printable banner

U.S. Department of State - Great Seal

U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

Colombia (11/03)


Share

For the most current version of this Note, see Background Notes A-Z.

PROFILE

OFFICIAL NAME:
Republic of Colombia

Geography
Area: 1.14 million sq. km. (440,000 sq. mi.); about three times the size of Montana; fourth-largest country in South America.
Cities: Capital--Bogot� (pop. about 6 million). Other major cities--Medell�n, Cali, Barranquilla, Cartagena.
Terrain: Flat coastal areas, with extensive coastlines on the Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea, three rugged parallel mountain chains, central highlands, and flat eastern grasslands.
Climate: Tropical on coast and eastern plains, cooler in highlands.

People
Nationality: Noun and adjective--Colombian(s).
Population: 42 million.
Annual population growth: 1.56%.
Religion: Roman Catholic 90%.
Language: Spanish.
Education: Years compulsory--9. Attendance--80% of children enter school. Only 5 years of primary school are offered in many rural areas. Literacy--93% in urban areas, 67% in rural areas.
Health: Infant mortality rate--25/1,000. Life expectancy--men 65 yrs., women 76 yrs.

Government
Type: Republic.
Independence: July 20, 1810.
Constitution: July 1991.
Branches: Executive--President (chief of state and head of government). Legislative--Bicameral Congress.
Judicial--Supreme Court, Constitutional Court, Council of State, Superior Judicial Council.
Administrative divisions: 32 departments; Bogot�, capital district.
Major political parties: Conservative Party of Colombia, Liberal Party, and numerous small political movements (most of them allied with one or the other major party).
Suffrage: Universal, age 18 and over.

Flag: Colombia flag

Economy
GDP (2003 projected): $74.6 billion.
Annual growth rate (2003 projected): 2.2%.
Per capita GDP (2003 projected): $1,709.
Government (2003 projected): 30.2% of GDP.
Natural resources: Coal, petroleum, natural gas, iron ore, nickel, gold, silver, copper, platinum, emeralds.
Manufacturing (13.9 of GDP): Types--textiles and garments, chemicals, metal products, cement, cardboard containers, plastic resins and manufactures, beverages, wood products, pharmaceuticals, machinery, electrical equipment.
Agriculture (12.7% of GDP): Products--coffee, bananas, cut flowers, cotton, sugarcane, livestock, rice, corn, tobacco, potatoes, soybeans, sorghum. Cultivated land: 8.2% of total area.
Other sectors (by percentage of GDP): Financial services--17.1%; commerce--10.6%; transportation and communications services--8.2%; mining and quarrying--4.1%; construction and public works--4.6%; electricity, gas, and water--3.1%.
Trade: Exports (2003 projected)--$11.8 billion: petroleum, coal, coffee, flowers, textiles and garments, ferronickel, bananas, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, gold, sugar, cardboard containers, printed material, cement, plastic resins and manufactures, emeralds. Major markets--U.S., Germany, Netherlands, Japan, Venezuela. Imports (2003 projected)--$12.6 billion: machinery/equipment, grains, chemicals, transportation equipment, mineral products, consumer products, metals/metal products, plastic/rubber, paper products, aircraft, oil and gas industry equipment, and supplies. Major suppliers--U.S., Germany, Japan, Panama, Venezuela.

PEOPLE
Colombia is the third-most populous country in Latin America, after Brazil and Mexico. Migration from rural to urban areas has been prevalent. The urban population increased from 57% of the total population in 1951 to approximately 74% by 1994. Thirty cities have a population of 100,000 or more. The nine eastern lowlands departments, constituting about 54% of Colombia's area, have less than 3% of the population and a density of less than one person per square kilometer (two persons per sq. mi.). Ethnic diversity in Colombia is a result of the intermingling of indigenous peoples, Spanish colonists, and Africans. Today, only about 1% of the people can be identified as fully indigenous on the basis of language and customs.

HISTORY AND POLITICAL CONDITIONS  
During the pre-Colombian period, the area now known as Colombia was inhabited by indigenous peoples who were primitive hunters or nomadic farmers. The Chibchas, who lived in the Bogot� region, were the largest indigenous group.

