Foreign relations of Colombia

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politics and government of

Colombia seeks diplomatic and commercial relations with all countries, regardless of their ideologies or political or economic systems. For this reason, the Colombian economy is quite open, relying on international trade and following the guidelines given by international law.

Since 2008, Colombia's Ministry of Trade and Commerce has either reached or strengthened Bilateral Trade Agreements with South Korea, Japan and China building stronger commerce interchange and development in the Pacific Rim.

Regional relations have also vastly improved under the Santos Administration (2010-current). Issues however remain regarding spillover of the FARC leftist-terrorist group, being chased out of hiding in rural areas of Colombia and finding save-havens in non-monitored areas of bordering states. The FARC numbers have significantly diminished in the last decade to an estimated 5,000-7,000. And while joint-military collaboration has steadily increased with the bordering countries of Brazil, Panama, Peru, and Venezuela, there have been tensions between Colombia and Ecuador regarding the issue. In 2002, the Ecuadorian government closed its main border crossing with Colombia, restricting its hours of operation. Ecuador continues to voice its concerns over an influx of émigré stemming from guerilla activity at its borders. Evidence has since emerged however, suggesting that a significant number of the FARC's foot-soldiers in and around the Colombia–Ecuador border, consist of Ecuadorian émigré who joined the leftist terrorist group out of need.[1] Returning Ecuadorian émigré have faced re-entry restrictions.

In 2012, relations with Nicaragua and Venezuela were tested over territorial island disputes. Bilateral committees are negotiating the dispute with Venezuela over waters in the Gulf of Venezuela.


In 1969, Colombia formed what is now the Andean Community along with Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador, and Peru (Venezuela joined in 1973, and Chile left in 1976).

In the 1980s, Colombia broadened its bilateral and multilateral relations, joining the Contadora Group, the Group of Eight (now the Rio Group), and the Non-Aligned Movement, which it chaired from 1994 until September 1998. In addition, it has signed free trade agreements with Chile, Mexico, and Venezuela.

Colombia has traditionally played an active role in the United Nations and the Organization of American States and in their subsidiary agencies. Former President César Gaviria became Secretary General of the OAS in September 1994 and was reelected in 1999. Colombia was a participant in the December 1994 and April 1998 Summits of the Americas and followed up on initiatives developed at the summit by hosting two post-summit, ministerial-level meetings on trade and science and technology.

Colombia regularly participates in international fora, including CICAD, the Organization of American States' body on money laundering, chemical controls, and drug abuse prevention. Although the Colombian Government ratified the 1988 UN Convention on Narcotics in 1994—the last of the Andean governments to do so—it took important reservations, notably to the anti-money-laundering measures, asset forfeiture and confiscation provisions, maritime interdiction, and extradition clauses. Colombia subsequently withdrew some of its reservations, most notably a reservation on extradition.

International relations

Disputes – international

Maritime boundary dispute with Venezuela in the Gulf of Venezuela; territorial disputes with Nicaragua over Archipelago de San Andrés y Providencia and Quita Sueño Bank. The United States disputes sovereignty with Colombia over the Serranilla Bank and the Bajo Nuevo Bank. Quita Sueño Bank is claimed by the United States to be a submerged reef, and thus does not recognize the sovereignty of any nation over the bank.

