Principal Government Officials
Chief of State: President Juan Manuel Santos Calderon
Head of Government: President Juan Manuel Santos Calderon
In 1969, Colombia, along with Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador, and Peru, formed what is now the Andean Community. Venezuela joined in 1973 and announced its departure in 2006; Chile left in 1976. In the 1980s, Colombia broadened its bilateral and multilateral relations. The country joined the Contadora Group, the Group of Eight (now the Rio Group), and was the chair-country of the Non-Aligned Movement from 1994 until September 1998.
Colombia joined UNASUR in January 2011. Former Foreign Minister Maria Emma Mejia is Secretary General of UNASUR and holds the 1-year position until April 2012. Colombia also joined CELAC (the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States) organized by Venezuela in December 2011 as an alternative to the Organization of American States (OAS).
Colombia has traditionally played an active role in the United Nations and its subsidiary agencies. Colombia was elected (unopposed) to a 2011-2012 term as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council.
Colombia is also active in the OAS. Former President Gaviria became Secretary General of the OAS in September 1994, and was re-elected in 1999. In March 2006, Bogota hosted the Sixth Regular Session of the Inter-American Committee against Terrorism. Colombia also hosted the 38th OAS General Assembly in Medellin in early June 2008.
Colombia has participated in all five Summits of the Americas (most recently in April 2009) and followed up on initiatives developed at the first two summits by hosting two post-summit, ministerial-level meetings on trade and science and technology. Cartagena, Colombia will be the site of the Sixth Summit of the Americas in April 2012. The International Labor Organization (ILO) elected two Colombian members to its Administrative Tribunal in June 2011; Colombians had not held these positions for the last 13 years.
Sources:CIA World Factbook (March 2012)
U.S. Dept. of State Country Background Notes ( March 2012)