Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Colombia
Address: Palacio de San Carlos
Calle 10 № 5-51, Bogotá, Colombia
Tel.: +57 (1) 3826999 / 01 8000 938 000
María Ángela Holguín Cuéllar
Secretary of Foreign Affairs of Colombia
María Ángela Holguín Cuéllar was born on 13 November 1963 to Julio Holguín Umaña and Lucila Cuéllar Calderón. She is related to Carlos and Jorge Holguín Mallarino, briefly appointed as interim presidents of Colombia in the presidential periods of 1888–1892 and 1921–1922 respectively. Holguín married Santiago Jiménez Mejía on 27 August 1983 but later divorced having no children. She later met Carlos Espinosa Pérez, with whom she had a son, Antonio, born 23 January 1991.
Holguín studied at the Gimnasio Femenino school in Bogota, and then studied French at the Université Paris X. She graduated from the University of the Andes in 1988 with a bachelor's degree in Political Science, and she also completed a specialization there in Public Management and Administrative Institutions in 1992.
In 2010, while Holguín was serving as Colombia's Representative to the Development Bank of Latin America in Buenos Aires, the then president-elect Juan Manuel Santos Calderón nominated her to head the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Holguín's nomination was hailed as a wise political move given the diplomatic problems in the region following the 2008 Andean diplomatic crisis. Holguín's ambassadorship in Venezuela was overall seen as the tacit endorsement that enabled her to tackle the diplomatic détente between the sister nations, while her work with the Development Bank of Latin America signalled Santos' desire to strengthen ties with the rest of the continent.
Before having taken office, Holguín accompanied president-elect Santos on his first overseas trip after being elected, taking the diplomatic role head on during their meetings with British Prime Minister David Cameron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Holguín as Chancellor-designate also headed talks with Venezuelan Chancellor Nicolás Maduro that spearheaded the renewal of diplomatic ties with the neighbouring nation, which were later formalised in a meeting held in Santa Marta between the two Presidents. Holguín then travelled to Ecuador to meet with Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Ricardo Patiño to convince Quito to renew diplomatic ties and to personally invite President Rafael Correa to attend the inauguration, a feat she managed even though Ecuador had an arrest warrant for Santos for his actions as Minister of National Defence of Colombia.