Membership of international organizations

Membership in International Organizations: The major organizations in which Colombia is a member include: the Agency for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America and the Caribbean, Andean Pact, Caribbean Development Bank, Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Group of 3, Group of 11, Group of 24, Group of 77, Inter-American Development Bank, International Atomic Energy Agency, International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, International Chamber of Commerce, International Civil Aviation Organization, International Criminal Police Organization, International Development Association, International Finance Corporation, International Fund for Agricultural Development, International Labour Organization, International Maritime Organization, International Maritime Satellite Organization, International Monetary Fund (IMF), International Olympic Committee, International Organization for Migration, International Organization for Standardization, International Telecommunication Union, International Telecommunications Satellite Organization, International Trade Union Confederation, Latin American Economic System, Latin American Integration Association, Latin Union, Non-Aligned Movement, Organization of American States (OAS), Permanent Court of Arbitration, Rio Group, United Nations (UN), UN Conference on Trade and Development, UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, UN Industrial Development Organization, UN Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees, Universal Postal Union, World Confederation of Labour, World Federation of Trade Unions, World Health Organization, World Intellectual Property Organization, World Meteorological Organization, World Tourism Organization, and World Trade Organization. An OAS observer has monitored the government's peace process with the paramilitaries, lending the negotiations much-needed international credibility. The United States helps Colombia secure favorable treatment from the IMF.

Major international treaties

Regional treaties include the Andean Pact, now known as the Andean Community, which also includes Bolivia, Ecuador, and Peru, the bodies and institutions making up the Andean Integration System (AIS). Colombia has signed free-trade agreements with Chile, Mexico, and Venezuela. Its recent trade agreements with Korea, China and Japan, have focused on Economic, and Technical Cooperation between those nations. Within the regional Caribbean Community and Common Market (Caricom), Colombia has also deepened Economic and Medical Science Research collaboration agreements. Colombia has also signed and ratified 105 international treaties or agreements relating to the protection of the environment. These include the Antarctic Treaty and Nuclear Test Ban Treaty and conventions on Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, and Wetlands. It has signed, but not ratified, the Antarctic-Environmental Protocol and conventions on Law of the Sea and Marine Dumping. Colombia also has signed the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and the Tlatelolco Treaty. By 1975 signatories to the 1974 Declaration of Ayacucho, of which Colombia was one, had decided on limitations to nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons.

Gaining all 186 votes, Colombia served on the U.N. Security Council from 2011-2012 representing Latin American and the Caribbean.

Colombia is also a member of the International Criminal Court with a Bilateral Immunity Agreement of protection for the United States-military (as covered under Article 98).

Latin America

Country Formal relations began Notes
 Argentina1823-03-03 See Argentina–Colombia relations
 Ecuador 1831-12See Colombia–Ecuador relations

Present-day Colombia and Ecuador trace back established official diplomatic relations to December, 1831 with the signing of the Treaty of Pasto, in which both countries recognized each other as sovereign states. The Ecuadorean diplomatic mission in New Granada (Colombia) did not open until 1837. It wasn't until 1939 that Ecuador raised the diplomatic mission's status to an official Embassy. Colombia did the same the following year in 1940.[3]

 Mexico1823-10-03 See Colombia–Mexico relations
 Nicaragua1928 See Colombia–Nicaragua relations

The relationship between the two Latin American countries has evolved amid conflicts over the San Andrés y Providencia Islands located in the Caribbean close to the Nicaraguan shoreline and the maritime boundaries covering 150,000 km2 (57,915 sq mi) that included the islands of San Andrés, Providencia and Santa Catalina and the banks of Roncador, Serrana, Serranilla and Quitasueño as well as the arbitrarily designed 82nd meridian west which Colombia claims as a border but which the International Court has sided with Nicaragua in disavowing.[7]

 Venezuela 1830See Colombia–Venezuela relations

The relationship has developed since the early 16th century, when Spanish empire colonizers created the Province of Santa Marta (now Colombia)[8] and the Province of New Andalucia (now Venezuela).[9] The countries share a history for achieving their independence under Simón Bolívar and becoming one nation—the Gran Colombia—which dissolved in the 19th century.[10] Following then, the overall relationship between the two countries has vacillated between cooperation and bilateral struggle.


Under the Uribe administration, Colombia's relations with the European Union (EU) have been cordial. Representatives of the EU have been critical of Colombia's antiguerrilla and antidrug strategies in several respects. The EU is particularly concerned about the potential for increased human rights abuses within Colombia at the hands of both government forces and illegal armed groups, and it has continued to distance itself from Plan Colombia. The EU is in favor of a negotiated solution to the nation's internal conflict. EU aid to Colombia has mainly consisted of social, economic and development investments.