The Spanish sailed along the north coast of Colombia as early as 1500; however, their first permanent settlement, at Santa Marta, was not established until 1525. In 1549, the area was a Spanish colony with the capital at Santa Fe de Bogot�. In 1717, Bogot� became the capital of the Viceroyalty of New Granada, which included what are now Venezuela, Ecuador, and Panama. The city became one of the principal administrative centers of the Spanish possessions in the New World, along with Lima and Mexico City.

In August 2000 the capital's name was officially changed from "Santa Fe de Bogot�" to the more commonly used "Bogot�." On July 20, 1810, the citizens of Bogot� created the first representative council to defy Spanish authority. Full independence was proclaimed in 1813, and in 1819 the Republic of Greater Colombia was formed.

The Republic and La Violencia (The Violence)
The new Republic of Greater Colombia included all the territory of the former Viceroyalty. Simon Bolivar was elected its first president and Francisco de Paula Santander, vice president. Two political parties grew out of conflicts between the followers of Bolivar and Santander and their political visions--the Conservatives and the Liberals--and have since dominated Colombian politics. Bolivar's supporters, who later formed the nucleus of the Conservative Party, sought strong centralized government, alliance with the Roman Catholic Church, and a limited franchise. Santander's followers, forerunners of the Liberals, wanted a decentralized government, state rather than church control over education and other civil matters, and a broadened suffrage.

Throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries, each party held the presidency for roughly equal periods of time. Colombia maintained a tradition of civilian government and regular, free elections. Notwithstanding the country's commitment to democratic institutions, Colombia's history also has been characterized by widespread, violent conflict. Two civil wars resulted from bitter rivalry between the Conservative and Liberal parties: The War of a Thousand Days (1899-1902) claimed an estimated 100,000 lives, and La Violencia (1946-1957) cost another 300,000 Colombians.

The National Front
In July 1957, former Conservative President Laureano Gomez (1950-53) and former Liberal President Alberto Lleras Camargo (1945-46) proclaimed the "Declaration of Sitges," in which they proposed a "National Front" whereby the Liberal and Conservative parties would govern jointly. The presidency would be determined by regular elections every 4 years; the two parties would have parity in all other elective and appointive offices.

The National Front ended La Violencia, and National Front administrations instituted social and economic reforms in cooperation with the Alliance for Progress. Although the system established by the Sitges agreement was phased out by 1978, the 1886 Colombian Constitution--in effect until 1991--required that the losing political party be given adequate and equitable participation in the government. The 1991 Constitution does not have that requirement, but subsequent administrations have included members of opposition parties.

Post-National Front Years
Between 1978 and 1982, the government focused on ending the limited, but persistent, Cuban-backed insurgencies that sought to undermine Colombia's traditional democratic system. In 1984, President Belisario Betancur, a Conservative who won 47% of the popular vote, negotiated a cease-fire that included the release of many guerrillas imprisoned during the effort to overpower the insurgents. The cease-fire ended when Democratic Alliance/M-19 (AD/M-19) guerrillas resumed fighting in 1985.

An attack on the Palace of Justice in Bogot� by the AD/M-19 on November 6-7, 1985, and its violent suppression by the army, shocked Colombians. Of the 115 people killed, 11 were Supreme Court justices. Although the government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) renewed their truce in March 1986, peace with other revolutionary movements, in particular the AD/M-19--then the largest insurgent group--and the National Liberation Army (ELN) was remote as Betancur left office.

The AD/M-19 and several smaller guerilla groups were successfully incorporated into a peace process during the late 1980s, which culminated in a national assembly to write a new constitution, which took effect in 1991. The FARC had declared a unilateral cease-fire under Betancur, which led to the establishment of the Union Patriotica (UP), a legal and non-clandestine political organization. After growing violence against its UP members, when an estimated 1,000-3,000 were killed, the truce with the FARC again ended in 1990.

Following administrations had to contend with the guerrillas, paramilitaries, and narcotics traffickers. Narco-terrorists assassinated three presidential candidates before Cesar Gaviria Trujillo was elected in 1990. Since the death of Medell�n cartel leader Pablo Escobar in a police shootout in December 1993, indiscriminate acts of violence associated with that organization have abated as the "cartels" now are broken up into multiple, smaller and often-competing trafficking organizations. Nevertheless, violence continues as these drug organizations resort to violence as part of their operations as well as to protest against government policies, especially extradition.

President Ernesto Samper assumed office in August 1994. However, a political crisis relating to largescale contributions from drug traffickers to Samper's presidential campaign diverted attention from governance programs, thus slowing, and in many cases, halting progress on the nation's domestic reform agenda.

