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Colombia's diverse culture reflects the indigenous Indian, Spanish and African origins of its people. The fourth largest country in South America and one of the continent's most populous nations, Colombia has substantial oil reserves and is a major producer of gold, silver, emeralds, platinum and coal.
Colombia has also been ravaged by a decades-long violent conflict involving left-wing guerrillas, right-wing paramilitaries and Colombian armed forces, as well as drug traffickers, landowners, and other legal and illegal interests. This conflict has resulted in some 2 to 3 million displaced persons, the highest in the western hemisphere, and the second highest in the world after Sudan. In this context, opportunities for artisans to earn an income through fair trade are significant and valuable.