In 2004, the EU as an entity did not offer unrestricted support for the Uribe government's peace initiative with paramilitaries, citing concerns over the possible lack of a credible and comprehensive peace strategy and its application, but it did approve 2 million USD in aid for the process. Individual EU members such Sweden, Italy, Germany and the Netherlands also provided limited support on their own.[11]

Country Formal Relations Began Notes
  • Colombia's embassy to Spain is concurrent to the Principality of Andorra.

On February, 2013, Colombia's Foreign Minister at the time made an official visit to Andorra in order to strengthen relations between the two countries.[12]

 Austria1920 See Austria–Colombia relations

On May 19, 1998, Colombia and Belarus signed a collaboration agreement between both countries.[17]

 Czech Republic
 France 1892-05-30 See Colombia–France relations

Officially the relations between Colombian and France began on May 30, 1892 with the signature of an agreement intended to establish French nationals in Colombia, increase commerce and navigation between the two nations.[27]

  • Colombia is represented in Greece through its embassy in Rome, it has an honorary consulate in Athens.[28]
  • Greece is represented in Colombia through its embassy in Caracas, it has two honorary conuslate (Bogotá and Cartagena).
  • Colombia's embassy to Sweden is concurrent to Iceland.
  • Iceland is accredited to Colombia from its embassy in Ottawa, Canada.[29]
  • Iceland and Colombia have a Free Trade Agreement through the EFTA[30]
 IrelandSee Colombia–Ireland relations
  • Colombia is represented in Ireland through its embassy in London, United Kingdom.
  • Ireland is represented in Colombia through its embassy in Mexico City, Mexico and an honorary consulate in Bogotá.

Colombia recognized Kosovo on August 6, 2008.[33]

  • Colombia's embassy to Switzerland is concurrent to the Principality of Liechtenstein.
  • Liechtenstein and Colombia have a Free Trade Agreement through the EFTA.[34]
  • Colombia's embassy to France is concurrent to the Principality of Monaco.
  • Monaco has an honorary consulate in Colombia.

Colombia and Monaco first stablished diplomatic relations in December 2000. In 2012, Colombia's ambassador to France at the time, presented to Monaco its credentials becoming the first non-resident embassador to the country.[35] In August, 2012, Colombia's flagship ARC Gloria visited the port of Monte Carlo and received over 3,000 visitos on its visit.


Colombia recognized Montenegro on September 30, 2006 and established diplomatic relations on August 12, 2011.[36]

 Russia1935See Colombia–Russia relations
  • Colombia has an embassy in Moscow.
  • Russia has an embassy in Bogotá.
 SpainSee Colombia–Spain relations
 United Kingdom1825-04-18

Rest of world

Country Formal Relations Began Notes
  • Australia has a consulate-general in Bogotá.[44]
  • Colombia has an embassy in Canberra and a consulate-general in Sydney.[45]

Official diplomatic relations were first established on December 21, 2012.[46]

 Canada 1953See Canada–Colombia relations

The relationship between the two countries has been gradually increasing with more frequent diplomatic visits to promote political, commercial cultural and academic exchanges. Colombia is currently the commercial point of entry into Latin America for Indian companies.[49]


In the mid-1950s both countries officially established diplomatic relations and set up embassies in Bogotá and Tel Aviv respectively.[53] Relations improved tremendously in 1988 when major trade agreements were signed between Israel and Colombia.


