Americas

Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Colombia

Contact

Address: Palacio de San Carlos

Calle 10 № 5-51, Bogotá, Colombia

Tel.: +57 (1) 3826999 / 01 8000 938 000

E-mail: contactenos@cancilleria.gov.co

www.cancilleria.gov.co

The Minister

María Ángela Holguín Cuéllar

Secretary of Foreign Affairs of Colombia

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María Ángela Holguín Cuéllar was born on 13 November 1963 to Julio Holguín Umaña and Lucila Cuéllar Calderón.[1] 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.[2] 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.[3] 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,[4] a feat she managed even though Ecuador had an arrest warrant for Santos for his actions as Minister of National Defence of Colombia.

About

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.