(pronounced "al-eh-HAHN-droh toh-LAY-doh")
"Destiny has put me on the front line of the battle to recover democracy and freedom."
The Republic of Perú is located on the west coast of the South American continent, bordered to the north by Ecuador and Colombia, to the east by Brazil and Bolivia, and to the south by Chile. The third largest South American country, Peru's territory of 1.28 million sq km (496,222 sq mi) encompasses three distinct geographical areas: a narrow coastal plain along the country's 2800 km (1400 mi) Pacific Ocean coastline; the high sierra of the Andes; and the interior region of foothills, tropical rainforest and lowlands which includes the headwaters of the Amazon. The coastal area, home to one-third of the population of nearly 27.9 million (2002 estimate), is the industrial and commercial center. Lima, the nation's capital, is located about midway down the coastline.
The official languages are Spanish and Quechua. Aymara is an important but not official language, which with Quechua, is spoken by Perú's Indians. Approximately 45% of the population is of Incan descent and this sector remains largely unintegrated with the white (15%) and mestizo (37%) populations of Perú. Blacks, Asians and other groups make up the remaining 3% of the population. Roman Catholicism is the state religion, although there are some evangelical Protestant groups which have become increasingly powerful in the interior of the country. Average life expectancy was estimated at 71 years in 2002.
The basis of Peru's economy traditionally has been the extraction of minerals such as copper, silver, zinc, and lead. Since the discovery in 1971 of petroleum in the northeastern jungle, oil has become the nation's leading export. Agriculture plays a significant role in the economy, with almost 40% of the labor force involved either in subsistence or commercial farming or fishing. The most important legal cash crops are coffee, cotton, and sugar. Coca, the plant from which cocaine is derived, brings in millions of dollars annually in foreign exchange. The Peruvian unit of currency is the nuevo sol . Per capita gross domestic product (GDP) was estimated at US $4,800 in 2001, with 50% of Peru's people living in poverty.
Oficino de Presidente