The relationship was officially established in 1908, only interrupted between 1942 and 1954 with the surge of World War II. Relations are mostly based on commercial trade that has favored Japan interests, cultural exchanges and technological and philanthropic aid to Colombia.[54]

On August 22, 2011 Colombia officially recognized the National Transitional Council as the only legitimate representative of the Libyan people.
 Malaysia19 August 1987[55]

Ambassador of Colombia in Malaysia also accredited to East Timor, Thailand and Vietnam, while Malaysian Embassy in Lima, Peru, accredited to Colombia. Both are the members of United Nations, Movement of Non-Aligned Cooperation Forum Asia-Latin America (FEALAC) and Pacific Economic Cooperation Council (PECC).

 New Zealand
  • Colombia is accredited to New Zealand from its embassy in Canberra, Australia[45] and maintains a consulate-general in Auckland.[56]
  • New Zealand is accredited to Colombia from its embassy in Santiago, Chile and maintains an honorary consulate in Bogotá.[57]

Both Pakistan and Colombia do not enjoy cordial dealings with some of their neighbours. Another common aspect that makes the task of both Colombian and Pakistan Armed forces even tougher is the difficult terrain they have been encountering. Poverty, income inequality, destruction and degradation of other vital organs of the state have consequently been the natural by-products of insubordination and rebellions in both Colombia and Pakistan. Both the countries have similar Gross Domestic Products (GDPs) too. While the Colombian Purchasing Power Parity GDP stands at $460.406 billion, Pakistan s GDP stands at $464.897 billion (latest IMF statistics). Like Colombia, Pakistan too also witnesses a large presence of the US military personnel and civilian contractors on its territory. Colombia established diplomatic relations with Pakistan in 1980, but bilateral trade between the two countries was negligible which needed to be improved for the benefit of both nations.

 South Korea10 March 1962[58]See Colombia–South Korea relations
 United States See Colombia-United States relations
US President Bill Clinton and daughter Chelsea during a visit to Cartagena, Colombia, where they were greeted by a Vallenato children group.

The country traditionally has had good relations with the United States. Relations were strained during the presidency of Ernesto Samper (1994–98) due to accusations of receiving illegal campaign funding from the Cali Cartel. Relations between the two countries greatly improved during the Pastrana administration (1998–2002). In January 2000, the Clinton administration pledged more than US$1 billion of mainly military assistance to Colombia to assist the antidrug component of President Pastrana's strategy known as Plan Colombia. Relations with the United States became a foreign policy priority for the Uribe administration, and Colombia became an important ally in the "War on Terrorism". In March 2002, in response to a request from U.S. President George W. Bush, the U.S. Congress lifted restrictions on U.S. assistance to Colombia to allow it to be used for counterinsurgency in addition to antidrug operations. U.S. support for Colombia's antidrug-trafficking efforts included slightly more than US$2.5 billion between 2000 and 2004, as compared with only about US$300 million in 1998. Uribe and the Colombian government applied more military pressure on the FARC and other outlawed groups. After the offensive, many security indicators improved.[60][61] Colombia achieved a great decrease in cocaine production, leading White House drug czar R. Gil Kerlikowske to announce that Colombia is no longer the world's biggest producer of cocaine.[62][63]

Transnational issues

Narcotics & Terrorism

By the 1990s, Colombia had become the world's leading supplier of refined cocaine and a growing source for heroin. More than 90% of the cocaine that entered in the 1990s the United States was produced, processed, or transshipped in Colombia. The cultivation of coca reduced between 1995 and 1999 from 3,020 to 1,100 km2 (425 sq mi), primarily in areas where government control is more active.

Despite the death of Medellín cartel drug kingpin Pablo Escobar in 1993 and the arrests of major Cali cartel leaders in 1995 and 1996, Colombian drug cartels remain among the most sophisticated criminal organizations in the world, controlling cocaine processing, international wholesale distribution chains, and markets. In 1999 Colombian police arrested over 30 narcotraffickers, most of them extraditable, in "Operation Millennium" involving extensive international cooperation. More arrests were made in a following "Operation Millennium II."