The Pastrana Administration and Peace Process
On August 7, 1998, Andres Pastrana became President of Colombia. A member of the Conservative Party, Pastrana defeated Liberal Party candidate Horacio Serpa in a run-off election marked by high voter turnout and little political unrest. During his administration, high unemployment, increased countrywide guerrilla attacks by the FARC and ELN, widespread drug production and the expansion of paramilitary groups all hindered the Pastrana administration's ability to solve the country's problems.

No single explanation fully addresses the deep roots of Colombia's present-day troubles, but they include limited government presence in large areas of the interior, the expansion of illicit drug cultivation, endemic violence, and social inequities. In order to confront these challenges, the Pastrana administration unveiled its "Plan Colombia" in late 1999, a comprehensive strategy to deal with these longstanding, mutually reinforcing problems. The main objectives of Plan Colombia are to promote peace, combat the narcotics industry, revive the Colombian economy, improve respect for human rights, and strengthen the democratic and social institutions of the country.

The Uribe Administration
President Alvaro Uribe, a Harvard and Oxford-educated lawyer, was elected President of Colombia in May 2002 on a line platform to restore security to the country. An independent, he was elected with 56% of the vote, giving him a strong mandate. Among his promises was to continue to pursue the broad goals of the Pastrana administration's Plan Colombia, but within the framework of a long-term security strategy.

His inauguration on August 7, 2002 brought about violent attacks. Though Uribe was spared, the rockets launched at the presidential palace by FARC terrorists killed 19 people and injured many more. Uribe declared a state of limited emergency as a first step toward strengthening the country's law enforcement and military capabilities.

In the fall of 2002, the administration released the much-awaited Colombian national security strategy, entitled Democratic Security and Defense Policy. The Plan fit within the broader social, economic, and political goals of Plan Colombia. Though much attention has been focused on the security and military aspects of Colombia's situation, the administration also is spending significant time on issues such as expanding international trade, supporting alternate means of development, and reforming Colombia's judicial system.

GOVERNMENT

Constitutional Reforms
Colombia's present Constitution, enacted in July 1991, strengthened the administration of justice with the provision for introduction of an accusatory system that will ultimately replace the existing Napoleonic Code. Other significant reforms under the new Constitution provide for civil divorce, dual nationality, the election of a vice president, and the election of departmental governors. The Constitution expanded citizens' basic rights, including that of "tutela," under which an immediate court action can be requested by an individual, if he/she feels that his/her constitutional rights are being violated, and there is no other legal recourse. The national government has executive, legislative, and judicial branches, as well as an independent Attorney General (fiscal) elected for a 4-year term by the Congress. The president is elected for a 4-year term and cannot be re-elected. The 1991 Constitution reestablished the position of vice president, who is elected on the same ticket as the president. By law, the vice president will succeed in the event of the president's resignation, illness, or death.

Colombia's bicameral Congress consists of a 102-member Senate and a 161-member House of Representatives. Senators are elected on the basis of a nationwide ballot, while representatives are elected in multimember districts co-located within the 32 national departments.

The country's capital is a separate district and elects its own representatives. Members may be re-elected indefinitely. Congress meets twice a year, and the president has the power to call it into special session, if required. Colombia's legal system has recently begun to incorporate some elements of an oral, adversarial system. The judicial branch's general structure is composed of four distinct jurisdictions (civilian, administrative, constitutional and special). Colombia's highest judicial bodies include the co-equal Supreme Court, the Council of State, the Constitutional Court, and the Superior Judicial Council. This sometimes leads to conflicting opinions since there is no court which has clear authority over the decisions of the other three.

Principal Government Officials
President--Alvaro URIBE V�lez
Vice President--Francisco SANTOS Calder�n
Minister of Foreign Affairs--Carolina BARCO Isakson
Ministr of Defense--Jorge Alberto Uribe
Minister of Interior and Justice--Sabas Pretelt de la Vega
Minister of Environment, Housing, and Development--Sandra Suarez
Ambassador to the United States--Luis Alberto MORENO
Ambassador to the Organization of American States--Horacio SERPA Uribe
Ambassador to the United Nations--Luis Guillermo GERALDO

Colombia maintains an embassy in the United States at 2118 Leroy Place NW, Washington, DC 20008 (tel. 202-387-8338). Consulates are located in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, San Francisco, San Juan, and Washington.

