gini index56.1 (2003)
48.5 (1997)
Investment (gross fixed)(% of GDP)25.7% of GDP (2008 est.)
Budgetrevenues: $6.02 billion
expenditures: $5.923 billion (2008 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices)(%)8.8% (2008 est.)
4.2% (2007 est.)

Stock of money$3.764 billion (31 December 2008)
$3.054 billion (31 December 2007)
Stock of quasi money$15.84 billion (31 December 2008)
$14.26 billion (31 December 2007)
Stock of domestic credit$19.8 billion (31 December 2008)
$17.4 billion (31 December 2007)
Market value of publicly traded shares$6.568 billion (31 December 2008)
$6.219 billion (31 December 2007)
$5.716 billion (31 December 2006)
Economic aid - recipient$19.54 million (2005)

Public debt(% of GDP)45% of GDP (2008 est.)
69.2% of GDP (2004 est.)
Agriculture - productsbananas, rice, corn, coffee, sugarcane, vegetables; livestock; shrimp
Industriesconstruction, brewing, cement and other construction materials, sugar milling

Industrial production growth rate(%)14.2% (2008 est.)

Current account balance-$2.792 billion (2008 est.)
-$1.422 billion (2007 est.)
Exports$10.29 billion (2008 est.)
$9.338 billion (2007 est.)
note: includes the Colon Free Zone

Exports - commodities(%)bananas, shrimp, sugar, coffee, clothing
Exports - partners(%)US 39.2%, Netherlands 10.7%, Costa Rica 5.8%, Sweden 5.4%, UK 5.4%, Spain 5%, China 4.1% (2008)
Imports$15 billion (2008 est.)
$12.52 billion (2007 est.)
note: includes the Colon Free Zone

Imports - commodities(%)capital goods, foodstuffs, consumer goods, chemicals
Imports - partners(%)US 29.6%, Costa Rica 5%, China 5%, Japan 4.2% (2008)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold$2.693 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
$1.935 billion (31 December 2007 est.)
Debt - external$11.26 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
$10.45 billion (31 December 2007 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - at home$NA
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad$NA
Exchange ratesbalboas (PAB) per US dollar - 1 (2008 est.), 1 (2007), 1 (2006), 1 (2005), 1 (2004)
note: the US dollar is the legal currency

Currency (code)balboa (PAB); US dollar (USD)

Telephones - main lines in use495,800 (2008)
Telephones - mobile cellular3.805 million (2008)
Telephone systemgeneral assessment: domestic and international facilities well developed
domestic: mobile-cellular telephone subscribership has increased rapidly with combined fixed and mobile-cellular teledensity reaching 130 per 100 persons in 2008
international: country code - 507; landing point for the Americas Region Caribbean Ring System (ARCOS-1), the MAYA-1, and PAN-AM submarine cable systems that together provide links to the US and parts of the Caribbean, Central America, and South America; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean); connected to the Central American Microwave System (2008)
Internet country code.pa
Internet users934,500 (2008)
Airports117 (2009)
Roadways(km)total: 11,978 km
paved: 4,300 km
unpaved: 7,678 km (2002)

Ports and terminalsBalboa, Colon, Cristobal
Military branchesno regular military forces; Panamanian public forces include: Panamanian National Police (PNP), National Air-Naval Service (SENAN), National Border Service (SENAFRONT) (2009)
Manpower available for military servicemales age 16-49: 851,044 (2008 est.)
Manpower fit for military servicemales age 16-49: 705,160
females age 16-49: 710,521 (2009 est.)
Manpower reaching militarily significant age annuallymale: 31,089
female: 29,939 (2009 est.)
Military expenditures(% of GDP)1% of GDP (2006)
Military - noteon 10 February 1990, the government of then President ENDARA abolished Panama's military and reformed the security apparatus by creating the Panamanian Public Forces; in October 1994, Panama's Legislative Assembly approved a constitutional amendment prohibiting the creation of a standing military force but allowing the temporary establishment of special police units to counter acts of "external aggression"
Disputes - internationalorganized illegal narcotics operations in Colombia operate within the remote border region with Panama

Trafficking in personscurrent situation: Panama is a source, transit, and destination country for women and children trafficked for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation; the majority of victims are Panamanian women and children trafficked within the country into the sex trade; rural children in Panama may be trafficked internally to urban areas for labor exploitation
tier rating: Tier 2 Watch List - Panama is on the Tier 2 Watch List for failing to show evidence of increasing efforts to combat human trafficking, particularly with respect to prosecuting, convicting, and sentencing human traffickers for their crimes, and for failing to provide adequate victim assistance (2008)
Electricity - production(kWh)6.322 billion kWh (2007 est.)
Electricity - production by source(%)fossil fuel: 37%
hydro: 61.3%
nuclear: 0%
other: 1.7% (2001)
Electricity - consumption(kWh)5.17 billion kWh (2007 est.)
Electricity - exports(kWh)124.9 million kWh (2007 est.)
Electricity - imports(kWh)8.74 million kWh (2007 est.)
Oil - production(bbl/day)0 bbl/day (2008 est.)
Oil - consumption(bbl/day)94,000 bbl/day (2008 est.)
Oil - exports(bbl/day)4,803 bbl/day (2007 est.)
Oil - imports(bbl/day)87,100 bbl/day (2007 est.)
Oil - proved reserves(bbl)0 bbl (1 January 2009 est.)
Natural gas - production(cu m)0 cu m (2008 est.)
Natural gas - consumption(cu m)0 cu m (2008 est.)
Natural gas - exports(cu m)0 cu m (2008)
Natural gas - proved reserves(cu m)0 cu m (1 January 2009 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate(%)1% (2007 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS20,000 (2007 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deathsfewer than 1,000 (2007 est.)
Major infectious diseasesdegree of risk: intermediate
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea
vectorborne disease: dengue fever and malaria (2009)
Literacy(%)definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 91.9%
male: 92.5%
female: 91.2% (2000 census)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)(years)total: 13 years
male: 13 years
female: 14 years (2006)
Education expenditures(% of GDP)3.8% of GDP (2004)

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