Colombia is engaged in a broad range of narcotics control activities. Through aerial spraying of herbicide and manual eradication, Colombia has attempted to keep coca, opium poppy, and cannabis cultivation from expanding. The government has committed itself to the eradication of all illicit crops, interdiction of drug shipments, and financial controls to prevent money laundering. Alternative development programs were introduced in 1999.

Corruption and intimidation by traffickers complicate the drug-control efforts of the institutions of government. Colombia passed revised criminal procedures code in 1993 that permits traffickers to surrender and negotiate lenient sentences in return for cooperating with prosecutors. In December 1996 and February 1997, however, the Colombian Congress passed legislation to toughen sentencing, asset forfeiture, and money-laundering penalties.

In November 1997, the Colombian Congress amended the constitution to permit the extradition of Colombian nationals, albeit not retroactively. In late 1999, President Pastrana authorized the first extradition in almost 10 years of a Colombian trafficker to stand trial for U.S. crimes. Three such extraditions to the United States have taken place, the most recent in August 2000, with cases against others pending in Colombian courts. Under the Pastrana administration, Plan Colombia was developed and implemented with U.S. backing.

During the presidency of Álvaro Uribe, the government applied more military pressure on the FARC and other outlawed groups. After the offensive, many security indicators improved.[60][61] Colombia achieved a great decrease in cocaine production, leading White House drug czar R. Gil Kerlikowske to announce that Colombia is no longer the world's biggest producer of cocaine.[62][63]

In addition to the challenge posed to the United States by Colombian drug trafficking, illegal Colombian immigrants in the United States are an issue in Colombia-U.S. relations. According to figures from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Colombia is the fourth-leading source country of illegal immigration to the United States. According to its estimates, the number of illegal Colombian residents in the United States almost tripled from 51,000 in 1990 to 141,000 in 2000.[66] According to the US Census Bureau, the number of authorized Colombian immigrants in the United States in 2006 was 801,363.[67]