DEFENSE
Colombia's Ministry of Defense, charged with the country's internal and external defense and security, has an army, navy--including marines and coast guard--air force, and national police under the leadership of a civilian Minister of Defense. In 2000, Colombia assigned 3.2% of its GDP to defense, according to the National Planning Department. The security forces number about 250,000 uniformed personnel: 145,000 military and 105,000 police. President Uribe is ushering in even higher levels of spending for the military, largely funded through a one-time tax.

Many Colombian military personnel have received training in the United States or in Colombia. The United States has provided equipment to the Colombian military and police through the military assistance program, foreign military sales, and the international narcotics control program.

ECONOMY
Colombia is a free market economy with major commercial and investment ties to the United States. Transition from a highly regulated economy has been underway for more than a decade. In 1990, the administration of President Cesar Gaviria (1990-94) initiated economic liberalization or "apertura," and this has continued since then, with tariff reductions, financial deregulation, privatization of state-owned enterprises, and adoption of a more liberal foreign exchange rate. Almost all sectors became open to foreign investment although agricultural products remained protected.

Unlike many of its neighboring countries, Colombia has not suffered any dramatic economic collapses. The Uribe administration seeks to maintain prudent fiscal policies. The administration has chosen to finance much of its increased spending on security through a one-time tax on the nation's wealthiest citizens. The administration also has pledged to invest heavily in the country's infrastructure. GDP growth for 2003 was projected to be 2.2% and as of October 2003, unemployment has declined to 14%.

In addition to the domestic goals of keeping inflation low and maintaining a stable currency (the Colombian peso), the administration has put a heavy emphasis on increasing trade liberalization. The administration's strong fiscal management helped it to obtain new loans from the IDB and World Bank. Additionally, in June 2003 the IMF approved a standby loan program worth $2 billion over the next 2 years. This agreement replaces a previous agreement negotiated by the Pastrana administration.

The Colombia economy, which has stagnated since 1999, is starting to rebound, as indicated by 2003 first quarter GDP growth of 3.8%. Much of this impressive growth can be attributed to the newly signed Andean Trade Preference and Drug Eradication Act (ATPDEA). The ATPDEA-benefited exports to the U.S. fueled industrial production during the first quarter ($700 million in exports in the first quarter of 2003 vs. $700 million annually since the late 1990s). New investments in sectors that benefit from expanded ATPDEA benefits could generate more than 250,000 jobs by 2004.

Trade
Colombia's balance of trade showed a surplus of $2.7 billion in 2000. Total 2000 imports were $11.5 billion, while exports were $13.0 billion. Estimated 2001 imports were $12.7 billion with $14.5 exports. Colombia's major exports continue to be petroleum, coffee, coal, nickel, gold, and nontraditional exports (e.g., cut flowers, semiprecious stones, sugar, and tropical fruits). The United States remained Colombia's major trading partner. In 2001, the U.S. received 49.8% of Colombia's exports and provided 40% of its imports. The EU, Japan, and the Andean Pact countries also are important trading partners.

The petroleum, natural gas and coal mining, chemical, and manufacturing industries attract the greatest U.S. investment interest. U.S. investment accounted for 37.8% ($4.2 billion) of the total $11.2 billion in foreign direct investment at the end of 1997, excluding petroleum and portfolio investment.

Colombia improved protection of intellectual property rights through the adoption of three Andean Pact decisions in 1993 and 1994, but the United States remains concerned over deficiencies in licensing, patent regulations, and copyright protection.

Mining and Energy
Colombia is well-endowed with minerals and energy resources. It has the largest coal reserves in Latin America and is second to Brazil in hydroelectric potential. Estimates of oil reserves in 1995 were 3.1 billion barrels. It also possesses significant amounts of ferronickel, gold, silver, platinum, and emeralds.

The discovery of two billion barrels of high-quality oil at the Cusiana and Cupiagua fields, about 125 miles east of Bogot�, has enabled Colombia to become a net oil exporter since 1986. Total crude oil production averages 620,000 b/d; about 184,000 b/d is exported. The Pastrana government significantly liberalized its petroleum investment policies, leading to an increase in exploration activity. Refining capacity cannot satisfy domestic demand, so some refined products, especially gasoline, must be imported.

