Colombia’s New Global Strategy

Written on July 4, 2011 by Diego Sánchez de la Cruz in Americas, Foreign Policy, Master in International Relations (MIR)

By Diego Sánchez de la Cruz

Since Juan Manuel Santos took office, Colombia’s foreign policy strategy has experienced significant changes. For instance, the new Cabinet restored diplomatic ties with both Venezuela and Ecuador, ending years of political stress and closing a period of security dilemmas that created uncertainty and instability. The Economist has explained that “Santos has shown a desire to broaden his country’s friendships in the region”, and it looks like his effort has been successful so far. (1)

 Such pragmatic move was only the beginning of a new approach that also looks to gain international influence through economic engagement. In this sense, the Colombian government is promoting an ambitious program for infrastructure development that would enhance the country’s competitiveness and open new business opportunities. So far, Chinese authorities have agreed to invest in a $7.6 billion project that looks to create a 220 km “Dry Canal” that could become a rival to the Panama’s conduit. This high-speed railway would increase Colombia’s centrality in terms of trade and economic influence. (2)

 However, President Santos is not only looking to expand Colombia’s ties with the Pacific economy. The European Union has just passed a Free Trade Agreement with Colombia, and this partnership is likely to become broader. President Santos himself has recently visited Spain and Germany, heading a diplomatic mission that devoted most of its efforts to highlight business opportunities in Colombia to European investors.

 While these new partnerships are built, President Santos has decided to re-address the country’s alliance with the United States. As TIME Magazine put it in February, “Colombia is no longer waiting for the US to come through with the passing of a Free Trade Agreement that has been lingering in Washington for years” (3). This explains why Santos is looking to diversify his country’s international network through new strategic partnerships.

 Colombia is also likely to grow its international power due to its geopolitical relevance in the field of energy. The country’s oil industry is flourishing after years of domestic instability due to the guerrilla wars. As the government successfully secures the oil fields, production has climbed to record numbers. At the same time, Colombia remains the second largest exporter of coal and the third richest country in water.

 Additionally, the Colombian government is also looking to expand its role in different international institutions, pushing for eventual admission into the OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development) or the APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum) (4). Meanwhile, Colombia holds the rotatory presidency of the United Nations’ Security Council, another platform that can help increase the country’s international profile.

 Hence, it seems certain that the new Colombian government has been able to expand the country’s international presence with an ambitious agenda of diplomatic cooperation and economic engagement. Thanks to an intelligent approach to Economic Growth, Globalization and International Relations, Colombia is becoming a vibrant emerging power.


[…] months ago, Diego Sánchez de la Cruz wrote for International Relations Blog about President Santos' strategy in increasing Colombia's presence in international markets […]

César October 10, 2011 - 2:44 am

Interesting, Colombia now is in the eye of the World.

rabaty August 31, 2013 - 3:31 pm

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