See also


  1. United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. "Ecuador". UNHCR. Retrieved 2013-04-22.
  2. "Colombian embassy in Buenos Aires" (in Spanish).
  3. diplomatic relations of Colombia and Ecuador (Spanish)
  4. Embassy of Colombia in Mexico City (in Spanish only)
  5. Consulate of Colombia in Guadalajara (in Spanish)
  6. Embassy of Mexico in Bogotá (in Spanish only)
  7. LA Times: Border tensions rise in Central & South America
  8. Roa, Alberto Saldarriaga. "Fundación de Santa Marta" (in Spanish). Retrieved 2007-11-25.
  9. Ruano, Maru. "Cumaná" (in Spanish). Retrieved 2007-11-26.
  10. Mabry, Donald J. "Gran Colombia and the United Provinces of Central America". Historical Text Archive. Retrieved 2007-11-26.
  11. Archived March 31, 2010, at the Wayback Machine.
  12. Principado de Andorra | Cancillería
  13. "Bilaterale Beziehungen" (in German). Austrian Embassy in Bogotá. Retrieved 2009-04-01.
  14. Austrian embassy in Bogotá (in German and Spanish only)
  15. Colombian embassy in Vienna
  16. "Diplomacy's Dark Hours". TIME. 1980-03-17. Retrieved 2009-04-01.
  17. Cancillería
  18. Belgian embassy in Bogotá (in Spanish)
  19. Colombian embassy in Brussels
  20. Czech embassy in Bogotá (in Czech and Spanish only)
  21. Colombian embassy in Vienna (also accredited to the Czech Republic)
  22. "Embassy of Czech Republic in Colombia". VisaHQ. Retrieved 2013-04-22.
  23. 1 2 "Předseda vlády M. Topolánek v Kolumbii pozval prezidenta A.Uriba na návštěvu ČR" (in Czech). Vláda České republiky (Czech Government – official website). Retrieved 2009-05-13.
  24. "PM Topolánek visits Colombia". Radio Prague – News. Retrieved 2009-05-14.
  25. "Topolánek chce Kolumbii prodat česká bitevní letadla" (in Czech). Retrieved 2009-05-14.
  26. "Overseas Embassies and Consulates of Denmark". Retrieved 2013-04-22.
  27. La France en Colombie: Relations franco-colombiennes » Relations politiques » Présentation et historique (French)
  28. Colombian embassy in Rome (Representation of Colombia in Greece)
  29. Embassy of Iceland in Ottawa, Canada
  30. Cancillería
  31. Colombian embassy in Rome (in Italian and Spanish only)
  32. Italian embassy in Bogotá (in Italian and Spanish only)
  33. "EL MINISTERIO DE RELACIONES EXTERIORES DE COLOMBIA DECLARA QUE RECONOCE A LA REPUBLICA DE KOSOVO" (PDF) (in Spanish). Bogotá, Colombia: Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Colombia. 2008-08-06. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2008-08-13.
  34. Cancillería
  35. Principado de Mónaco | Cancillería
  36. establece relaciones diplomáticas con Montenegro in Spanish only) Archived March 24, 2012, at the Wayback Machine.
  37. Colombian embassy in Madrid
  38. Spanish embassy in Bogota
  39. "Embajada De Colombia En Suecia". Retrieved 2013-04-22.
  40. "Sveriges ambassad". SwedenAbroad. Retrieved 2013-04-22.
  41. Colombian embassy in London
  42. Colombian consulate in London
  43. British embassy in Bogotá
  44. Consulate-General of Australia in Bogotá
  45. 1 2 Embassy of Colombia in Canberra
  46. Colombian ministry of foreign affairs: Colombia-Bhutan relations (Spanish) Colombian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Accessed December 22, 2012. Archived January 19, 2013, at the Wayback Machine.
  47. Embassy of Canada in Colombia
  48. Embassy of Colombia in Ottawa
  49. Colombian ministry of foreign affairs: Colombia-India relations (Spanish) Colombian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Accessed December 14, 2007.
  50. Indian Embassy in Colombia
  51. Colombia Embassy in India
  52. Colombian Embassy in India
  53. "Embajada de Israel en Colombia". (in Spanish). Retrieved 2015-07-10.
  54. (Spanish) Colombian embassy in Japan
  55. "(Spanish) Relaciones bilaterales". Embassy of the Republic of Colombia, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Retrieved 2012-12-08.
  56. Consulate-General of Colombia in Auckland, New Zealand
  57. Embassy of New Zealand in Santiago, Chile
  58. 1 2
  59. "Embassy of Korea (Republic) in Bogota, Colombia". Retrieved 2015-07-10.
  60. 1 2 "Kidnapping on the rise for 1st time in decade". Colombia Reports. 17 November 2010. Retrieved 14 May 2011.
  61. 1 2 "Disminuir la tasa anual de homicidios por cada 100. 000 habitantes (Sin accidentes de transito)" (in Spanish). SIGOB. Archived from the original on 2011-07-24. Retrieved 15 March 2010.
  62. 1 2 "Colombia is no longer the world's biggest producer of cocaine." (in Spanish). Retrieved 24 April 2013.
  63. 1 2 "Colombia no longer top cocaine producer". 2012-07-30. Retrieved 24 April 2013.
  64. Embassy of Colombia in Washington, DC
  65. Embassy of the United States in Bogotá
  66. "Estimates of the illegal immigrant population residing in the United States: 1990 to 2000" (PDF). Office of Policy and Planning U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service. Retrieved 2012-03-04.
  67. U.S. Census Bureau, Selected Population Profile in the United States: Colombians U.S. Department of Commerce. Retrieved on 2008-02-07. "S0201. Selected Population Profile in the United States; Population Group: Colombian; Data Set: 2006 American Community Survey; Survey: 2006 American Community Survey. (Via: Main>Data Sets>American Community Surveys>Selected Population Profiles (Geographic Type=Nation, Ethnic Group=Colombian)".
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