The country's oil pipelines are a frequent target of extortion and bombing campaigns by the ELN and, more recently, the FARC. The bombings have caused substantial environmental damage, often in fragile rainforests and jungles, in addition to causing significant loss of life. During 2001, more than 70 attacks on the important Cano Limon-Covenas pipeline occurred, causing it to be shut down some 240 days, with revenue losses to Colombia of nearly $500 million.

Colombia has 6.6 billion tons of proven coal reserves, and its coal production totaled 21.7 million metric tons (mt) in 1995. Production from El Cerrejon--the world's largest, open-pit coalmine--located on Colombia's Guajira Peninsula, accounted for 65% of that amount. Colombia's exports of 18.4 million mt of steam coal in 1994 made it the world's fourth-largest exporter of the commodity. Private and public investments in Colombia's coal fields and related infrastructure projects are expected to enable the country's exports to grow to about 35 million mt nationally.

While Colombia has vast hydroelectric potential, a prolonged drought in 1992 forced severe electricity rationing throughout the country until mid-1993. The consequences of the drought on electricity-generating capacity caused the government to commission the construction or upgrade of 10 thermoelectric power plants, half of which will be coal-fired and half fired by natural gas. Additionally, the government has awarded contracts to begin construction on a natural gas pipeline system that will extend from the country's extensive gas fields to its major urban centers. Other projects underway include the $6 billion development of the Cusiana and Cupiagua oil fields and the development of coal fields in the north of the country.

Foreign Investment
In 1991 and 1992, the government passed laws to stimulate foreign investment in nearly all sectors of the economy. The only activities closed to foreign direct investment are defense and national security, disposal of hazardous wastes, and real estate--the last of these restrictions is intended to hinder money laundering. Colombia established a special entity-CoInvertir--to assist foreigners in making investments in the country. Foreign investment flows for 2000 were $3.9 billion, up from $2.0 billion in 1999. As of September 2001, foreign investment flows had reached $4.3 billion. In spite of the difficulties, which include the perception of Colombia as a high-risk country, and a fall in privatization receipts, foreign investment has increased in the last years mainly due to investments in the oil sector.

The United States accounted for 26.3% of the total $23.0 billion stock of non-petroleum foreign direct investment in Colombia as of September 2001. The petroleum and natural gas coal mining, chemical and manufacturing industries attract the greatest U.S. investment interest.

Industry and Agriculture
The most industrially diverse member of the five-nation Andean Community, Colombia has four major industrial centers--Bogot�, Medell�n, Cali, and Barranquilla--each located in a distinct geographical region. Colombia's industries include textiles and clothing, leather products, processed foods and beverages, paper and paper products, chemicals and petrochemicals, cement, construction, iron and steel products, and metalworking.

Columbia's diverse climate and topography permit the cultivation of a wide variety of crops. In addition, all regions yield forest products, ranging from tropical hardwoods in the lowlands to pine and eucalyptus in the colder areas. Cacao, sugarcane, coconuts, bananas, plantains, rice, cotton, tobacco, cassava, and most of the nation's beef cattle are produced in the hot regions from sea level to 1,000 meters elevation. The temperate regions--between 1,000 and 2,000 meters--are better suited for coffee; flowers; corn and other vegetables; and fruits such as citrus, pears, pineapples, and tomatoes. The cooler elevations--between 2,000 and 3,000 meters--produce wheat, barley, potatoes, cold-climate vegetables, flowers, dairy cattle, and poultry.

Narcotics Cultivation and Control
Colombia is the world's leading supplier of refined cocaine and a growing source for heroin. More than 90% of the cocaine that enters the United States is produced, processed, or transshipped in Colombia. The cultivation of coca more than doubled in 1999 to 302,500 acres from 125,700 acres in 1995, primarily in areas where government control is weak.

Despite the death of Medell�n 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 narco-traffickers, 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.

In December 1996 and February 1997, the Colombian Congress passed legislation to toughen sentencing for those convicted of narco-trafficking offenses, including 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, former President Pastrana authorized the first extradition in almost 10 years of a Colombian trafficker to stand trial for U.S. crimes. From August 1998 to October 2003, 146 persons have been extradited to the United States, most for narcotics charges.

Alternative development programs were introduced in 1999. Corruption and intimidation by traffickers complicate the drug-control efforts of the institutions of government. Control and exploitation of narcotics trafficking has become a major source of revenue for the FARC, ELN, and AUC.

FOREIGN RELATIONS
In 1969, Colombia, along with Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador and Peru, formed what is now the Andean Community. (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 Gaviria became Secretary General of the OAS in September 1994 and was re-elected 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.

U.S.-COLOMBIAN RELATIONS
In 1822, the United States became one of the first countries to recognize the new republic and to establish a resident diplomatic mission. Today, about 25,000 U.S. citizens are registered with the U.S. embassy as living in Colombia, most of them dual nationals.

Currently, there are about 250 American businesses conducting operations in Colombia. In 1995-96, the United States and Colombia signed important agreements on environmental protection and civil aviation. The two countries have signed agreements on asset sharing and chemical control. In 1997, the United States and Colombia signed an important maritime ship-boarding agreement to allow for search of suspected drug-running vessels.

During the period 1988-96, the United States provided about $765 million in assistance to Colombia. In 1999, U.S. assistance exceeded $200 million. This funding supported Colombia's counter-narcotics efforts, such as arresting drug traffickers, seizing drugs and illegal processing facilities, and eradicating coca and opium poppy.

During the Pastrana administration, relations with the United States improved significantly. The United States responded to the Colombian Government's request for international support for Plan Colombia by approving a $1.3 billion aid package in July 2000, in addition to previously programmed assistance of nearly $300 million for FY 2000. U.S. programs consisted of a combination of military and police assistance designed to increase counter-narcotics capabilities and included a package of nearly $230 million for human rights, humanitarian assistance, alternative development, and economic and judicial reforms. These programs were an integral component of U.S. support for Plan Colombia's overall goals.

U.S. support for Colombia continues to evolve under the Uribe administration. Recognizing that terrorism and the illicit narcotics trade in Colombia are inextricably linked, the U.S. Congress granted new expanded statutory authorities in 2002 making U.S. assistance to Colombia more flexible in order to better support President Uribe's unified campaign against narcotics and terrorism.

Close cooperation continues with passage by the United States of legislation providing about $400 million in additional funding for these programs. Moreover, since the end of the FARC safe haven, the United States has responded to the Colombian Government's request for increased intelligence support, expedited delivery of spare parts paid for by Colombia, and support for counter-narcotics operations in the former demilitarized zone.

U.S. policy toward Colombia supports the Colombian Government's efforts to strengthen its democratic institutions, promote respect for human rights and the rule of law, intensify counter-narcotics efforts, foster socioeconomic development, address immediate humanitarian needs, and end the threats to democracy posed by narcotics trafficking and terrorism. Promoting security, stability, and prosperity in Colombia will continue as long-term American interests in the region.

Principal U.S. Embassy Officials
Ambassador--William Braucher Wood
Deputy Chief of Mission--Richard Baca
Political and Economic Counselor--Edward A. Lee
Consul General--Patricia Butenis
Commercial Counselor--Karla King
Management Counselor--Paul Rowe
Defense Attach�--Col. William Graves
Public Affairs Officer--James Foster
Regional Security Office--Mark Hunter
USAID Director--Michael Deal

The U.S. Embassy is located at Calle 22D Bis, No. 47-51, Bogot� (tel: (571) 315-0811; fax: (571) 315-2197). The mailing address is APO AA 34038.

The U.S. Consular Agency in Baranquilla is located at Calle 77, No. 68-15 (tel: (575) 353-0970 or 0974; fax: (575) 353-5216).

Other Contact Information
U.S. Department of Commerce, Trade Information Center, International Trade Administration, 14th and Constitution Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20230 (tel: 800-USA-TRADE, Internet: http://www.ita.doc.gov)

Colombian-American Chamber of Commerce Calle 98, @2264, Oficina 1209 Apartado Aereo 8008 Bogot�, Colombia (tel: (571) 621-5042/7925/6838, fax: (571) 612-6838, email: 73050.3127@compuserve.com) Chapters in Cali, Cartagena, Medell�n.

For the most current version of this Note, see Background Notes A-Z.



Back to Top
Sign-in

Do you already have an account on one of these sites? Click the logo to sign in and create your own customized State Department page. Want to learn more? Check out our FAQ!

OpenID is a service that allows you to sign in to many different websites using a single identity. Find out more about OpenID and how to get an OpenID-enabled account.